Sunday, January 30, 2011

All natural chocolate post

A few weeks ago I picked up this bar of Valor, a Spanish chocolate company, at a local grocery store:

The cover is surprisingly deceptive. See those big blocks of caramel? Yeah, I totally thought this chocolate was going to have large chunks of toffee inside it. Now look at the chocolate squares. See those little flecks of toffee? That's what's really in the bar. Tiny bits of toffee. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I was hoping for something a little more... well, toffee-ish. As for the rest of the bar, the chocolate was superb - no complaints there. I guess I just felt underwhelmed because I was expecting more too it.

As a side note, check out Valor's website. I saw the link on the back of the bar and decided to check it out, but I was unprepared for what looks like a porn site for chocolate lovers. "Chocolates Valor: adult pleasure." "Over a century dedicated to the pleasure of working for pleasure." I know chocolate is good, but I honestly thought I had typed in the wrong address when the page loaded.

Now on to something a little better.

I LOVED this chocolate. Despite being a little expensive (I think I paid about $5 for it), the flavor in this bar was incredible. The chocolate was deliciously smooth, and the cherry chunks were bigger than the tiny toffee specks in the Valor bar. It's also comforting to find a bar of chocolate that has only three ingredients, all of which have pronounceable names (semisweet chocolate, cherries, evaporated cane juice). In addition, all of the ingredients are listed as organic, which helps explain the price. If you want to support organic chocolate, buy a Seeds of Change bar.

I was also quite taken with the packaging of the bar. Like the Dolfin chocolate I reviews a few months ago, Seeds of Change comes as a pouch with three mini-bars of chocolate inside.

This helps keep the chocolate fresh, and also doesn't make you feel as though you're scarfing down large portions of chocolate in one go. Instead of eating 1/3 of a bar (which would make me feel guilty), I had no problem devouring one of these smaller squares in one sitting.

My only complaint is that I couldn't really taste the vanilla. Since the package has "Dark Chocolate with Cherries and Vanilla" on the front, I expect to be hit with the immediate flavor of vanilla. Not so. If the vanilla was there, it was far too subtle for my liking.

Valor Dark Chocolate with Toffee: 3.5/5
Seeds of Change Dark Chocolate with Cherries and Vanilla: 5/5

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ultra mega super late Christmas chocolate post

Ahoy, mateys! I come to you from 2011 with a large-ish post of some of the chocolate I've received over the Christmas/New Year's holidays. Hold on to your seats, cause it's a delicious ride!

First up is Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Deep Forest Mint. Remember when I tried the Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Espresso Beans, and it kinda sucked because it was expired chocolate? Well, this time I went to Kroger, which has a much larger ES chocolate selection. I chose the mint because I love a good mint+chocolate combo, and this bar did not disappoint. Usually when I get mint chocolate it's Ghirardelli's Dark Chocolate with Mint squares, which have mint filling in them. In contrast, the ES bar was far more simple: literally just a bar of dark chocolate (72% cocoa) with mint flavor.

And it was great! The chocolate was just the right amount of dark, and the mint flavor was strong, but not enough to make it overpowering. The bar was a little thick, though, so it made sinking my teeth into it more of a task than I would want it to be. But, all things considered, it's a minor complaint.

As a side note, a quick perusal of the Endangered Species website tells me that there's also a special Christmas edition of this chocolate with a penguin on it! I feel robbed!

Guess I didn't save any penguins this year :(

Next up is a box of amazing truffles a good friend of mine gave me for Christmas:

These organic truffles from Whole Foods are absolutely scrumptious; each truffle is a round ball of intense chocolate with a light dusting of unsweetened cocoa powder on each. I can't get enough of these things! Luckily, they're packed with so much chocolate that I've only been eating one or two at a time.

What the truffles look like inside the box.

The unsweetened cocoa powder on the outside and the sweet chocolate on the inside make for a great combination, although it would be a mistake to have any more powder on each truffle because there isn't any sugar in cocoa powder.

In short, if you're at Whole Foods and you see a box of these things, grab one!

Finally, here's a box of Hershey's chocolates someone at work gave me for Christmas:

I don't like Hershey's, but that doesn't mean I won't eat a free box of chocolates. The different kinds of chocolates in here include butter cremes, milk chocolate truffles, pecan caramel clusters, chocolate caramels, and truffles with almonds. I've yet to try them all, but I did have some of the truffles and chocolate caramels and was pleasantly surprised. Don't get me wrong though; I haven't had a conversion regarding the amazingness of Hershey's. But they're not bad - not bad at all. I'd be curious to see how the dark chocolate collection compares.

Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Deep Forest Mint: 4.5/5
Whole Foods Chocolate Truffles: 5/5
Hershey's Pot of Gold Milk Chocolate Collection: 3.5/5