Caffarel is one of those companies that I get all giddy when I find their products. Something about them already reads as upscale, luxurious, unique and extremely delicious. The fact they’re an Italian company adds to the appeal too because not only is it foreign, but also difficult to find. I always feel like I’ve stumbled across the holy grail when I see them in stores.
I felt exactly that when I walked into one of my favorite food boutiques in the area and saw the Caffarel Conetto on the counter. Oh wow! I’ve heard of these but haven’t actually seen them. They’re best described as a little wafer cone with hazelnut creme inside and topped with toasted rice bits. I bought a couple and couldn’t wait to photograph and then eat them!
They’re adorable to look at. They look like mini versions of the ice cream Drumsticks. The waffle cone is wonderfully textured, the rice crisps nicely caramel in color, and the whole things smells rich of chocolate, hazelnuts and cream.
The hazelnut creme is very smooth and silky. The flavor leans more toward the hazelnut flavor with the chocolate more of an afterthought. Aside from the hazelnut and cocoa notes, there’s a lot of roasted and milky flavors mixed in there. Think of it as a milder, sweeter, nuttier Nutella. The rice bits provide a nice crunch (some were more chewy) and a very toasty, carby flavor. The cone is insanely crispy and fresh with a nice toasty brown sugary taste. Just like the ones in an ice cream shop! It provides a wonderful base for the hazelnut creme and the flavors in this work so well together.
Even though the Conetto is terribly tasty, I’d probably wouldn’t buy them again cause they’re expensive and on the small side. They’re great to give (or get!) as a gift and I certainly wouldn’t turn one down if handed to me.
Rating: Will Eat Again
Links Caffarel Website
Leonidas was one of the treats from the UK that I haven’t heard of before. They’re not based in the UK either, as they’re a traditional Belgian chocolatier and are pretty widely distributed around the world. I feel this sampling of a few of their chocolate bars seems like a good indication of what kind of products I can expect from Leonidas. I was especially eager to try them, considering the experiences I’ve had from Belgium chocolatiers in the past have been less than noteworthy. I’m hoping these will change my mind!
White: I chose to sample this bar first since white chocolate is a pretty good indication of the quality and style of the chocolatier. I had high hopes right away, as the bar smells sweet, buttery and fatty from the real cocoa butter in here.
The bar itself is pristine and ivory colored. Gorgeous.
The flavor is extremely rich. The texture is very thick, buttery and smooth on the tongue. There’s a nice sweetness to it and it’s not too much. The chocolate is very creamy, milky and buttery as the aroma indicated. It has a good cocoa butter taste and it’s not polluted with lots of vanilla, which is how I like my white chocolate.
54% Nibs Bar: Leonidas calls this bar “dark”, even though I don’t consider a 54% cocoa solids to be a dark. I digress, as I don’t want to get into semantics here.
The bar is very deep in color, showing a rich brown with nice cool undertones. The back shows the nibbly texture which is lightly bumpy.
The chocolate smells of cocoa, vanilla, cream, cocoa, coffee and berries.
Breaking off a piece, the snap is very crisp because of the thinness of the bar. It also breaks easily and it’s mostly clean with only a few small air bubbles.
The flavor is extremely rich. The chocolate tastes, well, chocolatey, as opposed to being clouded by milk and sugar. There’s nice flavors of coffee, cream and vanilla which are very complimentary. The mouth feel is extremely slippery and rich. The nibs have a roasted flavor and provide a nice subtle crunchy texture. It’s not crispy, as the nibs are a little soft. The contrast is just lovely.
Feuilletine: It took me a moment to figure out how to describe how the wafers in this bar are different than the ones you find in, oh, say a Kitkat. These are denser and crunchier like waffle cones.
The back of the bar is quite bumpy and there’s lots of visible air bubbles. It doesn’t look like it was tempered well, as if it was a rush job. The break is also just ridden with bubbles, which makes me suspicious. But, there’s no sign of wafers in my break either, which I’m confused by. Where are they?
The flavor is lacking. I get sweetness, a little dairy tang, but there’s not a lot of chocolate flavor. The wafers are actually crumbles in the chocolate that are small and crunchy. You can really feel them when you chew. The deliver a very salty flavor that appears halfway through the taste as you eat a piece. It’s very odd.
Dark Orange: Beautiful dark and has a very bright, zesty, citrusy smell. It smells more like tangerine to me than orange. The break is nice and clean.
