Sunday, July 28, 2019

Sweet 55 - Bonus Chocolates, Cowgirl Creamery for July 28, 2019

Chocolate(s) of the Day (Bonus Entry):

  1. Eiger - milk chocolate
  2. Eiger - dark chocolate
  3. Heart - filled chocolate
Welcome to a bonus, evening entry, as part of Chocolate and Cowgirl Theme Week.

A surprise find of cheese from Cowgirl Creamery (Point Reyes Station, CA) this evening led to the decision to feature a cheese and fruit plate with three flavors of filled chocolates from Sweet55 (Half Moon Bay, CA).

Cowgirl Creamery

Cowgirl Creamery (Point Reyes Station, CA) specializes in making artisan, organic cheeses. While they do have a few chocolate items (high end chocolate milk, and an occasional panna cotta or dessert with chocolate), their wonderful local cheeses are a welcome addition to any chocolate and fruit platter.

And that includes Cowgirl Creamery's Clabbered* Cottage Cheese, made "the traditional way with pillowy non-fat curds tossed in a dressing of cultured cream and organic milk..."

This is not your bulk supermarket cottage cheese. It looks similar. But it was made with a shorter list of higher-quality ingredients and had a pleasingly authentic cheese flavor that big store brands lack.

The cheese was paired with fruit, nuts, gluten-free crackers and three types of filled chocolates.

Sweet55 Chocolates

We enjoyed the three creamy smooth chocolates from Sweet55, a Swiss-style chocolatier. All three paired nicely with fruit, nuts and cheese.

The first two of three chocolates on this cheese plate were milk chocolate and dark chocolate versions of the "Eiger"—filled with almond gianduja and orange caramel crunch. The company developed special 3D molds to accurately capture the shape of this impressive mountain in the Bernese Alps.**

The third chocolate was a pretty heart-shaped chocolate with a light filling.

*Clabbered cream is similar to creme fraiche and is added to the cottage cheese curds.

**The Eiger is a 3,967 meter (13,025 foot) mountain in Switzerland that draws climbers from around the world who are intent on reaching the top of this mountain.

Fine and Raw Chocolate - Mesquite No Sugar Added (bar); Ginger 67% (bar) - July 28, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Fine and Raw Chocolate
Mesquite No Sugar Added 58% cacao (bar)
Good +
Weight: .5 oz. (14.1 g.) / 2 oz. (56 g.) in total bar
Calories: 63 calories (per label) in 1/4 bar
Cost: $8.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Fine and Raw Chocolate, online order

Fine and Raw Chocolate
Ginger 67% cacao (bar)
Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 164 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $25.00 for 5-bar collection set
Purchased from: Fine and Raw Chocolate, online order

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

Today's Mesquite No Sugar Added 58% cacao and Ginger 67% cacao bars were both made by Fine and Raw Chocolate (Brooklyn, NY).

Rounding up cows out on the range conjures up thoughts of hard work, dusty rides through high chaparral and mesquite tree country, and music around a fire. And speaking of mesquite...

...Mesquite wood smoke is used for barbeques. But lesser known is the fact that the beans these trees produce are edible and can be ground into a flour and eaten.

Roasted mesquite beans are said to have notes of slightly sweet vanilla, cream, caramel, coconut and/or chocolate. They were a food source for native peoples in Mexico and the Southwest U.S., who referred to mesquite as the tree of life, because of its many uses.

People continue to use mesquite flour ground from seeds (pods shown at right), bean pod pulp, in items including gluten free pine nut cookies, roasted mesquite bean "coffee," protein drinks/bars, mesquite bean jelly, and, of course, chocolates.

Today's raw Mesquite bar contained cacao and mesquite powder and none of the usual sugar sweeteners: i.e., coconut, cane, maple or birch sugar. Instead this chocolate was lightly sweetened with organic ground lucuma (a South American fruit with a mild sweet flavor and thick creamy, slightly starchy texture).

This Mesquite bar had a surprisingly sweet and warmly spicy chocolate aroma, and a faint trace of light fruit (apple custard), sweet potato and honey notes in the flavor and finish. The three American native plants: cacao, lucuma and mesquite worked well together. This chocolate had a thick, creamy texture and a very slight granularity.

If you like ginger, you might like Fine and Raw Chocolate's 67% dark ginger bar, made with organic ginger powder.

The ginger was thoroughly incorporated and not visible to the naked eye. However, it was evident in the aroma and flavor of this bar and lingered into the finish. The melt was even, and the texture was slightly granular.

The added ginger gave the "50% raw and 50% roast(ed)" cacao bar a warm, satisfying zing. Ginger is from Asia originally, but we've adopted it as one of our own.* (Many of us have fond childhood memories of homemade ginger molasses cookies.)

We paired this Ginger bar with a sweet, spicy kick of music from Ginger Cowgirl, (aka Stacy Antonel, originally from the Bay Area, who moved to Nashville in 2017. We wish her well. She's got a great sound. (Photo source: Ginger Cowgirl website.)

*True, ginger is from Asia and not the wild west. However, there are very capable horsewomen—cowgirls in spirit—in Asia too. Just ask someone who has visited Mongolia or ridden in the Mongolian Derby. (Photo Source for image of Mongolian girl riding horse: Daily Travel Photos)

The spice closest to ginger that's native to the Americas and has co-evolved with chocolate historically would likely be allspice. Allspice is not uncommon in Caribbean-adjacent cuisines, local chocolates and drinking chocolate.

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