January 2009
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MarieBelle Aztec Chocolate Unsweetened

This is the last of my MarieBelle purchases. I first read about it when Cybele reviewed it on 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.


MarieBelle Aztec Chocolate Strawberry Open

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


Will Eat Again

MarieBelle Chocolates Website



MarieBelle Aztec Chocolate Strawberry Box

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.


MarieBelle Aztec Chocolate Strawberry Open Back

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


Will Eat Again

MarieBelle Chocolates Website



MarieBelle Bonbons Box

Mariebelle is one of those high-end gourmet chocolate stores in New York City. With a store each in Soho and Madson Avenue, you know they are chocolate of style and sophistication. I’ve often browsed their stores, but have always been frightened away but the choices, and of course, the price tags. On a more recent trip there, I decided to finally splurge on a few items, especially since I’ve started to hear good things about their chocolate from reputable friends. I decided it was time I finally tried it out for myself.


MarieBelle Bonbons Open

Texture is so rich, as the chocolate exterior is light and soft. There’s not “snap” to these at all. The ganache is terribly slick and silky smooth as it just rolls over you tongue and it feels like heaven.

The bonbons comes in a snazzy blue box and you can pick your flavors that are neatly stacked behind a glass counter in the store. The lady at the counter told me how long they’d stay fresh and warned me, in her french accent, that “they will melt if you walk too long” as she eyed my walking shoes.


MarieBelle Bonbons

Dark Meyer Lemon: Image of a girl playfully lifting barbells: The ganache is so silky and has a nice dark chocolate hit with smooth notes of coffee and cream. Then a tart fresh zesty flavor of lemon shows up. The lemon and the chocolate are lovely together and the flavors of sweet/tart are beautifully balanced.

Spices: Showing suited men around a giant high heeled shoe: Smooth and sweet at first, then cinnamon enters to make a starring appearance. I wait for other flavors, a burn perhaps, but none show up.

Cardamom: A crazy abstract stained glass window pattern: Immediately you get the spicy, warm notes of cardamom with it’s woody and zesty flavor. Nice, but nothing noteworthy.

Pineapple: Model Legs showing off some expensive hosiery: Sweet with a flavor that is so subtle and delicate. The chocolate is mellow and is a wonderful base for the pineapple with it’s sweet pine like notes. I’m reminded of pineapple tort cake, and it’s just lovely. My favorite by far.

Impressive to look at but nothing that strikes me as particularly noteworthy in terms of flavor. I’d buy these as a gift, but run too rich for my tastes and wallet.

Rating: Might Eat Again

Might Eat Again

MarieBelle Chocolates Website


Eclat Chocolate Caramels Box

I discovered Eclat chocolate through chocolatier Chuck Siegel of Charles Chocolates. He knew they’d be something I’d enjoy and suggested I try them. He knows me too well, because as soon as I took a bite out of the box of caramels I bought for this review, I went weak in the knees.

The chocolatier behind Eclat chocolate, Christopher Curtin, has an impressive culinary background. He practiced his craft for many years in Germany and France, and is now located in Pennsylvania to provide us with stimulating and delicious chocolate confections of his own creation. I have been all to happy to taste my way though his offerings.


Eclat Chocolate Caramels II

I decided on a box of the assorted caramels to try, as I’ve heard they’re the best representation of what Eclat is capable of. Looking at the back of the box the ingredients list is quite long. Lots of things are listed that could indicate anything in terms of flavors of the caramels (vanilla, nuts, spices, etc).

The caramels are gorgeous to look at and it’s an experience in itself to open the box to see them all sitting there before you. They’re little round spheres, obviously molded and then then fused together. There’s milk and dark versions, each coded by either a sprinkling of salt, a square flatted top or a small lines on top.

The sprinkled salt top were the “regular” caramel. It’s easy to get the full flavor effect of these, since the caramel is so very liquid and flowing, you can’t help but take a bite, realize the impending mess, and then immediately pop the whole thing in your mouth. The flavor of the caramel is extremely buttery, and in my mind, this is the epitome of what caramel should taste like. It’s sweet, but not enough to burn your throat, and extremely buttery and rich. The chocolate compliments it nicely, but doesn’t overstep itself and lets the caramel shine. The salt adds that wonderful needed kick that enhances the nuances of the caramel. Just stellar flavor-wise, but I tend to prefer to have caramel in a way that doesn’t threaten a mess and allows me to slowly savor it.

The second caramel has a light pear flavor to it. The fruitiness compliments the sweetness of the caramel, and masks the butter flavor so that it remains light and uncomplicated. It tastes very pure and it really shines because of the balanced flavors occurring here.

The third, and my favorite, was cardamom. It has the strong base of the regular caramel, but the added cardamom with its sweet, complex and spicy flavors really just blasts this one to space. It adds a wonderful dimension to it that I didn’t consider, and it really makes the experience that much more delicious and enticing. You first taste the buttery sweet caramel, then the cardamom comes through with a slow steady flavor that begins to surpass the caramel and evolves into the ultimate spicy and sweet treat.

These are fabulous and I am really thankful to have had the opportunity to try them. I hope they’ll start finding their way into more stores soon. Worth a try if you happen to find them.

Rating: Will Buy Again


Will Buy Again

Eclat Website


Coffeebeat Package

I’m always impressed by the candy that I find from Meiji, and Coffeebeat is one that I always see at my local Asian market without fail. The fact that I see it all the time has made me continually hold off on buying it, until recently when I finally told myself: “Just try it already! Sheesh!”. I didn’t really know what it was exactly, other than chocolate and coffee were involved, so I was interested to see what I’d gotten myself into.

These look familiar, like M&Ms to be exact. They are all a rich brown color and have a wonderful roasted, coffee aroma. They’re immediately enticing.

Biting into one, yes, they really are like M&Ms. The candy shell is thin and has a good crunch to it. Inside is the chocolate center, and it carries not only the flavor of coffee, but it has notes of cream and chocolate as well. It’s more of a mocha than a true black cup of coffee. I think the flavor carries well here, the sweetness doesn’t overpower the coffee and vise versa. I also like the form of the candy too, I have always been a fan of the little lentil shapes for chocolate.

The packaging is really a nice design too. The tube allows you to take as little or much as you want at one time, and whatever you don’t eat is easily saved for later or shared with friends.

A nice treat if you’re into coffee and chocolate. I’ll have these on hand when for when my next craving strikes.

Rating: Might Eat Again


Might Eat Again

Meiji Coffeebeat Webpage

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