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September 2014
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dark chocolate

Aug
18



Wolfgang Chocolate Bars

These chocolate bars were a surprise gift from my boyfriend. He knows all too well my love of sweets, and presented these to me one day after work. Apparently one of his co-workers was selling them as a fundraiser, and since he knew these would be blog fodder for me, he bought me some. What a sweetheart, right?

Wolfgang is a candy company over in York, PA which, unlike many other small candy companies, have been bought out by the larger corporations. It started out as a family business and has stayed that way for almost a century now. Pretty impressive.

Well, all I can say is: on with the tasting!

Milk Chocolate Roasted Almonds: The bar is about a 1/3 inch thick, which is a good thickness in my mind. It smells very sweet, salty and nutty, almost like peanuts because of all the saltiness I detect. I can see hints of the almonds pieces in the back of the bar. The flavor is very sweet and nutty at first. The chocolate is sweet, and a little milky. The almonds deliver a wonderful fresh crunch and a great nutty flavor. It’s yummy, but after one piece I felt like that was enough, as it was very sweet.

Milk Chocolate Caramel: The caramel pieces are thinner and taller than the others. I snapped one off and I saw the caramel start to ooze out of the cavity. Try to think of it as a more watery Caramello. The caramel is extremely buttery and sweet, and combined with the milk chocolate it’s almost too much. something about it tastes metallic, and almost rummy. It’s strange.

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter: The peanut butter tastes center stage as the flavor here, and as I take my first bite I can’t help but notice that I can hardly taste the chocolate at all. The peanut butter has a nice strong nutty flavor to it, which is balanced with a nice sweet/salty aspect to it. The texture is creamy and a little dry, but it melts beautifully on my tongue and it feels lovely. Peanut butter lovers would adore this one I think.

White Chocolate Peanut Butter: This is real white chocolate, and oddly, I can taste more of this white chocolate with the peanut butter than I could the milk chocolate. Very strange. The peanut butter here is much milder in flavor that the milk chocolate version, but it’s still the same in all other regards. The white chocolate delivers a nice creamy sweet flavors that balances out the nutty flavors and it makes for a very nice balanced taste. I really liked this one.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint: I could immediately smell the peppermint as I opened the wrapper. It’s the same shape and size as the caramel bar, yet I got no oozing when I took a piece off.  The peppermint is fresh, and intense, and the sweet dark chocolate really cuts the strength of the peppermint. It’s like an Andes mint, except bigger and in a bar form.

These were pretty tasty! Not all of them appealed to me, but I ate more of them than not. Worth a try if you find someone selling them.

Rating: Might Eat Again

 

Might Eat Again

Links Wolfgang Website


Aug
09



Trader Joe's Powerberries Bag

I find candies that are “store originals”, as so to speak, are quite interesting. We all recognize candies that are knock-offs of their mainstream counterparts. But ones that are ideas and styles all their own? I like the unpredictability of them. These Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Powerberries are just that. I saw them on the shelf, knew they were candy, but didn’t know exactly what they were. So I had to find out.

The package shows them to be little round chocolate covered nuggets. They reminded me right away of Raisinets, so in a way, that’s what I was expecting. The bag has a resealable top, which I really appreciate, since the package is way too much to eat in one sitting. The bag smells sweet and very much like blueberries.

 

Trader Joe's Powerberries

Pouring some of these Powerberries into my hand, I find that the size varies. Some are small others much larger. They’re irregular, but that’s part of what makes them fun.

I take a bite and am surprised to not find an actual berry in the center. Instead, there’s a thick, jelly like texture. Almost like those fruit pate candies I adore so much. After a few experiments to see what made these up, I find that the center is two of these semi domed jelly discs smooshed together, and then covered in chocolate.

The flavor is very complex, as you really taste the rich dark chocolate at first. Soon follows the intense flavor of the berries, which is very blackberry/blueberry/strawberry. The two flavors compliment each other beautifully: the sweetness of the chocolate balances out the tartness of the berries, and the fruitiness of the berries calms the earthiness of the chocolate. It’s really excellent.

The bag got finished off pretty quickly, as they were really yummy. Funny thing is, these aren’t something I’d crave, for reasons I can’t explain. Still, they’re something I appreciate since there’s nothing else like it that I know of, and they’re fun to try and eat when I do have some around. 

Rating: Will Eat Again

 

Will Eat Again

Links Trader Joe’s Website


Jul
19



Pacari Guava/Banana

I was really excited to see these Pacari Chocolate Darak Chocolate covered fruit pieces in Whole Foods the other week. I remember tasting Pacari Chocolate back in the 2008 New York Fancy Food Show and really being impressed with their Ecuadorian chocolate. I hadn’t heard hide nor hair of them since so it really made me happy to see them carried in a main stream store. I was also really excited about seeing one of my favorite fruits, the guava, being paired with chocolate. Squee!

Each box holds the chocolate pieces in a nicely sealed plastic bag to keep them fresh. The pieces range in size, and I’m reminded of fish tank pebbles. They have a nice dark chocolate with a sheen to them.

The guava you immediately taste the rich, fruity, dark chocolate. It’s very flavorful and rich and it’s very exquisite. You don’t taste the guava right away, only once the chocolate starts to melt does its fruity, passion fruit/banana/strawberry flavor begin to show. It’s delicate, yet it compliments the chocolate in a lovely way. Quite delicious.

