Posts Tagged ‘Dark’

Photo from Foodzie

Product Description:

We love the act of opening a box of Valerie’s toffees, all trussed up with beautiful silk ribbon; it’s almost like you’re undressing it. Inside, handmade rich, buttery toffee, enveloped in dark Valrhona chocolate, beckons. Crunchy, organic California almonds stud the toffee, which is made in small batches, and the whole thing is finished off with fleur de sel for a lingering savory finish.

Tea Suggestion:

While these are delicious enough on their own, everything goes better with a spot of tea!  I chose to pair these toffees with Samovar from Kusmi Tea.  The smoky notes of the tea added a lovely depth to the toffee, and brought a savory quality to the overall experience.

What I Think:

In the Valentine’s Box from Foodzie, I received an elegant little box tied up with a pretty pink ribbon that contained two of Valerie Confections’ Dark Chocolate Toffee squares:  one topped with a whole, roasted almond and one encrusted with a sprinkling of sea salt.

The toffee inside is crunchy and hard, much like what you’d experience when biting in a Heath bar.  But this is WAY better than a Heath!  It is buttery and sweet with a delightful nutty flavor in the background.  What really surprised me is just how buttery these are.  I could taste the sweet, creamy butter with which these were made.

Each piece is enrobed in a thin coating of bittersweet dark chocolate, which offers a pleasing contrast to the sweetness of the toffee.  What I really like about these is how the different toppings change the flavor of the confection, even though inside each square is the same toffee.  The almond topped square brought out the nutty tones to the toffee; while the salt encrusted square brought a compelling roundness to the confection – providing sweet, salty and bitter flavors for the palate to enjoy.

My Final Thoughts:

An immensely enjoyable set of toffees … tasting this treat made me happy that I chose the Valentine’s Box for February!  These were absolutely delicious!

Product Description:

All natural Java Rocks® Dark provide an unpretentious and portable way for the dark chocolate enthusiast to enjoy coffee confections™ of the highest quality. Made with a decadent 72% dark chocolate and fairly traded organic Arabica coffee, Java Rocks® Dark contain only slightly more caffeine than plain chocolate.

All natural Java Rocks® Dark…Curious, yet wholesome. Simple, yet exotic.

Learn more about How Do You Take Your Coffee? on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

It seems a little weird to recommend a tea to drink along with these coffee-ish candies, and since these have caffeine in them already, I suggest trying them with a naturally caffeine-free tisane or perhaps this Organic Decaf Masala Chai from Arbor Teas!  I love how the deep chocolate-y flavors mingle on my palate with the spicy flavors of the chai.  It really is quite a delicious treat.

What I Think:

Of all the delicious goodies that were included in this month’s Ski Lodge Tasting Box from Foodzie, this was the one treat I was least excited about.  I mean, I’m a tea drinker, not a coffee drinker.  I haven’t had coffee in many years now, as I had a big falling out with the beverage when I realized it was the culprit of my late morning nausea I’d experience every day at work, right about 11 am, just a couple of hours after drinking that all-important cup (or two) of the day.

Since that time, I’ve been drinking tea (and even writing about it) and I’ve never been happier.  I’ve not really missed coffee much, although there are times when I happen to walk past a coffee shop in the mall or grocery store and smell that roasted aroma and I think to myself “maybe just one cup won’t hurt.”  Then I remember how sick I’d feel afterwards and that momentary desire for a cup of coffee disappears.

But, one thing I do have to admit, coffee and chocolate do go very well together.  And these Java Rocks from How Do You Take Your Coffee? prove it.  They are yummy little bits of chocolate-y coffee goodness!  They are shaped like little pebbles – but not nearly as hard to bite into! – and they are quite unlike any candy I think I’ve ever tasted.  The chocolate is rich and flavorful, and the texture is at first pleasantly crunchy but there is also a creaminess from the chocolate.

I really like these crunchy, munch-able candies much more than I thought I would.  I’m really glad I had this opportunity to try them … yet another example of why I absolutely LOVE the Foodzie Tasting box!

My Final Thoughts:

The coffee enhances the flavor of the chocolate very well, giving it a depth that is not usually experienced without the coffee.  And I really do like the little bit of crunch from the coffee bean, as well as that deep roasted coffee flavor.  It almost makes me wish I could drink coffee again.  Almost.  The verdict is not yet in on whether eating these little bits of chocolate-y goodness will leave me feeling nauseous in a couple of hours … but I’ll be sure to leave a comment to update you on that!

