Will Eat Again
I'll eat it buy won't pay for it.
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
I’ve heard tales of the infamous Walnut Whip. Many love it and consider it a very overlooked confection, others say it’s really nothing noteworthy. So when I was presented with a pair of Whips, I was excited to try them and see where I stood in the great Walnut Whip controversy. Would it be as good as some claim? Or as blah are many insist?
This Walnut Whip is the vanilla flavor (there’s others?) and comes in this cute, bright blue, upright standing package. The wrapper describes it as “Milk chocolate whirl with a vanilla fondant cream center”. Sounds tasty!
As soon as I open it up it smells of the iconic, sweet, Nestle milk chocolate. I was slightly disappointed to find that my walnut has loosened itself and had fallen to the bottom of the package.
Taking the candy out and placing the walnut on top where it should be. I admit, it’s a pretty funny looking candy. It reminds me of a beehive, a tall swirled mound. I first ate the walnut, alone. It’s buttery and fresh with that slight astringent taste from the skins. Then my first nibble of chocolate: it tasted sweet, buttery and of maple syrup. It’s nice and smooth with good flavors of cocoa and milk. It’s a sweet milk flavor and has no tang to it as British chocolate often does.
The vanilla fondant center is really fluffy, I was surprised by. I was expecting more of a thick, ganache center as fondants usually reads as heavy and thick in my mind. Instead, it’s light and fluffy like a nougat or marshmallow. The fondant is very sweet with the light vanilla flavor that is supplemented with notes of butter and hints of strawberries. It’s a little tangy and it’s very tasty.
I found the most enjoyable way to eat this was pick the walnut off the top and then bite into the chocolate at the peak. From there I lick out the fondant center and then eat the empty shell. Yes, I am aware that I’m weird.
Rating: Will Eat Again
Organic and natural candies are getting more and more popular as the days go by. Enter one of the newest candies to fit into this niche: Zootons. They’re jelly candies that are organic, vegan and tasty too! Bold black boxes adorned with cute monsters hold these treats, along with the tag line of “Organic Candy With Out Of This World Taste”. Kind of a funny idea; extraterrestrial monsters that deliver candy that’s healthy for our planet and bodies.
To be honest, if it wasn’t for the generosity of a fellow candy friend, I wouldn’t have gotten my hands on these. Their website is still extremely vague on where you can buy them, and unless you can pick up samples on the trade show circuit, I don’t know where you can buy them. I am pretty frustrated by this, because I know there’s many of you out there searching for more friendly candy vices, and these certainly fit the bill.
Organic Gummis: They come in crescent moon shapes and use all natural colors. The flavors are described as black currant, orange, pineapple and raspberry. Despite all natural color, they are easily distinguishable. Or at least thought so, until I realized there were four flavors and three colors. Hmm
I’m fascinated with the funny texture, as it feels like dried fruit. Soft, yet hard on the outside.
Pineapple: Very light and sweet. There’s no zest or tartness at all which I find disappointing.
Raspberry: I thought this was orange at first. Very floral with generic berry notes and a bit of pear in there. It reads more fruity than raspberry to me.
Black Currant: I am assuming that this is the right flavor since it’s the darkest color. Yet, it doesn’t taste of black currant to me. It’s fruity with bits of apple, pear, and grape but it lacks that piny hit like real black currants have.
Orange(?): I didn’t get anything orange flavored in this pack. Saddness.
Organic Cola: These are star shaped and so cute! The texture is harder and denser than the gummis. The color is perfect for cola.
The flavor is a beautiful mild cola: sweet, fruity, with notes of herbs and spices. They’re refreshing in their honest simplicity.
Organic Sours These are also crescent moon shaped, but have a dusting of granulated sugar unlike the gummis. Also listing as having strawberry, lemon, orange and raspberry flavors, yet there’s only three colors in my box. I am once again confused.
Lemon: Wowza, beautifully tart and zesty. It has a nice sourness and authentic flavor.
Raspberry: Very floral and slightly tart with flavors of pear. Why don’t other companies take a hint? So much better than that nasty fake blue raspberry sour stuff.
Orange: Oh, this one is awesome. The flavor is so juicy and fresh with the tartness is just a littler stronger than a real orange.
Strawberry: Again, wow, this is really juicy and not too sour to destroy the strawberry flavor. It’s just tart enough so it fits into the mix.
