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June 2009
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Jun
23



LOOK A La Mode Tea Chocolate Box

This box of Look! chocolates from Japan are another treat that my sister was so kind to send me while she was away on study abroad. I’ve seen Look! a few times before, as a few Asian Markets near me sometimes carry it. I find the name amusing since it comes across as a piece of amusing Engrish, so I can’t help but chuckle whenever I see it. It’s never really interested me enough to buy it, but I do recall admiring their packaging design, as the illustrations of the desserts on the front are always gorgeous. This particular Look! box is the fruit tea collection, with four varieties of chocolates. I do admit it looks tasty.

The Look! chocolates come in a flat box, and it’s deceiving as it looks like it could be a solid bar inside. Instead there’s a cute tray that you pull out to find twelve chocolates, with three of each flavor. The mylar wrapper on top is a flavor code, letting you know exactly how the flavors are arranged so there’s no surprised once you pop them into your mouth.

Oh! I do want to mention that the chocolate are arranged so cleverly! Each are set in rows to spell “Look” as the chocolates have molded letter on top of them. You only notice this once you remove all the packaging. So cute! All the L’s are one flavor, each of the O’s are another, as is the K. You get the idea. I did my best not to get the O’s mixed up, but that’s when I noticed that the O’s are also different from one another too. One has double rings. Again, such thought behind this.

Apple Tea: It smells very fruity and herbal, like tea leaves. A strong ceylon comes to mind. The flavor is fruity and slightly tannic from the tea. There’s a well of fruit jelly at the top and it delivers a very intense flavor punch on the tongue. It’s sweet, tart, and crisp like a red delicious apple. The chocolate adds a sweetness like sugar and milk added to tea.

Orange Tea: This one smells like ceylon tea, just like the apple flavor. I’m immediately get a nice orange flavor that’s fresh and jammy on my first bite. It’s very intense,sweet, tart and juicy. The orange overrides the flavor of the tea and it’s nice effect combined with the chocolate.

Peach Tea: Devoid of aroma. The flavor is delicate and like a fresh peach jam. Again, more fruity than tea, but you do get a nice planty flavor under the juicy, perfumey flavors of the peach.

Raspberry Tea: This smells fruity of nondescript berries. The flavor is so intense of a juicy, fresh raspberry jam. It’s impressive. The flavor has many shades of the real raspberries: sweet, tart, hints of seeds (yet there are none!) and notes of blackberry. The tea flavor is present, but not overpowering.

I enjoyed these. They’re a nice blend of tea and fruit flavors with chocolate, and a unique treat when a standard chocolate bar isn’t going to satisfy your craving for something a little different. 

Rating: Will Eat Again

 

Will Eat Again

Links Fujiya Website

 


Jun
22



Amedei: 70%

Amedei is one of those chocolate companies I’ve always heard about, but wasn’t able to get my hands on for a very long time. Even though candy and chocolate tasting is a very subjective and personal thing, many chocolate sommeliers consider Amedei’s chocolate to be some of the best of the best. It wasn’t until I was at the Food Emporium at the Trump Palace in New York (it sounds so much glitzier than it actually is) that I finally found Amedei bars that I could buy in the flesh. I am aware I can buy them online, and since that day I have, but I wanted to handle each bar and make my selection in person that very first time.

After much pursuing in the store, I made my selection of their most basic of chocolates: the Toscano Dark Chocolate 70% and the Milk Chocolate 23% bars. I had researched much into the Amedei’s line of chocolate bars, and I wanted to start off with something simple before I moved into their infamous Chuao or Porcelana bars.

A little history and information on Amedei first before I dive into tasting notes. They’re a company located in Tuscany, Italy, born out of the passion to make quality premium chocolate. Three chldren of a confectioner founded Amedei, lovingly named after their grandmother. Since the founding of the company, each sibling has taken great lengths to make sure they produce the higest qulity chocolate possible. You can read their store in more detail here.

