Will Buy Again
Tis the season for limited edition holiday flavors, and that’s all too clear from a stroll down any holiday aisle in your local grocery or drug store. While I fail to get excited about re-packaged Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or Hershey’s Kisses, my interest was piqued when I found out that Chocolove released a special flavored bar for the holidays. I was lucky and picked one up when I was at the New York City Chocolate Show. I have been very eager to give it a try, but have been waiting until Thanksgiving was over so my festive review was more appropriately timed.
The bar, in typical Chocolove fashion, is decorated to look like a love letter. This one is unique, with an addition of a red ribbon and a picture of a present, so it feels like a present as well. The bar is described as “Fruits & Nuts in 55% Dark Chocolate”. Looking at the ingredients list, I see that “pecans, currants, cherries, walnuts, hazelnuts, orange peel, and ginger” are listed on the back. Already it sounds enticing.
The flavor is of their nice dark chocolate. More importantly it’s bittersweet, which is one of my favorites. You taste a strong presence of orange from the peel. There’s an ever-changing flavor with each bite, as the bits of dried fruits and nuts really effect how the chocolate tastes. I got bites that were slightly more tart with one of the cherries or currants, or nuttier with some of the pecans, walnut or hazelnuts. There’s a constant underlying spiciness that makes the bar feel very cozy and warm. It does evoke the holiday season very well, and it feels very fitting to be munching it as the events draw near.
I’m happy to got two of these bars. It’s a shame that it’ll be gone once the holidays are over, but it gives me something to look forward to next year.
Rating: Will Buy Again
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
Dolfin is a chocolate company from Belgium that I’ve gotten very familiar with in the past couple of years. I originally bought their chocolate because they offer these adorable pocket sized bars in interesting flavors. I figured it’s be a safe way to expand my flavor profile without much risk if I didn’t like how something tasted. I was excited to find that they released a bunch of summer limited edition flavors and found them during one of my trips to New York City to visit family. I am aware that it’s December now ad very far away from summer, but I feel the need to review these flavors before another season passes.
The first limited edition flavor I’ll review is the “Southern Passion”. It’s described as: “milk chocolate with apricot and rosemary”. Doesn’t that sound tasty? I’ve had apricot in chocolate, but not rosemary, so I was pretty excited to give it a taste.
The chocolate is a light brown color and it’s very attractive. The bar smells lightly of chocolate but mainly you get the woodsy, herbal notes of the rosemary. It still comes off as “sweet”, but the scent certainly overpowers everything else.
The flavor is immediately sweet and you get the light peachy/appley taste of apricot with a good creamy sweet cocoa hit. The rosemary hits very lightly, more of a hint and suggestion (also a slight texture from the pieces ground in there) than an actual strong presence like the smell suggests. The bar is also slightly salty too, so you get this really beautiful balance of creamy milk chocolate with caramel and cream notes, but no dairy tang, with a light authentic flavor of apricot. Those flavors are balanced with a light herbal kick and the dose of salt. Beautifully done and terribly tasty.
I’d buy it again, easily. Since it’s a limited edition I can see myself hoarding it if I could find more to buy….
Rating: Will Buy Again
El Rey is a chocolate brand that’s known far and wide amongst fellow chocolate enthusiasts. They’re a Venezuelan based chocolate and have many fans, with many of them chefs, because of it’s excellent flavor and quality. I picked up this 61% Mijao (Venezuelan singe bean origin “Carenero Superior”) bar in Whole Foods eager to taste this greatness for myself and put my tasting skills to good work.
Unwrapping the bar, the chocolate is gorgeous to look at with very dark in color with reddish undertones. There’s not a lot of gloss to it, only a subtle sheen, but still beautiful. The pieces have a great hard snap and clean break. The pieces sound crisp, like dominoes, when they clink together.
The smell is very bright and vibrant of coffee, red fruits, cinnamon, cocoa, vanilla and a hint of raisins. It’s a wonderful combination of aromas, and it makes me even more anxious to taste it!
The snap is very hard and robust. In the mouth I found chewing the chocolate was useful in coaxing the flavors out. Once it starts melting it has a nice smooth feel to it. The flavor is very mild and “green” at first, I get notes of forest, asparagus and green coffee. Then the taste mellows into cream, caramel and cappuccino in the middle, then the finish is bright with a light tartness of berries mixed with more cream notes. The aftertaste is very fresh and clean with light notes of the green coffee, but they are barely noticeable.
Oh yum! I now know what the fuss is all about. A beautiful bittersweet chocolate to invest in, whether you intend to bake with it or, as I prefer, to eat it straight.
Rating: Will Buy Again
El Rey Website
Kallari is a chocolate company that is a chocolate cooperative dedicated to providing organic, sustainable, fair trade chocolate that I discovered them back in June at the Bucks Country Chocolate Show. They strive to create great tasting chocolate while cutting out the “middle man” to provide the cocoa farmers with income and knowledge they need to continue their practices. The packaging in the photo above, while outdated, shows the faces of the children from the Kichiwa people directly benefiting from your purchase. Talk about putting a face to the cause.
I bought one of the different types of chocolate bars that Kallari sells. They do things simply, with a selection of rich dark chocolates ranging from 70%, 75% and 85% cocoa content.
70%: The smell is intense with accents of chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and cinnamon. The taste is very vanilla with accents that are light and damp, like a cool forest. The middle of the flavor has slight vegetable taste, but it’s nice, not odd or out of place. The bar ends with strong notes of cocoa and coffee and a clean finish.
75% Roberto’s Recipe “extra dark chocolate with vanilla”: It has a nice color and subtle gloss. The snap is crisp, the beak is extremely clean and the sections are easy to break off evenly at the partitions. It smells very fruity with notes of red berries, raisins, raspberry, caramel and coffee.
The flavor is cool and a dry at first with light notes of vanilla. It then expands more allowing stronger notes of cocoa, caramel, vanilla and honey show through. The finish shows a peek of fruitiness. I get a little cherry/raspberry note as well as some moss in there. The aftertaste is extremely light and clean.
The texture is very smooth and not overly thick or slippery in the mouth. A beautiful 75% bar that’s great for beginners as the flavors aren’t acidic and it’s wonderfully chocolatey.
85%: The aroma is surprisingly sweet. There’s notes of cream, coffee, caramel and vanilla. The taste is first bland and dry but then notes of almonds and cream come forward and bloom on the tongue. The finish has light notes of cherries, raspberries, cream and vanilla. Really wonderful for such a high percentage bar.
With such a delicious range of chocolate and wonderful production practices, I can’t do anything but highly recommend these. Your conscience or your taste buds won’ be let down.
Rating: Will Buy Again