The banana is more straightforward. You immediately taste the banana as you eat it, with it’s sweet starchy flavor. You hardly notice the chocolate here at all, other than the sweetness it provides. My boyfriend liked this one better than the guava, but he’s a big banana lover to begin with.

I liked these little nuggets, as they were a fun format to eat. Pick them one by one, or by a small handful. I can see them used as decoration on top of cupcakes and such. My only gripe was I felt they were a bit expensive for the small package size (I can’t recall the exact price, fail on my part). But, these are fair trade and organic, so you certainly get what you pay for.

A great tropical flavored chocolate escape. I’m happy to have a guava chocolate, and I was pleased with the flavor of both of these. If you have the funds, I’d recommend trying them.

Rating: Will Eat Again

 

Will Eat Again

Links Pacari Website


Sep
18



Cafe Tasse Noir Cafe Bar Wrapper

Cafe Tasse is a Belgium chocolate company whose work I see around a lot. You see it mingling around the higher end chocolate like Valrhona, El Rey, Dolfin, Michel Cluizel, etc. Hanging around a crowd like that gives me high expectations. I finally caved one day and picked up this Noir Cafe bar since I was craving something with a good coffee flavor.

I’ve seen Cafe Tasse chocolate sold in many different formats. I’ve seen small 5g tasting squares, larger “mini” bars, 45g finger bars, then the large sized bar pictures above. I like how they offer lots of different sizes to cater to how gluttonous you feel.

The design is lovely. A brown paper wrapper with vintage styled black lettering adorns the outside. The different flavors of the chocolates are color coded, so it’s easy to pick out your favorite amongst a vast selection on a high shelf.

 

Cafe Tasse Noir Cafe Bar Pieces

The bar is beautiful to look at with a gorgeous, deep coloring that’s very inviting. The snap was promising too: crisp and robust.

It’s sadly in the flavor where this chocolate goes south. The chocolate is indeed dark, with a flat flavor that’s extremely dry. The coffee is overpowering, adding more unnecessary tannic flavor to an already sour chocolate. Also, the coffee flavor is not just a flavor really. There’s coffee grounds in here. Lots of them. So yes, I do taste coffee, but I feel like I’m eating sand there’s so much grit in here. Isn’t the point of chocolate is to taste it and feel it’s wonderful smooth texture? It is for me at least.

This bar is a great example of how a chocolate bar can be misleading. Everything about it suggests it’s an excellent treat except for the flavor. Where, sadly, where the mark of a good chocolate bar really lies.

Rating: Not Worth It

 

Not Worth It

Links Cafe Tasse Website


Jun
11



The Chocolate Traveler 70% Tin Open

This is a chocolate that I’ve seen around many places, and it always caught my eye because of the interesting packaging. The chocolate comes in an adorable round tin with a couple on it and a plane, obviously ready to explore the world together. The tin is slim and light and makes this a great keepsake once the chocolate is gone. 

The chocolate inside is split into separated individual pie wedges, so it’s easy to take a piece and store it for later. Or if you feel like it, share it. I like how convenient and accessible this package makes the chocolate discs. What can I say, I’m a sucker for design.

Chocolate Traveler 70%:

The chocolate here is the standard Belgian chocolate processed with alkali (meaning it had chemicals added to make it less acidic) and just has sugar and soya lecithin added to it. No vanilla or milk, which is nice since this is meant to be a dark chocolate. The chocolate has strong notes of cocoa, coffee, vanilla, caramel and cream. The break of the chocolate seems unusually soft to me, especially considering it’s 70% chocolate. The mouth feel is very smooth and creamy.

The flavor is very mild right off and I’m immediately reminded of Belgian chocolates of my childhood: very sweet and not much chocolate flavor at all. I get no stages of flavor, no nuances of anything, just straight sweetness. The finish and aftertaste, however, are very odd. I taste trees, muck and mold. Ew.

After trying and being terribly disappointed with the 70%, I ran into two other flavors a few weeks later. Once again I was lured by the cool tins and decided to see if the flavored varities improved on the chocolate. Once purchased and opened for tasting, I was immediately diappointed. Both tins are bloomed! Ashen in color and sugary in places. Is this a bad batch or a packaging problem? I won’t to buy more to find out.

 

The Chocolate Traveler: Raspberry

Raspberry: The chocolate has a hard snap. Upon my first bite I’m immediately hit with this odd, fake raspberry flavor. It tastes odious, with notes of fake perfume which could be “raspberry” in another universe. Only at the end do you get flavor from the chocolate, and it’s sweet and reminds me of the flat flavor of cocoa powder. Blech.

 

The Chocolate Traveler: Tiramisu

Tiramisu: This one smells warm and of vanilla. I get no hints of coffee, which is a major ingredient in Tiramisu. I cautiously take a my first bite and find that this one is somewhat edible. It has strong, creamy vanilla flavors, but no real depth. It’s a very superficial chocolate flavor and I feel like I’m eating a sold hot cocoa mix. I was feeling a bit relieved at this point, but then I got this odd, chemically aftertaste in the chocolate which just made me spit it out.

This is a classic example of don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Visually these hold such promise, but I am not in any hurry to torture my taste buds with bland sub-par chocolate again anytime soon. No matter how cute the packaging is.


Rating: Inedible

 

Inedible

Links The Chocolate Traveler Website


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