Archive for February, 2011

Where to Buy:  La Châtelaine Chocolat on Foodzie

Product Description:

Peer inside any charming French chocolaterie and you will find Mendiants for sale. These quintessentially French confections are small discs of dark chocolate adorned with candied fruits and nuts enlived with a sprinkling of Camargue Fleur de Sel. Nibble one for Goûter.

What I think:

Well, here it is the last day of February, and I’ve saved the chocolate Mendiants from my February Tasting Box for last.  Hey, what can I say, I’m a chocoholic, and I KNEW I would love these.  No doubt in my mind whatsoever.

And I do love these Mendiants.  They are absolutely delightful.  Tucked inside a clear cellophane bag (tied up with a brown ribbon that’s been printed with the name of  La Châtelaine Chocolat Co.) are two of these beautifully adorned discs of dark chocolate.  Each one has been topped with a hazelnut, two pumpkin seed kernels, a pistachio nut, and a candied orange rind, as well as a generous sprinkling of Fleur de Sel.

The sweet chocolate snaps crisply – a good sign!  The salt offers fantastic contrast to the bittersweet dark chocolate.  The flavor of the pumpkin seed kernel is not very noticeable when eaten with the chocolate, but it does provide an interesting texture to the bite.  The pistachio nut is delightful – nutty, sweet, and toasty!

The hazelnut is also very nice and in the bite that included the hazelnut, I found that the flavor of the nut dominated over the taste of salt and chocolate.  The candied orange peel has a slightly drunken taste to it.  The peel adds a great chewy texture to the bite, as well as a sweet, tangy taste, and is probably my favorite topping on the Mendiant.

My final thoughts:

YUM!  These delicious discs could easily become a favorite chocolate treat.

Where to Buy:  Liddabit Sweets on Foodzie

Product Description:

Sea Salt Caramels:One of our customers’ favorites. We nearly always sell out of these delightful treats, made with fresh local cream and embellished with just the right amount of fine sea salt. Gluten free.

Beer & Pretzel Caramels: These have a cult following all their own. Brooklyn Brewery’s Brown Ale and East India Pale Ale, reduced and stirred into our caramel along with crunchy chunks of salty Martin’s pretzels. Our #1 seller and #1 winner-over-of-skeptics.

What I think:

In my February Foodzie Tasting Box, I received two caramels from Liddabit:  a Beer & Pretzel Caramel and a Sea Salt Caramel.

Beer & Pretzel Caramel from Liddabit Sweets

The Beer & Pretzel Caramel certainly is an unexpected flavor for a caramel – but I’ve been known to love the unusual!  These are amazing!  There is just enough crunch from the pretzel to provide some texture to the otherwise smooth and creamy caramel, the salt from the pretzel cuts through some of the sweetness of the caramel.

Well, I have to admit that I’m not a big beer drinker – as in… I don’t drink it!  Tea is my thing.  But, I like the flavor from the beer here.  It lends a malty flavor and a richness to this caramel.  It’s really quite amazing.

Sea Salt Caramels from Liddabit Sweets

I LOVE salted caramel.  I first discovered salted caramel about five years ago when I visited a small gift shop that sold Fran’s Chocolates.  Their dark chocolate covered grey salt caramels are absolutely to die for.  Since that time, I’ve embraced the combination of sweet and salty especially when it comes to salty caramel.  The salt cuts through the sweetness just enough so that the caramel does not come across as too sickeningly sweet.  The downfall to this is that then, you feel like you can eat more than just one caramel!

This sea salt caramel from Liddabit is one of the best salted caramels I’ve tasted.  The caramel is sweet and rich with a deep caramel flavor, and the salt is just right – it doesn’t come off as salty, and I like that I can feel the texture of the salt within the caramel.

My final thoughts: 

My only complaint about these amazing caramels?  There were only two caramels (one of each flavor) in my Tasting Box!  And now they’re gone!

Where to Buy:  Susan Rice Truffles on Foodzie

Product Description:

Charlie’s Truffled Popcorn incorporates the finest imported Sicilian Sea Salt, Black Diamond French Truffles ($1,500 per pound), and summer truffles with hot-air-popped corn, lightly misted with soy oil to ensure each kernel is substantially flavored. All this for your maximum eating pleasure.

What I think:

To be honest, my experience with truffles is limited (except for with the chocolate variety!) so I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this popcorn.  But I must say, this Truffled Popcorn from Susan Rice Truffles is outstanding!

Even with the light misting of soy oil, this popcorn is not oily or buttery at all, and it doesn’t need it.  And that’s coming from someone who prefers her popcorn with extra butter!   This popcorn has so much flavor, that butter or more oil would detract from it.

It is salty though, but I don’t find it to be too salty.  It has more salt than I would normally put on my popcorn, but, I don’t find it to be off-putting.  On the contrary, the salty notes bring out the other flavors here.  However, if your palate is particularly sensitive to salt, you might find this to be a bit too salty.

There is a savory appeal to this popcorn.  The truffle gives it a slightly earthy kind of taste, but a very delicate earthiness that isn’t fully realized until you reach the bottom of the bag.  That – of course – didn’t take long, because this is so good that I couldn’t stop eating it!

My final thoughts:

Absolutely delicious, without a doubt the best prepared/packaged popcorn I’ve ever had!

Where to Buy:  nutC on Foodzie

Product Description:

Simply delicious sweet and spicy walnuts.

What I think:

Of all the yummy treats in my foodzie taster box, this was the one I was looking forward to the least.  I like sweet, I like spicy, but I’m not a big fan of walnuts.

