Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Ultimate Superfoods - Ojio Shape Shifter Cayenne bar - Jan. 17, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Made for: Ultimate Superfoods, Inc.
Ojio Shape Shifter Cayenne Metabolism 66 percent bar
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.16 oz. (33 g.) / 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 193 calories in 2/3 bar
Cost: $5.95 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Surprise Theme Week.

Today's Ojio Shape Shifter Cayenne Metabolism bar from Ultimate Superfoods, Inc. (Moorpark, CA) looked exciting and a little scary. Do I really want to be a shape shifter?

In addition to spices like turmeric and cinnamon, this 66% cacao chocolate was powered by some cayenne pepper heat and many other flavor and functional inclusions (ginseng, green coffee, garcinia cambogia, pine bark extract, etc.).

Surprise! There was no need to fear. This was a well-tempered bar that broke with a hard snap. And it had well-balanced, rich chocolate and spice flavors. There was no strange medicinal flavor, and this offering did not take the "fun" out of functional chocolate.






Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Domori - 100% Criollo Cacao bar - Jan. 16, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Domori
100% Criollo Cacao bar
Good ++
Weight: .66 oz. (21 g.) / .88 oz. (25 g.) in total bar
Calories: 117 calories in 3/4 bar
Cost: $ N/A - gift from a friend
Purchased from: N/A - gift (Apple store, Cupertino, CA)

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Surprise Theme Week.

Just when it crossed my mind that maybe 11 years of chocolate might be enough, surprise! This generous gift from a friend arrived. 

Today's single-ingredient,* 100% Criollo Cacao bar from Domori (None, Italy) was purchased by said friend at an Apple Computer store adjacent to the company's Cupertino headquarters. Disk drives and Domori. Interesting combination.

This bar had a slightly bitter, earthy tobacco aroma. The relatively thin bar allowed access to a flavor profile (similar to the aroma) right away; and the chocolate broke with a had snap (a sign of a well-tempered bar). The melt was rapid and even; and the texture was smooth, almost creamy. 

For such a powerful dark aroma and flavor profile, it was surprisingly mild in terms of bitterness and lacked the astringent pucker one might expect. It was like a ship in heavy seas that you expect might founder but it kept miraculously righting itself.

The flavor was very even and persisted with a similar aftertaste for several seconds, then tailed off gradually. 

Tasting notes printed on the packaging read: "...dried fruit with low bitterness and astringency, and an almost immediate balance." It was all of these, but without some of the more delicate dried, fruit acidity at the beginning that is ofter present with bars made with pure Criollo** cacao. 

*One ingredient: cocoa mass, gluten free

**Criollo, a variety of cacao, is known for its subtle, exquisite, usually balanced flavors. Fruits for this tree tend to be slightly smaller, and it is often more delicate, and less disease resistant than Forestaro and Trinitario varieties.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Lindt and Sprungli - Gingerbread Milk Chocolate Truffles - Jan. 15, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Lindt and Sprungli 
Lindor Limited Edition - Gingerbread Milk Chocolate Truffles
Good +
Weight: .848 oz. (24 g.) / 5.1 oz. (144 g.) in total package of 12
Calories: 147 calories in 2 pieces
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: Michaels, Mountain View, CA

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and Surprise Theme Week.

It's always a surprise to discover holiday-related chocolates in mid-January. Normally they evaporate by New Year's Day. However, chocolate and gingerbread are favorites here, all year long.

Today's Limited Edition Gingerbread Milk Chocolate Truffles were created by Lindt and Sprungli (Switzerland), and distributed by Lindt and Sprungli U.S. (Stratham, NH). 

These individually-wrapped, round milk chocolate gingerbread truffles were tasty and satisfying. The fillings inside the milk chocolate outer shells were creamy and smooth, and flecked with tiny crunchy bits. The gingerbread flavor was subtle and authentic.

Note to those who avoid gluten: These truffles did contain barley malt powder.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Bonaris Cacao de Peru - Chocolate Negro con aceite de oliva y sal - Jan. 14, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Bonaris - Cacao de Peru
Dark Chocolate with Olive Oil and Salt 80% Cacao bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.16 oz. (33.3 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 176 calories (estimate) in 1/3 bar
Cost: $N/A - gift
Purchased from: N/A - gift

Welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate and Surprise Me Theme Week.

