I must confess, I have a big soft spot for Chuao Chocolatier. Back ages ago when I was a newbie candy blogger, Chuao was one of the first “artisan” chocolates I ever tasted. I was immediately in love, and all the people at Chuao have always been so friendly to talk to. Ever since then I have been following the chocolates they make very closely. My frequent readers probably notice that I eat a lot of my chocolate candy with a cup of coffee. Chuao makes chocolates specifically designed to be enjoyed with a cup of coffee. They make the flavors, shape and thickness of the chocolate bar perfect for eating with a cup of coffee. These chocolate bars are called Chocopods. Over the years they’ve been adding and experimenting with all sorts of flavors and varieties. So today I am reviewing two of their newest flavors.
Chuao recently just went through a re-design of all their packaging. They used to be solid colors with just nice lettering on them. The new updated look is going much more in style of the Vosges Haute Chocolate bars have had. Super enticing food photography with a clinical white background and bold lettering. It’s a very “in your face” type of style, as you can see right away the flavors and ingredients used in that chocolate bar. I do not work in marketing so I can’t say if this style is more successful than others, but I do know it’s incredibly eye-catching.
Let’s see how they taste:
Maple Bacon: “Crisp bacon, delicate maple sweetness and a bonfire smoked sea salt, bathed in milk chocolate”. The chocolate is a pretty middle brown wit ha gorgeous glossy sheen. The aroma is dominated by a strong smoky scent of the bacon. It’s a sweet smoky smell, but you do get that aroma of “meat”. It’s really interesting. The flavor starts out chocolatey, then the salt of the bacon starts to come though. The saltiness really enhances the flavor of the milk chocolate, and it comes across as even sweeter and creamier. Once that creaminess subsides you can taste the smokiness of the bacon. The flavor isn’t of bacon per se, but you do get that “smoked meat” essence to it. It’s a lot tastier than I expected and not at all as extreme as I feared. It’s a really nice blending of the two flavors and it comes across as a unique, but still, tasty milk chocolate bar.
Honeycomb: “luscious amber honey, caramelized into crisp bits and enrobed in dark chocolate”. I unwrap the candy to find a beautiful dark chocolate in the shape of a cacao pod. The chocolate smells richly of coffee, cherries and wood. The first bite is incredibly flavorful. You can immediately taste the honey and the sweet honeycomb. The pieces of the honeycomb are really crispy and sweat and is a nice compliment to the smooth chocolate. The chocolate has some subtle fruity flavors of red berries and cream. Just astounding how delicious this bar it. The flavor of the honeycomb and the sweet chocolate really combine into something very different and very tasty.
I really loved these two Chocopods. I think if I had to choose a favorite of the two, it would be the honeycomb. But it’s hard to pick favorites, as each are so unique and appeal to a different flavor profile. I’m sure that on a different day when I was craving saltier and more smokey foods I’d choose the Maple Bacon. Still, the point stands that these are both super yummy, and if you happen to see them, I highly suggest giving them a try.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Links Chuao Chocolatier Website
I really love how creative Marshmallow Peeps have been getting in the past couple of years. You can tell they’ve really been trying hard to replicate how people have been enjoying their chocolate dipped and chocolate covered peeps. So I was especially excited to see that they decided to go and make peppermint flavored Peeps and dip their cute behinds in chocolate for the holidays this year. I’ve really loved this style of Peep back during Easter time when they’ve had the coco Peeps with the chocolate coating, so I’m especially interested to see how the peppermint flavor goes over. It’s an incredibly festive idea and I bought these immediately once I saw them in the store.
Well, first things first! I looked at the ingredients list and the chocolate used here is indeed real chocolate. Phew! The Peeps are just adorable. They come three to a package and each one nestled in their own little plastic sections. The Peeps are a beautiful white with red peppermint flakes on them. The are super cute and super festive. The plastic tray they fit in protects them really well too, so none of my Peeps got squished.
The Peeps smell really intensely of peppermint. You can detect a little bit of the chocolate in the scent, but it’s mainly the peppermint.
The texture of the Peep is really soft and pillowy, like a Peep should be. The chocolate on the bottom is tasty and melts easily on the tongue. The peppermint flavor is the star here, but it’s still not a strong as I was expecting. The Peeps have a nice subtle vanilla flavor accented by the peppermint. The dark chocolate on the bottom has a really nice flavor that compliments the peppermint marshmallow perfectly. Considering I’ve had other Peeps of this variety, I think the peppermint marshmallow works a lot better than the standard marshmallow. It gives the candy a new depth to it. It’s not longer “just” a marshmallow peep.