 

Amedei:  Dark Milk

Toscano Brown 32% (dark milk): I love the cerulean blue packaging. Just thought I’d throw that out there. This bar is referred to as “dark milk” because it has a higher cocoa percentage than most standard milk chocolates. The chocolate bar looks like milk chocolate still, with a light brown color with creamy undertones and a subtle sheen. It smells sweet with a subtle after note of cheddar cheese. It has a hard break despite the dairy content (is that even a factor?) and feels heavy in my hand. The flavor? Wow. Just wow. It’s very chocolatey and very sweet with lots of flavors swirling around. I gets notes of cream, vanilla, caramel, honey…and it all mixes together to give is a hint of hazelnuts. The perfect milk chocolate bar. The mouth feel is very smooth and silky and has a medium “mouth-time”. My only suggestion is that I wish it’d last longer on my tongue, since the flavors are so magnificent. My new favorite milk chocolate (well, one of a select few now), by far.

Toscano Black: Bitter Chocolate Extra 70%: This chocolate’s color is medium-deep with more purple undertones with a slightly dull appearance and a glossy finish. The aroma is terribly fruity and smells strongly of raisins and vanilla, slightly floral (like raspberries?) and is very “purple”. The flavor immediately mirrors the aroma with a fruity flavor, with raisins and dates jumping forth. Those notes fade to reveal more fruity flavors, this time of red berries and cherries and they counteract the raisin/date sweetness with a slight tartness. The finish ends on a sweeter note like the beginning of the flavor, with notes of cream and raisins again. The mouth feel is rich and quite thick, but it nice and smooth and very satisfying. I really, really liked this chocolate. On the list of favorites just like the milk chocolate.

What can I say other than the Amedei chocolate has met all my expectations and lived up to all the praise I’ve heard. This is amazing chocolate, and I cannot wait to get my hands on more of this stuff. If you consider yourself a chocolate lover of any kind, you need to give Amedei a try.

Rating: Hoard

 

Hoard


Links Amedei Website (US)


Jun
19



Meiji Galbo Mini Package

It was a cold rainy day in November and my sister emailed me requesting I get on Skype to chat with her right away. She was in Japan at the time, and I was curious as to why she wanted to talk to me to urgently. This was an unusual request from her. Once I was on and talking to her, I found her excited and wanting to gush to me about a new chocolate she found while on break from classes that day. She started raving about the flavor and texture, and I wouldn’t have gotten the name if I hadn’t stopped her and requested it. “Oh!” she gasped, “It’s called Galbo. Ever heard of it?” I admitted I haven’t, and she promised to send me some in the candy care package she was working on for me. I thanked her and found myself excited to try this Galbo that got my sister so hot and bothered.

The day the package arrived I found this small package of Galbo mini in it. There was a small note in the box explaining she couldn’t find any of the normal sized kinda for mt to try, so this one would have to do. I didn’t care either way, but I set it aside to be the first to try out of all the treats she sent.

The pieces are indeed little, and they remind me of thicker versions of those wooden paddle spoons you get with cafeteria ice cream cups. They also look like fat, flat pinky fingers. It depends on how you look at them I guess. The outside chocolate coating is very shiny, glossy and smooth.

I took a bite to find a very smooth texture. At least until I started to chew, because it then turned crunchy right there in my mouth. Odd. The flavor is sweet and creamy and it reminds me of ice cream. The taste is more of cocoa than chocolate. I’m assuming it’s more like de-fatted chocolate, which is then pumped full of those “yummy” hydrogenated oils. It like eating a dairy fat enhanced hot cocoa. Blech.

Sorry sis, we don’t see eye to eye on this one.

Rating: Not Worth It

 

Not Worth It

Links Meiji Website


Jun
18



Riesen Package

Back in middle school I watched a lot of CBC since I was fond of several shows they had in their after school lineup. Out of all the things I recall out of those long afternoons watching Canadian TV, the Riesen Chocolate Chew commercials and jingle are the most vivid. They showed..oh heck, why don’t I just link the video:

 

I had no idea what a Riesen was, and it was years before I even encountered one in the stores. But, for some reason that silly commercial stuck with me, so when I finally did encounter the Riesen Chocolate chew, I had to try them. I wanted to know what the fuss was all about!

The package describes them as “Chewy Chocolate Caramel covered in Rich European Chocolate”. I turned the package over to look at the ingredients, as the words “Chocolate Chew” rang in my mind from the commercials. I was relieved to find that these are real chocolate, not mockolate like I was suspecting. 

