Calendar

July 2014
S M T W T F S
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

dark chocolate

Nov
26



Kallari Chocolate Packages

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 The packaging in the photo above, while outdated, shows the faces of the children from the Kichiwa people directly benefiting from your purchase.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.

 

Kallari Chocolate

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

 

Will Buy Again

Links:
Kallari Website


Nov
18



Peanut M&Ms Package (Indiana Jones)

I never understood the appeal of these. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of the M&Ms line. I just, never learned to love the Peanut variety.

These are one of the candies I remember best from my childhood. I didn’t eat them, though. These were a “must have” for family car trips and my whole family loved them except me. I always made a stink about it and therefore I got my own stash of Plain ones to have to myself. I hated the egg-like shape of them, the less chocolate and the garish yellow package. And the thing that really killed it for me? The nuts always managed to get stuck in my teeth, and I hated it. Therefore a lifetime of picky chocolate eating was born.

Now, realize that this is just my opinion that’s been built up with traumatic childhood experiences and personal preferences. It’s obvious that Peanut M&Ms are a quality product and are loved by practically everyone but myself. That’s part of what I find so interesting about candy.

 

Peanut M&Ms (Indiana Jones)

These are large, in face they’re largest of all the M&Ms. The vary slightly in size and shape, since each is coating a fresh peanut. There’s a really satisfying crunch with these, first with the shell and second with the peanut. The flavor is more peanut focused than chocolate, which is why I think I didn’t like them very much as a kid. I wanted the chocolate baby! The peanuts have a very fresh and nutty flavor with a slightly saltiness that works well with the sweetness of the chocolate. There’s also a toasty flavor to the peanuts that I don’t get anywhere else, and it’s something I associate only with peanut M&Ms.

 

Dark Peanut M&Ms

The dark chocolate variety is only slighty different from the regular milk chocolate one. The package has bands of purple on the top and bottom, so it’s easy to spot the difference on the shelves. The flavor is the same, just less sweet from the darker chocolate.

I don’t see these replacing my preference for Plain and Peanut Butter M&Ms, but I have made peace with them now after a long and silent treatment since childhood.

Rating: Might Eat Again

 

Might Eat Again

Links:
M&Ms Website


Nov
14



Lindt: Cherry and Chili II

Lindt is one of those chocolates that I’ve always felt were a little more “upscale” then the other brands that I’d see in more mainstream stores. In my mind they’re part of the chocolate “it” clique with Ghirardelli and Godiva , and they look down on chocolates such as Hershey’s, Dove, and Nestle’s. Lindt is part of the cool chocolate crowd.

I was excited when this bar was first released a little over a year ago. I remember seeing it at the All Candy Expo booth, but I didn’t get to try it until I visited a Lindt store and bought one for myself. It was actually on a day I was getting a haircut and I shared the bar with my hairdresser, who liked it a lot. I recently picked it up again because I wanted to re-visit the flavor, as I’ve gotten more familiar with spicy chocolate and was curious to see the taste comparison.

The bar is broken into large squares. Two of them make up the width of the bar. The squares are filled, as the cardboard wrapper indicates.

The aroma is nice and deep of dark chocolate. I get no spice or fruitiness at all. Inside, the cherry filling is gooey and akin to jam, but not as think or flavorful. Still, it delivers a nice fruity hit that blends and matches the chocolate. Ah, the chocolate. Lindt does do it well for such a large company as they still manage to get a very upscale feel to it. It’s very rich and slippery on the tongue and delivers nice roasted flavors. A good example of a nice 70% dark. As for the chili? Well, it’s hard to find. I tasted a little of it in the aftertaste, as a subtle warmth. That was about it.

This is a nice bar for beginners who want to try and expand their chocolate tastings. If you’ve never had a spice bar, this is a good one to try as it’s like putting your toe into the hot bathwater.

Rating: Will Eat Again

 

Will Eat Again

Links:
Lindt USA Website

 


Nov
06



BonBon Bar Set

I’ve been a reader of Nina’s blog ofSweet Napa for a long time, as it’s always fun to see what other sweet-tooth driven individuals are up to. I’ve known of her BonBon Bars for some time, but haven’t had the motivation to try them.

During a trip to Los Angeles this past summer I visited Nina, with the sweet company of Cybele, at the Century City farmers market where I was finally able to taste her offerings. Let’s just say they were everything I heard about and then some. I bought a few to take home with me, only to have them mangled on the trip home and therefore unworthy to review. When I saw there was a limited edition Pumpkin Pie flavor released for a few months this fall, I knew I had to put an order in. So I am very excited to review these bars for you, my readers.