I highly recommend these to anyone who loves Peeps and also adore the whole peppermint trend that shows up this time of year. I can also see these used for a lot of really neat food decorations; on top of mugs of hot cocoa or to decorate cupcakes. These Peeps taste great and look super cute and festive at the same time!
Rating: Will Buy Again
Links Marshmallow Peeps Website
I was super excited to see that 3 Musketeers came out with a new limited edition flavor for the holidays. I spotted it on one of my trips to Target, which of course always leads me to cruise the candy aisles. I was lucky and spotted this one, since, in a way it looks very similar to the normal “festive” bag of regular 3 Musketeer minis. Over the years I’ve learned to be careful and to read the packages to make sure I’m not missing anything new. And this time it has certainly paid off!
This is quite a big bag of minis, ready for the holiday candy bowl. Each wrapper either is either silver or a nice light cocoa color. The aroma is very sweet and smells very much like a normal 3 Musketeer candy bar. There’s nothing in the appearance that looks different to me. I do very much love the festive artwork on the bag and it makes my brain scream “Yay! Christmas!” over and over.
The flavor is different in the ways I was expecting. The chocolate flavor has a very different essence to it. The chocolate has a very strong edge of dry milk power. It comes across like the aroma when you stick your nose into a bin of Nesquick. Even though cocoa as a drink is very watery in flavor, these candies don’t come across that way at all. Even though the nougat in the center is flavored like cocoa, the chocolate coating elevates the flavor and really makes it into a candy that stands on its own. As for the texture, it’s that texture we all know and love from 3 Musketeers. It’s light and fluffy, but very rich at the same time. Super delicious!
I found myself reaching for these 3 Musketeers the most while having my morning coffee. The fluffy texture (which I do love) and the smooth, rich chocolate flavor paired itself really well with a hot cup of coffee. I wonder since these are hot cocoa flavored, does that mean I had a mocha? I can’t rightfully say since I know little about making coffee drinks. Regardless, I really enjoyed them and the people I shared them with also seemed to enjoy them. They did say that these tasted “different” from regular 3 Musketeers, but they all couldn’t quite lay their finger on it. All I know is they’re yummy and they’re something you should try out.
Rating: Will Eat Again
Links 3 Musketeers Website
The holiday season is now in full swing! This is an exciting time for any candy lover as the sweets that come out for the Holidays are always interesting and delicious. Which is why I was super excited to hear from Hedonist Artisan Chocolates about reviewing some complimentary samples their Salted Caramels. It has been a few years since I tried and reviewed the Hedonist Chocolates’s Holiday Truffle Collection. It was super delicious and awesome so I was most eager to give their Salted Caramels a try.
I first need to comment on the beautiful packaging that these Salted Caramels come in. It’s simple yet so very stylish with the dark brown box and the simple golden rod yellow ribbon. It speaks of elegance with the subtle styling. Once the box is opened, the caramels are beautifully arranged in a tray that keeps them separated and safe. The milk and dark varieties are easy to distinguish, one is noticeable lighter in color. Each has salt sprinkled on top. They smell rich of chocolate, but I detect no notes of caramel in there.
Dark Chocolate Caramel: You immediately taste the salt on your first bite, which elevates the caramel into a whole new level of intensity. The sweetness of the chocolate and the butteryness of the caramel are elevated and the flavor is more grand. The richness of the dark chocolate delivers sweetness that isn’t overpowering and mingles nicely with the salt. The buttery caramel it out of this world! It’s smooth and not too sticky in texture. The flavor is complex, with the flavor rooted in butter accented with nice toasted notes. Again, mixed with the salt, just makes the flavor simply “pop”. It’s incredibly deliciousness.
Milk Chocolate Caramel: The salt really makes these chocolate incredible. The milk chocolate is sweet and creamy, and adds a lovely sweetness but not much chocolate flavor. The caramel is so delicious. It’s buttery and sweet, with nice deep toasted notes that contrast beautifully with the salt. Because the milk chocolate isn’t as flavorful as the dark chocolate, you can taste the caramel much better. I found that I got even more flavors out of the caramel when tasting the milk chocolate pieces. Along with the buttery ans toasted notes, I get a tad of smoke which reminds me of how toasted marshmallows smell. It’s so a delightful play of flavor and texture as you eat it. These are meant to be slowly savored as the flavors are so wonderful.