Not that I dislike walnuts, exactly, but whenever I have something with walnuts, I find myself asking “can’t it be with pecans instead?”

But I LOVE THESE.  I can’t stop eating them!  They start out with a candied CRUNCH and a pleasant sweetness that is just sweet enough without being cloying.  I found myself wondering, as I enjoy the praline … “where’s the spice?” but then Ka-blam!  An explosion of spice hits the mouth.  But, even as the aftertaste is quite spicy, I don’t find myself reaching for something to rinse my palate clean… instead, I find myself reaching for another Sweet and Spicy Walnut!

It’s an exciting contrast of flavors:  a little bit of sweet, a little bit of salt, a little bit of spice, and a whole lot of YUM is packed onto these delicious walnuts!  I can see myself actually CRAVING these!

My final thoughts:

With these walnuts, I can say “I’m a fan!”

Where to Buy:  Marché Noir Foods on Foodzie

Product Description:

Cabernet Brownies made with rare wine flour. Our Brut Cacao is a velvety dance of texture and depth.

What I Think:

Before I received my foodzie tasting box for February, I peeked on the homepage of foodzie.com to see what they were going to be sending out.  I was very excited to see that this was one of the treats that would be arriving in my box.

And I am not disappointed AT ALL with this brownie.  It’s awesome!  It’s incredibly rich and fudge-y, but I like that I can taste a background note of wine.   The wine flour gives this brownie an interesting depth that I’ve never experienced from a brownie before.

The brownie is everything you’d expect from a brownie:  moist, decadent, deep chocolate flavor.  But I like that there is just a little bit of something else too.  I wouldn’t say that there is a strong, distinct wine flavor there, but, you can taste notes that are distinctly wine-like.

I am so glad that this was part of the foodzie tasting box, because I don’t know that I would have tried it otherwise.  I’m not big on wine (tea is my thing) so, I don’t know that the wine flour aspect would have been incredibly appealing to me as a casual consumer, nor is it something I would have searched to find.  But now that I have tried it – I can definitely say that this is something I’d order.  YUM!

My final thoughts:

Truly unusual; truly delightful.  I want more!

Where to Buy:  Olympic Granola on Foodzie

Product Description:

Our Chocolate Peanut Trail Bar combines peanuts, coconut, chocolate and oats for a tasty, healthy snack. It’s the perfect companion for a rigorous workout or as a healthy meal replacement.

What I Think:

OK… I’ll be honest, when I saw this in my February Tasting Box from Foodzie, I wasn’t tremendously excited.  I’m not big on granola bars (if given a choice, I’d rather have trail mix).  Interestingly enough, it was the first item I decided to try despite my misgivings.

According to the card that was included in the Tasting Box, this was supposed to be the Almond Chocolate Trail Bar, but I got the Chocolate Peanut.  A little disappointing, because if given the choice between almond and peanut, I would have chosen the almond.

Oh well… at least this gives me the opportunity to step outside my comfort zone a little!

When I first opened the package, my first observation was that it was very much like a granola bar.  It looked like a granola bar and it was slightly sticky to the touch like a soft granola bar.

But – WOW!  What a delicious granola bar (err… trail bar)!

There is a nice amount of crunch to the bar.  It is a soft, chewy bar (it isn’t one of those hard granola bars you’d find in the grocery store) with the peanuts, sunflower seeds and flax seeds adding some crunchy texture to the bar, while the oats and coconut give it a chewy consistency.  It has a sweet taste, but it isn’t sickeningly sweet.

The chocolate in this is more like a thin layer of creamy smooth chocolate rather than chocolate morsels.  A great improvement over the typical chocolate chip granola bar, as I find that the chocolate morsels in granola bars tend to be rather hard to the tooth and not very “comforting” as far as chocolate goes.  And when you get right down to it, when it comes to chocolate, it should be a comforting food.  This rich, creamy layer of chocolate is soft to the tooth and incredibly comforting!

When I first considered this granola bar, I had thought to myself that it was something that I probably wouldn’t order again.  But now that I’ve tasted it, it is something that I could see myself ordering.  It’s really delicious.

And not only is it tasty, but it is very satisfying to an empty stomach, too!   Really delicious with a cup of tea.

My final thoughts:

This is a granola bar that will change your thoughts about granola bars.

Being a foodie, I was very excited to learn that Foodzie had started a Tasting Box subscription.  Every month, they put together a box filled with samples of tasty morsels from various sellers on Foodzie.  When I saw that it was actually an affordable price (just $19.99 per month), I decided that I must sign up!

My first box was for the month of February.  Six samples were tucked inside, as well as a card from Foodzie detailing a little bit about the contents of the box and on the opposite side of the card there is a map to show the location from which each product hails.

What fun!

My package contained:  Sweet & Spicy Walnuts from NutC, Cabernet Brownies from Marché Noir, Parisian Mendiants from La Châtelaine Chocolat, Caramels from Liddabit Sweets, Charlie’s Truffled Popcorn from Susan Rice Truffles, and a Chocolate Peanut Trail Bar from Olympic Granola.  YUM!

On the homepage of Foodzie, it indicates that Clarine’s Florentines were also supposed to be in the box… they weren’t in mine though.  Perhaps some boxes are different from others – I don’t know. Also, as you can see from the above scan of my enclosed postcard, the trail bar from Olympic Granola should have been the Almond Chocolate bar, but instead, I got the Chocolate Peanut bar.

Other than these few minor discrepancies, this box exceeds my expectations! I’m excited to dig in and start sampling! I will review these items I did receive individually as I taste them.  Please stay tuned!

My final thoughts: 

A great box of Foodzie delights, I’m excited to try them and I look forward to next month!