The flavor is first of the dark chocolate which is mildly sweet, very rich with nice deep cocoa flavors. Then the orange comes in, not too strong or overly artificial, it’s fresh and zesty and light and just kisses the chocolate. It’s really nice and smooth as the two flavors combine and melt together. A beautiful pairing and I wish I had more of this bar.
Aside from the Feuilletine bar, I was impressed with these. The chocolate had dignity and wasn’t too sugary like I find most Belgium chocolates are. I’ll have to make a special trip to go visit their new store in New York City to take a peek at their other offerings.
Rating: Will Eat Again
Links Leonidas Website
The last of the Dolfin’s summer limited edition bars. Aren’t you sad? I assure you this is the last, but not the least! In fact, this is the one I looked forward to trying most of of the four I bought, so I saved it for the end.
This one is called “Fruity Escapade” and carried the description of: “dark chocolate with apple, peach & apricot”. Granted, I realize that these flavors cane be easily muddled together in chocolate, so I’m very interested to taste if they keep their separate flavor profiles or not. Only one way to find out!
The color of the chocolate is a bit more blue than the others. It smells deep and chocolatey with a strikingly intense scent of fresh apricots. It’s such an intoxicating aroma, I could just sit and inhale it all day.
This is very flavorful of the apricot right away with light peach notes that are rounded out with apple and a slight citrusy tartness. The chocolate delivers a solid base with good notes of cocoa, cream and caramel flavors. The peach and apple support the apricot flavor instead of standing independently. The apricot is really the dominant flavor here. It’s lovely. So, so lovely. The taste stays steady throughout and the finish is light, soft and slightly peachy. The texture is smooth except for the small bits of dried fruit in there.
Again, a lovely flavored chocolate bar that I wish was still around to purchase. Maybe again this summer?
I had to laugh when I first read the name of today’s Dolfin’s limited edition chocolate bar: “Fancy Lemon Feeling”. Doesn’t that sound like some silly Engrish to you? The flavors in this bar are described as “dark chocolate made with lemon and ginger”, two flavors that I think can make or break a chocolate depending on how it’s made. I’m eager to find out.
The chocolate is dark in color with orange undertones. It smells very strongly of lemon and I’m immediately reminded of lemon meringue pie. It’s fresh, sweet and terribly zesty with a hint of ginger that delivers an extra element of pie spice. Breaking off a section, I’m pleased to see that the snap is nice and hard.
You taste notes of the chocolate first: lightly sweet with notes of coffee and molasses. The lemon flavor then shows up with strong citrus notes and a good zest. The ginger appears last as a texture which is slightly grainy in the chocolate. It then gives a very faint burn that it nice amidst the sweetness of the rest of the ingredients, yet it doesn’t add much to the flavor. The chocolate and lemon mix well for most of the taste of the bar. There’s a huge lemon crescendo of lemon at the finish, which is so strong it tastes as if I just bit into one. It really just drowns everything else out. Very unusual but very pleasant. The aftertaste is clean, but the bits of ginger that didn’t dissolve away with the chocolate are left as tiny rocks to tackle my teeth.
I wish I could find more of these. I’d buy them all up.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Here’s the second Dolfin summer edition chocolate bars. This one is pretty appropriate with its name: “Summer Memories”, as summer is indeed a memory as of now. The flavor is “Apple crumble” with “apple, hazelnuts and sugar cane” in it. I don’t know about you, but apple crumble is more of a fall dessert in my mind. I digress.
Today’s bar is a darker chocolate, a 60% bittersweet to be exact. The chocolate’s color is very dark, with blue-ish tones to it and a bright gloss. You can see the bits of apple and/or hazelnuts in the back of the bar. The snap is very crisp and strong.
The aroma is spicy like a lot of cinnamon chili bars I’ve had before. There’s notes of coffee, cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg and chili.
The flavor begins sweetly and I get a “warmth” from the cinnamon with some nice creamy flavors of the chocolate. Then it’s accented with flavors of coffee and caramel. The end of the flavor is very chocolatey with a strong cream note and then it finishes smooth and lightly with subtle notes of vanilla and cocoa. I’m sad to say I don’t get any apple of hazelnut flavor, which I find quite disappointing. The hazelnut texture I do detect amidst the velvety chocolate. The tiny pieces impart a praline like crunch.
I’d buy “Southern Passion” before getting this one again.
Rating: Might Eat Again