 

Riesen Bitten


The chews are plump little rectangles, almost an inch long and a half inch tall. They smell of rich chocolate right away and l sense my saliva kicking in.

The bite is thick, even more so than with fudge, so you know right away that this is a dense caramel and will be a good jaw workout. The flavor is chocolatey and sweet. The caramel and the chocolate coating taste about the same, with the caramel having more nuances of sugar and milk and therefore not tasting as “intense” as the chocolate coating. This is more about texture, and you get the cool, smooth chocolate shell that gives slightly when you bite in. Then comes the terribly dense chewy caramel, which is a good 2-3 minute chew (of course taking into account how aggressive you are). It’s very satisfying without being too tiring. The flavor is good, but a little too light for me to choose it to satisfy a chocolate craving. I think this’d be a good choice for those who are sensitive to stronger flavors and sweetness and suffer from throat burn a lot.

I enjoyed these, and I certainly plan to add them to my regular candy rotation.

Rating: Will Buy Again

 

Will Buy Again

Links Riesen Webpage


Jun
17



Barton's Chocotini Squares II

I was surprised by these chocolates, as I had never encountered them on my own. I was handed this sampling by my boyfriend, who is ever so thoughtfully on the look out for new things to try. He found these Barton’s Chocotini Squares in his local Giant, and it amazes me how just a few miles away he finds candy that I don’t ever see in my neck of the woods. It makes me wish I understood candy distribution better.

I find the idea of a Chocotini interesting. On one hand, if I was given a martini that’s chocolate flavored, I wouldn’t be the slightest bit interested. But, put the martini inside a chocolate bar, and now we’re talking business! I’ve had a few of the bottles that have liquors inside them, like the infamous Anton Berg filled bottles that are given away as gifts at most holiday parties. I had mixed opinions on them, to be perfectly honest. What interested me about these Chocotini squares is that they didn’t seem to be straight up liqueurs inside. Instead, they’re most like girly fruit flavored mixed drinks. I can totally get behind that.

 

Barton's Chocotini Squares I

Mojito: Heavenly dark Chocolate infused with essence of Mint: The chocolate is nice dark color and smells of an Andes mint with a fresh mint/peppermint aroma. The square breaks easily and shows a lightly green fluffy center. The mint is very punchy with nice fresh notes and a clean mouth feel, complimented nicely with the dark chocolate which has nice notes of red berries, cream and coffee. There’s a bit of a “burn” to this in the end and aftertaste, which is nice effect.

Black Raspberry: Heavenly dark chocolate 60 percent Cacao infused with essence of Raspberry: Lighter in color than the Mojito and smells faintly of raspberry with notes of flowers and perfume. The break is harder and the center is grainy feeling. The flavor is lacking, as I get a sweetness from the chocolate and this bitter artificial berry flavor that isn’t strong, yet does nothing to hide the bland chocolate.

Pomegranate: Luscious milk chocolate infused with essence of pomegranate:  A nice creamy brown color and smells sweet with a hint of cherry. The center is purple and creamy looking. The flavor is terribly sweet, with the milk chocolate and the filling both making for a real explosion in the mouth. The center’s taste is fruity of blackberries and cherries. None of it is tart, and I do associate tartness with pomegranates. The effect of the texture, which is terribly creamy and smooth, and the light flavors reminds me of black cherry ice cream.

Strawberry Lemonade: Luscious Milk Chocolate infused with essence of Strawberry and Lemon: Smells tartly of lemon and I’m reminded of those dry lemonade mixes that you buy in plastic tubs. The center is creamy like all the others and is a jarring bright carton pink color. The flavor is first the creamy milk chocolate, followed by a red berry and strawberries taste that’s married to the tart, bitter, metallic lemonade flavor which makes your throat burn. It’s very zesty and acidic, and it does mimic lemonade well, just as a combination with chocolate I’m not sure I’m a fan.

These were a fun experiment of flavors, but I’m not totally sold on them. I got no real buzz from any alcohol, and the pieces didn’t have any ingredients list so I can’t officially say if there’s any in these or not. Regardless, they were pleasant, but nothing I’d specifically return to. Maybe if I drank more martinis I’d appreciate them, but I’m not that kind of gal.

Rating: Might Eat Again

 

Might Eat Again

Links Barton’s Website


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