Thursday, May 11, 2023

Kasama Chocolate - Odd Society Wallflower Gin & Juniper 70% (bar) - May 11, 2023

Chocolate of the Day

Kasama Chocolate
Odd Society Wallflower Gin and Juniper 70% Cacao (bar)
Good +
Weight: .97 oz. (27.5 g.) / 1.94 oz. (55 g.) in total bar
Calories: 163 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $18.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA 

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

Today's Odd Society Wallflower Gin and Juniper 70% Cacao bar (Batch No. 11) was made by Kasama Chocolate (Vancouver, B.C.).

This special release dark chocolate was made with cacao from Karkar Island, Papua New Guinea. 

The maker(s) went "all in" on infusing juniper flavor. The cacao was "aged in an oak cask for four weeks with Odd Society Distillery's Wallflower Gin, then (the cacao) was stone ground...with juniper berries."

Aroma notes for this 70% bar included: faint chocolate, citrusy evergreen; gin-soaked/pickled (small) cocktail onion (vinegar brine, black pepper, lemon); juniper berry; lemon/citrus jello; and an initial, very faint terpene/ammonia note that dissipated quickly after opening.

As is often the case with chocolate tasting, some aroma notes carried over to the flavor, and taking a bite yielded a much richer chocolate flavor (than was present in the aroma). 

The acidity was moderate, and the aroma notes mentioned above extended into the finish with a relatively bold, citrusy-evergreen taste (spruce/douglas fir tips, but not as delicate). 

A welcome flicker of blackberry at the end added some fruit and balance. (A little more of that luscious, ripe blackberry note please.)

The sweetness level was about right. It would be tough to go more sweet or less sweet with this unique juniper-flavored chocolate. Too sweet would mean losing touch with chocolate nuances, and might venture into cloyingly sweet cocktail territory. Too little, and the juniper might be a bit overwhelming.

Maker's tasting notes: "...aromas of fresh cut evergreens, and hints of orange blossom."

Ingredients: Gin Barrel Aged Cacao Nibs, Unrefined Cane Sugar*, Cacao Butter*, Juniper Berries (*Organic).

Allergen-related information: "Made in a facility that contains nuts."

Charbonnel et Walker - Sipsmith Gin Truffles - May 10, 2023

Chocolate of the Day

Charbonnel et Walker
Sipsmith Gin Truffles
Good + - Good ++
Weight: .812 oz. (23 g.) / 3.85 oz. (110 g.) in total container
Calories: 130 calories in 2 truffles
Cost: $29.95 (+ shipping) for 1 box of 8 truffles
Purchased from: Bloomingdales, online order

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

Today's Sipsmith Gin Truffles were made in the UK* for Charbonnel et Walker (London). ("By Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen, Chocolate Manufacturers, Charbonnel et Walker Ltd., London.") The company is well-known for their truffles, e.g. Pink Marc de Champagne truffles (with brandy and strawberry flavors).

The Sipsmith Gin used in today's truffles comes from a distillery in London that has been operating for almost 200 years.

Aroma notes for these truffles included: slightly boozy, sweet chocolate with faint, juniper, vanilla, faint sweet green floral/herbal, and very faint, fleeting black peppercorn.

Texture: Smooth dark chocolate surrounded a creamy, gin-infused white chocolate ganache (center).

This complementary blend of dark and white chocolate flavors matched the aroma notes above, and included: smooth dark chocolate, gin, juniper, creamy vanilla. The spirits/gin lingered into the finish but was not too strong.

These luxurious, and somewhat addictive truffles were sweet, but balanced. The dark chocolate and the gin off-set the sweetness.

Ingredients: Bittersweet chocolate (unsweetened chocolate, sugar, cocoa fat, soy lecithin), white chocolate (sugar, cocoa fat, dry whole milk, soy lecithin, natural vanilla flavoring), salted butter (milk), Sipsmith Gin (R), powdered sugar, natural juniper flavoring. (Bittersweet chocolate contains cocoa solids 70% minimum.)

Allergen-related information: Contains milk and soy. May contain tree nuts and wheat.

*More than 1,700 different gins are produced in the UK. So I wanted to feature at least one British gin-inspired chocolate this week. 

Gin-flavored chocolates this week hail from the UK, Norway, Spain, Germany, Scotland, Canada and Italy. No gin chocolates from the U.S. (This may also have to do with U.S. rules that apply to selling alcohol in chocolates.) I did pair two chocolates with local (California) botanical gins.

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