Surprises come in many forms. Sometimes wonderful chocolate surprises arrive by mail or via an acquaintance who has come back from a trip.

Today's Bonaris Dark Chocolate bar with Olive Oil and Salt was was purchased by a colleague who was visiting Barcelona, Spain.* (Thank you Eileen!)

The bar looked like a conventional dark bar, and had pleasing dark chocolate flavor. However, don't expect this to break with a hard snap, the sign of a fully tempered bar.

It was surprisingly soft and a wee bit granular; however the olive oil, and added cocoa butter, helped give this gluten and dairy free bar an almost velvety stoneground melt. This was labeled as an 80 percent cacao bar, but it was quite sweet and approachable for an ultra-high percentage bar.

A generous sprinkle of salt on the back yielded surprise bursts of salt sparkle, more on some bites than others.

This was a fun bar to try, with a great journey story to tell. And the repurposed envelope and inner wrapper packaging was clever, resourceful and functional.

*As far as I can tell, Bonaris bars (available in Spain in several flavors) are made in the Lleida Province of Catalonia in northeast Spain, using at least some cacao grown in Peru. These bars (or tabletas) are sold through Chocolates IVIS SL at outdoor markets in the region, including in Barcelona. Picture at right is from the company's Facebook page and shows the variety of bars they offer.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

DeMet's - holiday turtle egg; Storck - Toffifay - Jan. 13, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

DeMet's Candy Company
Turtles - holiday eggs
Good
Weight: 1.2 oz. (33.96 g.) in 1 egg
Calories: 180 calories (estimate) in 1 egg
Cost: $ missing information 
Purchased from: missing information

August Storck AG
Toffifay
Good
Weight: .3 oz. (8.25 g.) / 1.2 oz. (33 g.) in total package
Calories: 45 calories in 1 piece (1/4 package) 
Cost: $0.79 for 1 package
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #11 of Chocolate and Caramel Theme Week.

Today we're featuring two milk chocolate and caramel items—both acquired during the December holiday season.

DeMet's Turtles
The first item was a DeMet's egg-shaped chocolate and caramel "turtle," complete with milk chocolate, caramel and nuts (pecans and possibly hazelnuts).

DeMet's (Stamford, CT) has been making turtles* for decades. (These holiday turtles were a product of Turkey.)

These holiday eggs were wrapped with red and white festive holiday foil wrappings with images of polar bears and penguins. However, if you looked carefully before biting into the egg, it was possible to spot the likeness of the iconic DeMet's turtle character imprinted on the chocolate.

August Storck Toffifay
The second item: Toffifay, a chocolate, caramel and hazelnut cream, semi-spherical, sweet confection from August Storck AG (Germany).

The sweet caramel outer cup had a soft chew texture, and the chocolate center was slightly more firm. 

*The original chocolate, caramel and nut turtles resembled turtles; often pecans or nut pieces protruded (from the chocolate oblong body or "shell"), resembling a turtle's head and legs.




Chocolate and Love - Dark Chocolate Organic 55% Cocoa Sea Salt and Caramel bar - Jan. 12, 2018

Chocolate of the Day:

Chocolate and Love
Dark Chocolate Organic 55% Cocoa Sea Salt and Caramel bar
Good ++
Weight: 9 pieces (37 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 210 calories in 1 serving (9 pieces) bar
Cost: $6.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Whole Foods Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #10 of Chocolate and Caramel Theme Week.

Today's Dark Chocolate Sea Salt and Caramel bar was a good example of the international supply chain that exists with many chocolate bars.

This 55% Cacao, Organic Sea Salt and Caramel bar was made in Switzerland for Chocolate and Love Ltd. (Perth, UK) and imported by Belgium's Chocolate Source (Milton, MA). And it was purchased and eaten in California.

The bar was riddled with tiny caramel pieces (10%) (cane sugar, whole milk powder, butter, glucose* syrup) and sea salt crystals, making it rich and slightly crunchy.

It was a hit with those who provided tasting help. ((Thank you Trudi and Holly!)

*Not sure if this was gluten free.





