Holiday Chocolates

Holiday Chocolates
Holiday Chocolates -beats cookies any day!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Green & Black's Cherry

I cannot buy these anymore. I just ate the entire bar in one sitting - and it ain't no dainty-sized bar! This is a 60% dark chocolate bar with whole, dried cherries in it. Now I know I said somewhere on this blog that I am not a big fan of fruit in my chocolate, but next to the Amadei this is a winner. The tartness and chewiness of this bar makes it a gobble-up bar. It is a 100 g. bar, so if you have no self-discipline, only buy this if you have supervision, i.e. someone to share it with. This is just one of many in the Green & Black line of chocolate. It should be accessible in most places, so if you don't find this brand, ask for it. It is not expensive and all markets everywhere could benefit tremendously from carrying this line!
If you love the cherry and chocolate combo, this bar is for you! Seek it out, ask for it politely, demand it firmly, whatever you have to do. Just get it!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tom & Sally's Organic Skinny Bar

This is brilliant marketing. Call a chocolate bar a "skinny" bar and you know people are going to snatch them up! After all, isn't that just about everyone's dream? To eat chocolate and get skinny?? Well, of course the "skinny" in this product relates to the fact that it is a small, 40 g. bar and only has about 175-200 calories per bar. The "Skinny Bars" come in many flavors and I chose the 78% Belgian with Ethiopian coffee. It was quite nice. It had bits of finely ground coffee in it which gave it a "gritty" texture, but not at all in a bad way. This is a great "chewing" chocolate, with the coffee grounds lending extra texture. I found that it was not too strong from either the cacao or the coffee and would most likely make a great afternoon "pick-me-up" or a good breakfast for those of you taking the "red-eye" flights across the country.
Tom & Sally's is a small chocolate company from Brattleboro, Vermont - practically in my own back yard. They offer tours of their factory and you can bet I'm going on one soon!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Procuring Chocolate

It has come to my attention by a few of my readers that not everyone has easy-access to good chocolate! SHOCK! This is a situation that really ought to be remedied. Every town in America should have a good chocolate shop, although I'm sure the Obama Administration has bigger fish to fry right now so I'm not even going to bring it up.
However, there is a lot you can do for yourself right from your very own lap-top. My chocolate shop, Chocolate Now, in Hanover, NH ships all over the country, and it is also where I buy most of the chocolate I write about on this blog. So if there is something you would really like to try but can't find anywhere near you, please click on the Chocolate Now link below. If there is something you want but do not see on their website, give them a call. They most likely have it in stock and can ship it right out to you.
Of course, you can also go directly to the websites of the individual chocolate companies, but compare prices. Sometimes you get a better deal from Chocolate Now than from the chocolate company itself!

Valentine's Day

A state-sanctioned day of chocolate indulgence, Valentine's Day is every chocoholic's favorite holiday. You don't even have to have a lover, as long as you have a box of chocolates! I am spending this Valentine's Day with a few very good friends and a lot of chocolate. First come the fresh strawberries dipped in milk chocolate (38.5%). Then come the hand-made truffles made specially for me by Mike at my chocolate shop. If my friends can keep up with me (not likely) I might treat them to a nibble of my three other Domori bars. All to be finished off by a nice dish of locally made coffee ice cream. I will feed them a meal first, I promise, but I am far more excited about the chocolate than the meal.
Happy Valentine's Day to all and to all much chocolate!

Domori - PuertoMar 75%

Another Italian chocolate. I just stumbled upon this one today as I went to pick up my pre-ordered truffles for Valentine's Day. The Domori line is a new addition to my local chocolate shop. I bought the entire set - a nice little Valentine's Day, red-bow wrapped package of four single-origin chocolate bars. These are small, 25 g. bars and, of course, they are not inexpensive. However, this Puertomar bar is the epitome of "this must be European" chocolate. It is the smoothest thing ever, like velvet, with a sweetness that is nicely balanced with the dark bitter cacao, and a touch of acidity. It is truly a work of art. Domori makes its chocolate from criollo beans coming from plantations in Venezuela. Most chocolate these days is from either forrestero (usually African) or trinitario (usually Central or South American) beans, both cultivars of which can withstand differences in climate and are fairly disease resistant. Criollo is considered to be difficult to manage, having low resistance to disease and climate changes. However, chocolate made from criollo is incredibly smooth and well rounded. Many people consider criollo the best cacao bean choice, but it is rare and expensive to procure. So whenever you happen upon a bar made from criollo, the package will make certain to advertise that fact. It will be expensive but is a "must-try" for chocoholics.
I must confess that my friend Mike at the chocolate shop recommended it to me so I can't claim total ownership of this beautiful discovery. I still have 3 other bars to sample in the coming days, so stay tuned for more on Dolmori.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Amadei Toscano Red

Another Amadei. This is the only chocolate bar with fruit that I like. Generally I like my fruit and my chocolate separate - with the exception of chocolate-covered strawberries - but this Amadei bar is exquisite! It is 70% chocolate in the nice, smooth Amadei tradition with dried raspberries in it! Dried raspberries are not like other dried fruits, which are usually dense and chewy. Dried raspberries are truly dry and crispy, so this bar is like a super upscale Nestle Crunch Bar, with crispy, tangy raspberry pieces! The only problem I have with this bar is that I can never decide whether to chew or suck the chocolate. If you let it melt in your mouth it will last longer, of course, and you will delight in the tangy unfolding of the raspberry pieces. On the other hand, if you chew it you will enjoy the crunchy sensation of the dried raspberry pieces. Oh, the choice is pure torture! So you will have to do a little of both. Amadei is perhaps one of the more expensive chocolate bars on the market, and it does not help that they recently introduced more expensive packaging. Each bar now come wrapped and then folded into its own little paper cover with enclosure. It looks lovely but I'm sure it keeps the price high and all that extra wrapping is totally unnecessary and only contributes to more junk in the landfill. It does, however, make a lovely package all on its own for a gift. Between the price, the packaging and the exquisite chocolate/raspberry sensation, Amadei Toscano Red would make a fantastic gift for a special friend.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Green&Black's Milk Chocolate

If you love milk chocolate, this one is for you. This is a very nice milk chocolate with 34% cacao content and a nice, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth feel. I love the Green & Black's line because it is available in lots of places, the most shocking of all being a very dingy, small supermarket in a tiny town in Dutchess County, NY. "Where?", you ask. Exactly. But finding this kind of chocolate where you least expect it is one of the great pleasures in life. If your local supermarket does not carry Green & Black's chocolate, ask them to. It is not very expensive and they have a long line of chocolate from Milk to 70% and 85%, and 70% with all kinds off good things like cherries, espresso, toffee, almonds, orange and spice, etc. Most of their bars come in the large size, 3.5 oz or 100 grams. But they do sell a mini bar in both the milk and the 70%, as well as their Maya Gold, which is the orange and spice flavored one. I haven't tried that one yet, but maybe next week!