 

BonBon Bar Malt Bar

Malt Bar: “Creamy Malt Ganache & Crunchy Shortbread” I got one of each the dark and milk chocolate variety. The flavors and textures in the compliment each other beautifully. The shortbread is crunchy and extremely buttery. The ganache is smooth and has an incredible richness to it. The flavor is very sophisticated, as none of the elements are overpowering. The flavor is very chocolatey, lightly malty, buttery…..essentially a little bit of heaven. These were gone in a flash.

As far as the milk/dark chocolate difference, the milk tastes much less chocolately than the dark and isn’t any sweeter. So it really depends on which you prefer.

 

BonBon Bar Orange Bar

Orange Bar: “Orange Caramel & Pecan Nougat topped with Candied Orange Peel” The flavor is sweet, but like the Malt bar, it’s not too much. The orange flavor in the thick, chewy caramel dominates and it’s really a bright, fresh, authentic flavor. You don’t really taste the nougat as it just delivers a nice fluffy texture. The pecans I hardly really notice; I get a piece every now and then which are fresh and flavorful. The best part of this bar is biting a section with the candied orange that’s placed on top. It elevated the whole orange flavor and really adds a great extra chewy texture to the whole bar.

 

BonBon Bar Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie Bar: “Warm with spices and rich with chocolate, our limited edition Pumpkin Pie Bar evokes the spirit of the holiday season. We place a Spiced Pumpkin Caramel atop a Graham Cracker Crust, and enrobe it with Dark Chocolate” Oh, this bar is yummy! Too bad it’s a limited edition too, I wish I could get these all year. The star of this bar is the graham cracker crust on the bottom. It adds a wonderful crunch and a flavorful base for the squash and spice flavors to build upon. The jist of the taste is definitely fall with it’s very warm effect of the flavor. I would have liked a stronger presence of the pumpkin, but that’s most likely just me, as I’m obsessed with squashes of all types. I bought three of these bars and they were the first to go. Everyone I shared them with agreed that they were out of this world.

These bars are lovely and I could continue to gush about them, but it’s best to keep things succinct. They run at $5 a bar, which is a fair price in my mind considering how fresh and flavorful they are. They’d be an awesome gift, whether it’s for yourself or for a special someone. BonBon bars are indeed a wonderful gourmet treat, and one I plan to get my hands on again very soon. 

Rating:  Hoard

 

Hoard

Links:
BonBon Bar Webpage


Oct
08



Ghirardelli Midight Reverie 86%

My first thoughts on this bar when I saw it on the shelf was: “Why 86%?” It seems a really random number to choose. I then looked at a contender for shelf space with Ghirardelli: Lindt; and saw that they have an 85% bar (which is really good by the way). Seems like Ghirardelli is trying to pull a one up on Lindt by making a bar with a higher cacao content to appeal to the dark chocolate devotees. It seems half-hearted that the “higher” percentage is only 1%.

The ingredients list reads: “Bittersweet chocolate (unsweetened chocolate, (do they mean cocoa solids?) cocoa butter, sugar, soy lecithin, vanilla, natural flavor”. I’m happy to see the real vanilla, yet am annoyed with the “natural flavor” and am confused as to why the cocoa solids are called “unsweetened chocolate”. Not to mention that 86% is called “bittersweet”, cause that’s really “dark” in my book. Oh, semantics. Chocolate terminology needs to start having some guidelines here.

The chocolate is a nice and very dark color. It smells roasted with notes of raisins, cherries and cinnamon. The snap is strong with a clean break. I see no bubbles or anything in the chocolate, so obviously this bar was nicely tempered.

The flavor starts off dry and bland at first. The middle is where things start to get interesting where a dry, chalky, and musky flavor appears. It has a slight fruity notes of berries and a twang of citrus at the finish. The aftertaste is, surprise, dry and a little tannic with that musky flavor again. Overall this bar tastes very “green” to me since plants come to mind. The mouth feel is very slick and slippery feeling, and it’s very pleasurable because of it. That’s what lots of cocoa butter will do for you.

I was surprised by the lack of flavor and the intense dryness of this bar. Granted, higher percentages are hard to do well, but it seems this bar just decided to avoid acidity associated with dark chocolates by sacrificing flavor. A good try, but it’s lack of depth just stopped it dead to me. Why eat it if it doesn’t taste of chocolate? I plan to stick with the Lindt 85% bar if you really enjoy tasting chocolate.

Rating: Might Eat Again

 

Might Eat Again

Links:
Ghirardelli Website

 


Page 15 of 18 pages « First  <  13 14 15 16 17 >  Last »