Thursday, January 11, 2018

Lulu's Artisan Chocolate - Salted Caramels with Vanilla, Sea Salt - Jan. 11, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Lulu's Artisan Chocolate
Salted Caramels with Vanilla and Sea Salt
Good ++
Weight: 1.3 oz. (36 g.) in 1 package of two pieces
Calories: 212 calories in 1 package
Cost: $5.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: Whole Foods Market, Los Altos, CA

Welcome to Day #9 of Chocolate and Caramel Theme Week.

Today's vegan Salted Caramels with Vanilla and Sea Salt, from Lulu's Artisan Chocolate (Sedona, AZ) were covered in dark chocolate that was made with "Wild Harvested, Heirloom, Arriba Unroasted Ecuadorian Cacao."

The package contained two chocolate rounds filled with silky caramel. These seemed to lack the sugar rush that often accompanies similar products. And in fact these were labeled as being low glycemic.*

Dark 78% cacao chocolate surrounding the caramel filling had smooth, rich flavor. And the hint of citrus flavor (essential oil of lemon) added a unique, pleasing finish.

*The Salted Caramels were sweetened with coconut nectar and coconut palm sugar.

GuyLian - Belgian Chocolate Caramel Milk Chocolate bar - Jan. 10, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

GuyLian
Belgian Chocolate Caramel Milk Chocolate bar
Good
Weight: 1.27 oz. (36 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 170 for 1 bar
Cost: $0.79 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate and Caramel Theme Week.

This GuyLian Belgian Chocolate Caramel bar—imported and distributed by GuyLian USA Inc. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ)—was a slightly more elegant take on a candy bar. The milk chocolate bar (scored into four segments) was filled with a thin layer of soft caramel.

Each of the 4 squares that comprised this bar was adorned with a sculpted white chocolate likeness of a marine creature, mollusk or shell.

The milk chocolate was relatively sweet and lacked the depth of flavor a darker bar might have had, but I enjoyed looking at these sea-inspired shapes.

Alexander's Patisserie - Chocolate and Caramel Macarons - Jan. 9, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Alexander's Patisserie
1.) Chocolate Macaron
2.) Caramel (fleur de sel) Macaron
Good +
Weight: unknown
Calories: unknown calories in 2 pieces
Cost: $11.25 for a box of 5 macarons
Purchased from: Alexander's Patisserie, Mountain View, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Caramel Theme Week.

Today's Chocolate and Caramel Macarons were from Alexander's Patisserie (Mountain View, CA).

These attractively packaged, flavorful macarons were sweet and light with creamy centers, and were displayed in a macaron case containing a variety of colors and flavors.

Other flavors sampled included: Earl Grey, Lemon Poppyseed and Raspberry.



Monday, January 8, 2018

Chuao Chocolatier - Salted Caramel Dreamin' bar - Jan. 8, 2018

Chocolate of the Day:

Chuao Chocolatier
Salted Caramel Dreamin' bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) / 2.8 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 210 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $1.99 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Caramel Theme Week.

Today's Salted Caramel Dreamin' bar from Chuao Chocolatier (Carlsbad, CA) was true to its name.

The milk chocolate bar was a blend of smooth, salty and crunchy— with bits of caramel toffee* and sea salt crystals commanding a good deal of the flavor and texture attention.

I would call this more of a toffee; however, sometimes the boundary between caramel and toffee is a thin one.* I've tasted caramels that ranged from soft and flowing to stiff enough to yank out fillings, and toffees that ranged from shards of crunchy brittles to chewy squares.

This bar was part of the company's California Collective series of milk and dark chocolate bars blended with California-inspired flavor inclusions.

*The caramel toffee bits contained cane sugar, butter (pasteurized cream, salt)

British toffees may be more likely to contain brown sugar or molasses, whereas American toffees are likely to be made with the more flavor-neutral white cane sugar, said to better highlight the buttery flavors. Caramelized sugar is enjoyable in many forms.


Blue Bunny - Bunny Tracks Ice Cream Cake - Jan. 7, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Blue Bunny 
Bunny Tracks Ice Cream Cake 
Good
Weight: 1 slice (134 g.) / 33 fl. oz. (975 g.) in total package
Calories: 300 calories in 1 serving
Cost: $4.99 for 1 cake
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA
Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Caramel Theme Week.

