Holiday Chocolates

Holiday Chocolates
Holiday Chocolates -beats cookies any day!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Chocolat Bonnat - Ceylan 75%

I liked the French Bonnat 100% so much that I decided to try one of their 75% bars. The Bonnat Ceylan 75% is just one of their single-origin bars. Bonnat describes its Ceylan bar as, "a hearty cocoa taste, yet non-aggressive, a warm flavor with an asian touch." It is definitely non-aggressive in that it doesn't have that super-dark roast flavor. It is sweet with maybe a subtle tea-like flavor going on. That must be the "asian touch" part. I'm not sure I would return to this bar again and again because I prefer a richer, darker flavor, but it does have a nice texture and is plenty sweet and chocolatey for those who need a sweet fix. I would definitely recommend this as a melt-down bar to be whisked with half&half for a spectacular hot chocolate. It would also be a great choice for those milk chocolate lovers who are just venturing into the dark regions. To check it out on Amazon, click here:Chocolat Bonnat Ceylan 75% Dark Chocolate Bar

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Organoleptic - this is the word of the day. I could not believe this was an actual word, but indeed it is. I had never heard it before. It is not a kind of chocolate I am sorry to say. It simply means involving the sense organs. It is written on the back of my Slitti chocolate bar, that yes, I am still savouring. This is how it is used: "This product is intended to meet the requirements of the most demanding and careful connoisseur who wants to perceive from chocolate all the organoleptic sensations that this wonderful fruit can give". Wow. Next time your kid needs a new vocabulary word for English class give him/her "organoleptic". It would be interesting to see if the teacher knows what it means!
Now that I have my handy little Amazon hook-up, I went right on over to their organoleptic department. Sure enough their are several books with the word in their title and they do have something to do with taste sensations, but they are extremely scientific in nature, sort of like people's doctoral dissertations! So it is possible that organoleptic is a bit over-the-top as a chocolate descriptive, but it would make a great name for a new chocolate bar: Organoleptic 75%.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Monetizing a Blog

Well, at long last I have finally sold out - sort of. I still refuse to allow advertising on my blog, which I really do not like! I don't like the lack of control for what will actually be advertised on my site about high quality chocolate. I couldn't tolerate trying to promote a really well made artisanal bar only to have Hershey's go and plaster a big ol' advertisement in my margins! Not that I have anything against Hershey's, I just don't want them using my blog space.
So today I signed up with Amazon Associates so that when I am reviewing a particular bar, I can actually create a link in the body of my text so that you can head on over and purchase said bar! Full disclosure: I stand to receive a 15% commission from any sales linked to my blog. That is not, however, my sole motivation. After all, I do not expect to pay the mortgage on chocolate-bar commissions! My true belief is that if you have a chocolate shop in your vicinity you should always buy there first. If they don't carry what you are looking for, ask them if they will. If they are not interested, hit the internet. Amazon is well known and trusted, and a great place to shop for special deals, so it's a good place to start when you cannot find what you want locally. I also like that you can get a nice photo of the bar I'm reviewing. The blog format I'm using is somewhat limited in what and where I can post links and photos; the Amazon connection allows you a quick link to a photo, info and price on the product I am reviewing.
As luck would have it, my first attempt was a link over to Amazon for the Slitti 82% bar. Sure enough it worked beautifully with one exception: they are out of stock! However, I did get to see a great many other Slitti products, like 60% with Jasmine Green Tea! Wow! I've never seen that before. So while a first attempt at instant access was not exactly successful, it was not necessarily in vain. Use these links from now on to see what other types of chocolates are available from a certain company and either order what looks good or ask your local retailer to stock some of them. I hope you enjoy chocolate hunting as much as I do!

Taking it Down a Notch - Slitti 82%

I don't mean taking the quality down a notch, simply the cacao percentage. Slitti is Italian. It is also wicked expensive - $10 per bar! This is not a gobble-up bar but rather a one-square-after-dinner bar. Or a nice gift for a special friend. Mine came to me as a gift from my loving husband. It is "dark" in flavor, but not too dark, just slightly earthy and gently sweet. The texture is fine but not superb. It is just slightly chalky , but not at all unpleasant. "Chalky" is not an uncommon texture for chocolate over 80%. It is difficult to create a smooth, buttery texture in high percentages without adding too much cocoa butter which has the disadvantages of either diluting flavor or creating an end-product that is rather waxy. So some chocolatiers refuse to add cocoa butter. If you like your chocolate ultra-smooth, you may not like Slitti, but if high-quality cacao at high percentages is your goal, this one is worth a try. Now here comes the really cool part: if you click the following, Slitti Gran Cacao - Italian Dark Chocolate Bar - 82% Cacao you can access this product on Amazon! Neat, huh? Okay, you can probably do that on tons of other blogs and sites you visit, but for me it's a first for my blog! The best part is that even if 82% seems higher than you want to go, you can access all the other Slitti products like 60% and milk chocolate, too! Have fun!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Insanely Strong Chocolate, Part 2: Vintage Plantations 90%

Vintage Plantations makes nice chocolate. I think. I've only had their 90% bar so I can't really speak for all their other "normal" bars. But if they can make 90% this good, the others have to be equally lovely. This is dark and rich with just a hint of sweetness. It comes from cacao grown in Ecuador. It is remarkably different from the Bonnat 100% with its butter and honey taste. This is more like a really good dark-roast coffee that just makes you go, "Mmmmmmmm". One square is really all you need after your evening meal to make everything feel alright.

Insanely Strong Chocolate - Bonnat 100%

That's right, 100% cacao. Some people mistakenly assume that 100% cacao bars must be the same as baking chocolate. A really good 100% bar is no baking chocolate bar. If a chocolatier is going to make such a bar, he is going to use only the finest chocolate at his disposal, because there is nothing to hide behind in 100% - no sugar, no vanilla. Chocolat Bonnat is French, and they make many 70% bars of different origins. So why am I choosing 100%? Well, full disclosure here: I'm doing Atkins right now. That's right, little Miss Chocoholic is trying to lose a few pounds. Truth be told, I'm going to Paris in May for a week and have a long list of chocolate shops to visit when I get there. So I thought I'd reduce the carbs now to make room for the ones on the horizon. The other reason is that I've been increasingly conscious of my sugar consumption for about three years now and that is originally how I got into the higher percentages - the higher the cacao percentage the lower the sugar content. When you start weaning yourself off sugar, what used to seem bitter (70%) suddenly becomes way too sweet. That said, I accidently ate an entire 100g. 70% Cluizel bar that was supposed to be for my friend Tom. I thought it seemed awfully sweet but just thought I'd had too many 99% bars and so wasn't used to the sweetness of 85%. When I got to the post office to mail Tom his chocolate, lo and behold, there was the 85% bar! Oops. Tom doesn't like 85%, so I had to eat it. And now I'm on Atkins. Sigh.
Anyway, I digress. Bonnat 100% starts off and remains unbelievably buttery with a touch of honey. I'm not kidding! I know that sounds all choco-snobby but it really does remind me of butter and honey, even though it is not sweet. I was actually so surprised I had to eat another piece, just to make sure I was not losing my mind like Montezuma. This is truly divine and I will reach for it again and again (got that, Mike?). I did not really expect to like this so much and figured it would go into the melting pan with something else for a big batch of choco-bombs, but I could get used to eating this straight up. A definite winner in the dangerously-high-percentages category!