Monday, August 28, 2017

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...Old Dog Ranch, Torn Ranch chocolate items - Aug. 28, 2017

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

Old Dog Ranch
Chocolate Walnuts
Good +
Weight: 3 oz. (84.9 g.) / 6 oz. (169.8 g.) in total package
Calories: 495 calories (estimate) in 1/2 package
Cost: $9.00 for 1 package
Purchased from: Cavallo Point Mercantile, Ft. Baker, Sausalito, CA

Torn Ranch
Dark Chocolate - The Original Chocolate Caviar
Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 1.75 oz. (50 g.) in total tin
Calories: 142 calories in 1 oz. (28.3 g.)
Cost: $N/A - gift
Purchased from: N/A - gift

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Wild West Theme Week.

Ranches were part of the wild west. My siblings and I grew up in a single-story ranch house in the Western suburbs. Many families felt they had a piece of their own ranch, even though most of these houses were part of early tract home developments in the 1900s. We played in tall walnut trees and ate apricots from trees that were remnants of farms and ranches from a previous era.

Today's two chocolates hail from two different ranches in parts of California with some open space left. While these two ranches may not employ the cowboys of yesteryear, they do produce great edibles.

Old Dog Ranch - Chocolate Walnuts
The Old Dog Ranch (Linden, CA) is the closest to a real ranch. This Northern California operation has been a family farm since 1912; and the company produces sustainably grown, organic Chandler* Walnuts, used to make today's chocolate offering.

And boy, do high-quality ingredients matter. These walnuts had delicious, mild (but complex) 3D nut flavor—with a subtle, very pleasing freshly cut wood note, and without any bitterness that some associate with walnuts. The dusting of chocolate (organic sugar, cocoa powder, salt) served as a subtle accent flavor here adding just a touch of sweetness but not too much.

Torn Ranch - Dark Chocolate Caviar
The Dark Chocolate Caviar with a very subtle hint of vanilla hailed from Torn Ranch (Petaluma, CA) provided a complementary counterpoint to today's Old Dog Ranch walnuts. (Torn Ranch also sells fruits, nuts, baked goods and other chocolates.)

Billed as the "original chocolate caviar" these glossy, dark peals or mild, dark chocolate goodness were enjoyable as an a la carte snack; and could be paired with good food, tea, coffee or adult beverages (brandy, whiskey, wine, etc.) as well.

Thank you GreenTown Los Altos (and Present gift shop, Los Altos) for this Torn Ranch tin (part of a gift basket received earlier).

*California, a large exporter of walnuts, has their own native California Black Walnut tree, which is occasionally used as root stock for other walnuts. However, most of the roughly 500,000 tons of walnuts commercially grown in the state each year are cultivars of Persian (English) walnuts. This includes the popular Chandler walnut, which was introduced by (and named after W.H. Chandler, a Professor at) the University of California, Davis, CA in 1979. 

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