It may be winter. But, it's always the right time for ice cream.

Today's Bunny Tracks Ice Cream Cake - was made of "Fudge and chocolatey covered peanuts between 2 layers of vanilla reduced fat ice cream, topped with caramel peanut butter filled bunnies, rosettes and fudge drizzle"

If you're gluten free, this may be the closest to cake you may get. It's nice to have alternatives like this. Yes, it's sweet, but also creamy with a balanced blend of vanilla, chocolate, caramel and peanuts.

This ice cream cake was a relatively new addition to the Bunny Tracks frozen dessert product line (that includes ice cream, ice cream bars and other ice cream related items). 







Saturday, January 6, 2018

Breyers - Salted Caramel Truffle Gelato - Jan. 6, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Breyers Gelato Indulgence
Salted Caramel Truffle Gelato
Good
Weight: 1/2 cup (83 g.) / 28.5 fl. oz. (842 mL) in total container
Calories: 190 calories in 1/2 cup serving
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Caramel Theme Week.

Today's Salted Caramel Truffle "Gelato Indulgences" from Breyers (part of Unilever) was a frozen dessert meant for unrepentant sinners. The attractively sculpted, rich, creamy dessert was loaded with sugar, corn syrup and heavy cream.

Tiny chocolate caramel truffles and swirls of caramel on top (visible through a transparent lid) enhanced the appearance and sense of decadence. A small serving is likely to satisfy a caramel craving.

While labeled "Gelato Indulgences," this dessert might be more closely related to very rich ice cream. (It's marketed (to adults) as being "way beyond ice cream.") But, it also had a certain loft or airiness to it, allowing it to tip the scales at only 190 calories per 1/2 cup serving.









Pearson's Sea Salt Caramel BUN bar - Jan. 5, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Pearson Candy Co. 
Sea Salt Caramel BUN bar
Good
Weight: 1.75 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 250 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $1.59 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Caramel Theme Week.

Here at Chocolate Banquet, we sample a variety of chocolates, from hand-crafted artisan dark bars to vintage chocolate candy bars.

Today's gluten-free Sea Salt Caramel Bun from Pearson Candy Company (St. Paul, MN) fell into the latter category. Pearson Candy's roots date back to the golden age of candy bars in the early 1900s, when there were hundreds of bars to choose from. (Most never made it to this century; however, some brands, like the Bun, have survived.)

The salt and sweet levels in this bar were relatively well balanced, i.e. not as sweet or salty as some candy bars (a good thing). The patty-shaped milk chocolate bar was studded with good-sized Virginia peanuts; and the caramel filling in the middle was satisfying without being too overabundant (messy)—important for a bar often eaten on the go.












Thursday, January 4, 2018

Alexander's Patisserie - Caramels - Jan. 4, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Alexander's Patisserie
Caramels (chocolate)
Good +++-Very Good
Weight: .9 oz. (25.47 g.) (estimate) in 2 pieces
Calories: 132 calories (estimate) in 2 pieces
Cost: $5.00 for 2 pieces
Purchased from: Alexander's Patisserie, Mountain View, CA

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and Caramel Theme Week.

Today's Caramels were from Alexander's Patisserie (Mountain View, CA).

These velvety chocolate caramels were covered in Valrhona chocolate with a hint of salt. Very satisfying.








Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Alexander's Patisserie - Fleur de Sel Caramels - Jan. 3, 2018

Chocolate of the Day:

Alexander's Patisserie
Fleur de Sel Caramels
Good +++ - Very Good
Weight: .9 oz. (25.47 g.) (estimate) in 2 pieces
Calories: 132 calories (estimate) in 2 pieces
Cost: $5.00 for 2 pieces
Purchased from: Alexander's Patisserie, Mountain View, CA

Welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate and Caramel Theme Week.

Today's Fleur de Sel Caramel filled chocolates from Alexander's Patisserie (Mountain View, CA) looked like newly discovered micro-planets with swirling blue and purple atmospheres, that had come to rest in a fancy black chocolate box.

These colorful, round chocolate shells were filled with authentic, velvety, flowing salt caramel and chocolate. Delicious.





Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Cacoco Drinking Chocolate - Original flavor - Jan. 2, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Cacoco, Inc.
Drinking Chocolate - The Original (flavor)
Good
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) / 7.11 oz. (202 g.) in total package
Calories: 140 calories in 4 TB (1/8 package)
Cost: $12.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: Piazza's Fine Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #14 of Chocolate, Holiday Spices and Maple Theme Week.

Today's attractively-packaged Original Flavor Drinking Chocolate with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Lucuma from Cacoco, Inc. (Santa Cruz, CA) was  hand-crafted, organic and Non-GMO Project Verified.

The dry mix had a slightly bitter herb and aroma; however, once stirred with water and simmered for several minutes (until all the larger particles had dissolved), the flavors mellowed and improved significantly.

Do follow directions and heat, whisk and/or blend as indicated for best results. This is one product where preparation really mattered.

Adding a bit of organic milk of your choice may make the resulting hot beverage a bit smoother in flavor and texture; but the mix was really designed to evoke a long lost, "authentic" drinking chocolate tradition from many centuries ago that the Native peoples of Central America might have experienced—without proximity to dairy cows.

The first ingredient listed was cacao butter, then coconut crystal sugar,* making it lower on the glycemic index. Lucuma added some natural sweetness as well. I added a bit of maple syrup, although that was not necessary.

*Ingredients: "Cacao Butter, Coconut Crystal Sugar, Unroasted Cacao, Carob, Lucuma, Himalayan Salt, Vanilla Bean, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cayenne"




Monday, January 1, 2018

Alexander's Patisserie - Chocolate Pillow dessert - Jan. 1, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Alexander's Patisserie
Chocolate Pillow dessert
Good +++ - Very Good
Weight: unknown
Calories: unknown
Cost: $10.00 (per website) for 1 dessert
Purchased from: Alexander's Patisserie, Mountain View, CA

Welcome to 2018! and Day #13 of Chocolate, Holiday Spices and Maple Theme Week.

This fancy, Chocolate Pillow dessert was purchased on a sunny winter day at Alexander's Patisserie (Mountain View, CA).

Filled with light, airy chocolate mousse, this Valrhona*-based chocolate dessert was luxurious and delicious.

The dark chocolate mousse-filled "pillow" was resting on what appeared to be a caramelized chocolate rice cake bed, and was topped with a small, thin chocolate square.


Aside from a light touch of nutty/hazelnut flavor in a few bites and crispy texture of the base, this was all decadent, velvety chocolate.

Meanwhile, up North people are getting ready for the February-March maple season. I raised my glass to these winter harvesters, as I poured a small drizzle of maple syrup into a hot spiced chai tea.

*Alexander's Patisserie uses Valrhona (French) chocolate for almost all their chocolates and chocolate-based desserts.



Organic Gemini - TigerNut Cacao Bean Smoothie Mix - Dec. 31, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Organic Gemini TigerNut Smoothie Mix
Good
Weight: 2 TB (22 g.) / 9.3 oz. (264 g.) in total package
Calories: 40 calories in 1 serving
Cost: $14.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: Whole Foods Market, Berkeley, CA

Welcome to Day #12 of Chocolate, Holiday Spice and Maple Theme Week(s).

Cacao beans come from a fruit, and tiger nuts come from...not a tiger, but a tuber.

Today's 5-ingredient, organic Tigernut Cacao Bean Smoothie Mix was from Organic Gemini (Brooklyn, NY) and was sweetened with maple sugar.*

Organic Gemini founders, George and Mariam, developed offerings that incorporated Organic TigerNuts—a nutritious root vegetable—as part of their own journey to wellness.

I mixed this organic, paleo, vegan, kosher and nut and gluten free smoothie mix into a glass of organic milk. The drink had a slight vegetable and cocoa aroma, and slight fine-grained texture until mixed well. Letting the mixture sit for 20 min. seemed to improve flavor and texture. It had a pleasant cocoa flavor, healthy/satisfying "feeling" and no aftertaste.

Happy New Year's Eve to all who celebrate. Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy 2018.

Ingredients: Whole ground TigerNuts (Cyperus esculentus)*, pea protein powder*, cacao powder,* maple sugar*, vanilla bean powder*




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...