This package also came with a surprise: Candy Cane Bark!
Gorgeous isn’t it?
The slabs of bark are thick, as least a 1/4 of an inch. They’re mainly bittersweet chocolate (55%), with white chocolate swirls on top and a generous coating of candy cane crumbles. They are very attractive!
Despite all the candy cane crumbles, this bar still smells of chocolate. It’s a sweet smell too, full of cream, caramel and coffee. The flavor is a wonderful balance of peppermint and chocolate. This is an Andes Mint on super steroids. You first get the flavor from the candy canes, with their sweet and intense peppermint flavor. It’s cool and refreshing and leaves a wonderful fresh flavor in your mouth. The chocolate is just luscious, it’s creamy, sweet and incredibly chocolatey. It compliments the candy cane bits so well. I couldn’t stop reaching for this bark one I opened the package, a sign that it is indeed irresistible.
I simply loved these samples from Hedonist Chocolates. They were really delicious and you could tell that they really used fresh, quality ingredients in making these chocolates. Both the Salted Caramels and the Candy Cane bark didn’t last very long between my husband and myself eating them once I had my tasting notes for the review. I know several of my family members who are going to love these, and I plan to buy them some for the holiday season (some of them are caramel people). I’ll buy myself another box of course too. Hedonist have really kept up the quality since I last sampled their chocolates, and I greatly look forward to when I can have some again!
Links Hedonist Artisan Chocolates Website
When I was very early in my candy writing career, Chuao Chocolatier was one of the very first “gourmet” chocolate companies that I became very well acquainted with. Back then I wrote for Candyaddict.com, and easily wrote several articles regarding Chuao’s extensive chocolate line. Since then, I’ve done my best to keep up with the new chocolate bars and flavors they’ve introduced. Now that I live in Los Angeles, visiting one of their cafes is also on my to-do list. The point I am trying to make is I’m a big fan, and I was very pleased to find one of their newest bars in Cost Plus World Market recently. May I present, the Potato Chip Bar.
Yes, you read that right. Potato Chip. I really admire how Chuao Chocolatier, much like Vosges, just goes there with their more offbeat flavors. They branch out from the stranger chocolate flavors (like sea salt and chili) that are slowly becoming more mainstream. Flavors like honeycomb (the candy variety), panko, and even pop rocks are fair game to Chuao Chocolatier. The bar comes in an eye catching wrapper that is in the style from their “classic” range of chocolate bars. It goes from golden to bronze. The shapes of cacao pods decorate the edges, and the wording on the front is centered and clear.
The chocolate is a pretty medium brown color. On the back, you can see the light yellow flecks of the potato chips blended into the chocolate. The chocolate has a nice snap, but the break is not clean. The potato chips cause some rough edges and crumbling.
The the flavor starts out very creamy and sweet. The milk chocolate has intense flavor of milk, cream and caramel. It’s a very milky milk chocolate. You get some really nice chocolate flavor once the milky notes dissolve away. It’s a little sad, because as soon as the chocolate flavors arrive they’re immediately drowned out by the saltiness and flavor of the potato chips. The chips are pleasantly salty and have that nice crisp, starchy flavor. It stands out alone to me, as it doesn’t really mingle with the flavors of the chocolate since it appears right at the end. It’s a little disappointing since I wanted a chocolate and potato chip experience, but the flavors read separately so it’s hard to really get the together. The only way I found to resolve this is to later bites at once, but I don’t like feeling I have to gobble a chocolate bar to get the intended flavor fusion.
This bar is unique and that’s something I really appreciate. I liked the saltiness the bar had, but after eating this bar for a bit made me wonder if potato chips are the best way to get that salty kick in a chocolate bar. They do add a subtle starchy flavor to the chocolate, and also a slightly crunchy texture. Like all candy, such a preference depends on the person. You have to try it to find out if you like it, which I encourage to do with this bar. Plus, there’s the bagging rights of having eaten a chocolate bar with potato chips in it.
Rating: Will Eat Again
Links Chuao Chocolatier Website