Organic Jellies: Stared shaped with a sugar coating that makes a great crunchy texture. The jelly part is soft with a subtle chew.
Black Currant: Tastes more like raspberry jam than it does black currant. Again, it’s lacking those piney notes I’m used to and expect.
Strawberry: Awesome, just like strawberry jam: juicy, sweet, and full of flavor.
Lemon: Fresh, sweet, slightly zesty. My favorite of the bunch.
Pineapple: Faint flavor with an authentic essence to it. There’s a light tang, but not as much as I’d expect from a pineapple flavor. This one comes in second.
I just loved these. If only I could buy more in stores! They are worth searching out and waiting patiently for.
Rating: Will Eat Again
This is the last of my MarieBelle purchases. I first read about it when Cybele reviewed it on Candyblog.net and have been meaning to try it ever since. Since I was in Mariebelle’s store and was making purchases, there was no possible way I could walk out of there without bringing this bar with me.
This bar, the Mayan Chocolate Bar (70% Single Origin Colombian Cacao, Unsweetented), is special because, technically, it’s sugar free. It’s sweetened with milk instead of straight sugar. Don’t get me wrong, as there’s still sugar in here from the lactose, but it’s a more safe, low GI chocolate than those sweetened in the traditional manner.
Ingredients read as such: cocoa mass, skim milk powder, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, (emulsifier) (E322) soy lechithin, PGPR-90 polyglicerol, polyricinoleate (emulsifier), natural vanilla. Kosher. Processed neat peanut, tree nuts and milk.
This bar comes in the same format as the Aztec Strawberry bar I reviewed yesterday with it’s square shape with rows of empty peg holes.
You’re immediately hit with a chocolatey smell upon unwrapping this bar. It’s smells deep, sweet and of caramel with light notes of dairy. I also get nice hints of dates and fig in the aroma as it lingers a little. It’s just lovely to sit a moment and enjoy the scents this chocolate gives off.
The break is hard, despite all the milk, and the snap is pretty clean with a little grain to it. I blame that on the milk making the chocolate less even than it is in its purer forms.
The texture is very, very odd. Nothing like I’ve experienced before in chocolate. Instead of being smooth, slippery and feeling almost liquid like on the tongue; this is dry, somewhat chalky and thick. It feels a little like compressed powder at first, but once it melts a little in your mouth it gets more sticky and smooth. I feel this texture invited chewing, which is odd for a dark bar. The flavors are wonderful: subtly bitter, with a nice deep sweetness from the milk which comes off with very nice caramel flavors. The effect is very chocolatey and I do no miss the “sugar” in it. The dairy provides the necessary (and more complex, I think) sweetness and I don’t miss it at all.
Do try this! I’ll by buying this again and again, but not too often as it’s pretty pricey. About the same cost as the Aztec Strawberry bar.
Rating: Will Eat Again
MarieBelle Chocolates Website
One of the other items I bought along with the bonbons was this Aztec Chocolate Strawberry bar. I didn’t quite understand what made this bar “Aztec”, but the idea of strawberries in high quality bittersweet chocolate sold me right away. I did my best to pay little attention to the $8 price tag and threw it in with the rest of my purchases.
The bar is a pretty 100g bar. It comes in a square, as opposed to the traditional rectangular shape. It has these fun little peg holes in it, which reminds me of an old fashioned switchboard or a game of light brights. The packaging is nice too, ornate with a simple yet elegant color scheme, and the bar comes wrapped tightly in clear plastic. The chocolate is very dark and the back side is bumpy from bits of strawberries.
The chocolate has a medium hard snap, as it’s 60% cocoa. It smells very chocolatey with deep notes of caramel,coffee, a slight nuttiness and a good creamy note from the milk. I smell no strawberries.
The flavor is very creamy, which surprised me as I’m used to bittersweet chocolate to being a little on the drier side. The chocolate is rich and “dark” with good notes of cocoa, coffee, and a light nuttiness to it. The chocolate feels very light and airy, almost crumbly when you bite into it, but it melts smoothly on the tongue.
And the strawberries? They’re little freeze dried chunks, that are evenly distributed throughout the bar. They give a “rice crispy” sort of texture and a blast of fresh flavor that blends with the chocolate for a very sweet fruity finish. The combination works nicely together and it’s very tasty.
I really liked this bar and I polished it off pretty quickly. I’d buy it again, but not regularly because of the price.
Rating: Will Eat Again
MarieBelle Chocolates Website