Holiday Chocolates

Holiday Chocolates
Holiday Chocolates -beats cookies any day!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Black Flower Chocolate - Lavender & Wild Blueberry

I am truly blessed. Today I received a package with two bars of Black Flower Chocolate. The one I am sampling now is Lavender & Wild Blueberry. Seriously. There is lavender in this chocolate. I love the bath. But this is another masterful blend by Black Flower Chocolate: a subtle floral, just enough to let you know that you can indeed eat lavender, yet not enough to over-power the chocolate. And then punctuated by little zings of wild blueberry. I've seen bars with lavender in them and I must admit the idea didn't quite appeal to me, so I am so glad this bar was sent to me. I would not have tried it otherwise. Lavender is never going to be my favorite flavor, but this bar is done very well. I am really impressed with Black Flower's ability to do flavor in an artful and subtle manner. It reminds me of French ganache: just enough to compliment the chocolate yet never getting away from the main point, which of course is the chocolate. Black Flower uses a well-balanced 70% cacao in all their bars and there is mention of a possible 85% bar in the works. I'm really looking forward to that! But I am beginning to understand that 70% is probably the best place to start when flavors are to be incorporated. Just as the flavors should not over-power the chocolate, the chocolate should not over-power the flavors. This is truly an art, and Black Flower Chocolate is well on the way to mastery! I highly recommend adding this small, Vermont-based company to your Christmas-shopping list. These bars would make wonderful holiday gifts! Take a peek here.
Stay tuned for the review of the next Black Flower bar: Espresso Bean & Cocoa Nibs!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Black Flower Chocolate - Artisanal Bars from Vermont!

A new day has dawned: I have finally discovered a small, Vermont-based artisanal chocolate company! This was truly a magnificent find. There I was, minding my own business while strolling through King Arthur Flour on the hunt for another bottle of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla when lo and behold, a little basket with pretty colored envelopes lay before me. What are these lovely little things? I thought. Well, blow me over! Chocolate bars! Artisanal chocolate bars! From Vermont! Beautifully packaged in colored envelopes were 70% bars from Black Flower Chocolate with names like Mayan Spice and Mangosteen Crunch. I took a deep breath and said to myself: they will still be here tomorrow - just take one! I chose the Mayan Spice and then made my way over to the vanilla before I lost my composure and bought the other three: Mangosteen Crunch, Espresso & Cacao Nibs, and Green Tea & Almonds. Yes, I will go back for those, but I did make it out of the store with only the one bar, which is a huge achievement for me.
Black Flower Chocolate is owned and run by a woman in Charlotte, Vermont with a passion for the culinary arts. Her 3 oz. bars are made from Ecuadoran chocolate and are made in small batches and then packaged in envelopes of a color that corresponds well with the theme of the chocolate: red for Mayan Spice, green for Green Tea & Almonds, etc. They are beautiful to behold and filled with exotic ingredients. The Mayan Spice bar is a treat for any spicy chocolate fan. The heat slowly builds, rather than the Big Bang effect of Grace Under Fire by Lake Champlain Chocolates. I love placing a square of chocolate on my tongue, tasting the chocolate and cacao butter, the sugar, and any other ingredients present, and then suddenly: whoa! here comes the heat! There is a little cinnamon and nutmeg in this bar, but it is quite subtle. There are some Mayan themed bars out there that are more strongly flavored with orange and clove, but this one is all about the heat! A definite winner, in my book! This bar is an artful approach to subtlety in flavor with a heat that builds and hangs steady as you go. I am very much looking forward to the other bars!
Black Flower Chocolate creates several other exotically flavored bars, truffles, and fruit and nut barks. Check them out here.