Product Description:

These super-fresh pistachios are sweet, rich and intensely nutty.  We love them straight from the shell, but encased in dark chocolate, they take on new heights of awesomeness.

Learn more about Fiddyment Farms on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

What I Think:

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Yet another item I found in a Tasting Box from Foodzie that I can’t stop eating.  These are absolutely amazing.

As it is, I like pistachio nuts so I was fairly certain I’d enjoy these Dark Chocolate Covered Pistachios from Fiddyment Farms.  But I was not prepared for just how much I’d like them.

The dark chocolate is a soft, creamy shell that is rich in flavor and quite sweet with just a hint of bitterness to it which offsets that sweetness … making it very easy to keep popping these morsels into my mouth without stopping.  With many treats like this, I usually come to a natural stopping point where my palate sends my brain the signal “OK, time to stop, that’s enough sweetness for now.”  But thus far, I have not received any such signal.  Instead, it is as if my brain is telling me “DON’T STOP … these are magnificent.”

The pistachio is so crunchy and adds a nice nutty flavor and roasted element to the confection.  At first, I didn’t think I was noticing much salt with the nut, but every once in a while, I taste a hint of saltiness.  But this is not the typical sweet-and-salty kind of confection.  That being said, I don’t know if I would want it to be.  It seems quite perfect, just the way it is.

My Final Thoughts:

So YUMMY!  My only complaint is that the Foodzie box came with just 4 ounces of this product, and now I find myself wanting more.  The full-sized package from Fiddyment Farms is 8 ounces … now that is more like it!

Product Information:

For lovers of chocolate with a crunch. The cocoa nibs add texture to the 63% cocoa bar’s naturally smooth flavor. A light dusting of sea salt intensifies the complex flavors of the cocoa.

Each bite has a satisfyingly sweet & savory experience to be remembered.

Learn more about Madécasse on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

Personally, I prefer black tea with chocolate, as the deep flavors of the tea complement the flavors of the chocolate so well.  With this particular chocolate bar, I found the dimension of flavors to be so pleasing I wanted something fairly mild from my black tea choice, so I chose this Neela from The Tao of Tea.  It has a pleasant sweetness and a mellow character, and it highlights the amazing complexity of this chocolate bar quite nicely.

What I Think:

This is one of those chocolate bars that is so incredibly tasty that it’s difficult to stop eating it.  I broke off a portion of the bar to savor, and the next thing I knew, I looked down to see not only that small portion (about 1/8th of the bar) had vanished, but, HALF of the bar was gone!

I’ve never really paid much attention to the cacao percentages on chocolate as far as determining what percentage level is most satisfying to my palate, but, based upon this experience, I am thinking that my personal preference is in the 60-65% range.  Dark, with lovely bittersweet tones, but not so dark as to overpower some of the more delicate notes within the chocolate.

I am noting some fantastic fruit notes in this bar.  Sweet and luscious, but the added sea salt offsets some of that sweetness so that it does not become cloying.  The sea salt also adds a very enjoyable crunch to the bar (as does the cacao nibs).  It has a deep, roasted flavor to it and I like the way the savory roasted tones and the sweet fruit notes meld together to bring a delectable sweet yet savory contrast.

My Final Thoughts:

Truly a beautiful chocolate experience – this chocolate bar is one that I think all lovers of chocolate should try.

Product Description:

Someone once bet us that a caramel couldn’t be made without corn syrup. Being the worker bees we are, we decided we were up to the challenge, so we cooked and we stirred and we melted and we tasted. And then one day… the honey made it happen, and people have been abuzz ever since.

So put your money on honey and enjoy…

Four salted caramels made with Northern California wildflower honey enrobed in pure dark chocolate and sprinkled with fleur de sel.

Learn more about Droga Confections on their website.

What I Think:

I held off on publishing this review since I did recently review the caramel collection from Fran’s Chocolate.  I wanted to have a fresh perspective for these!

And these salted honey caramels from Droga Confections are quite extraordinary.  The caramel is a little harder than a typical caramel, I am not sure if that is because it is made of honey or not.  It is chewy and rich, and the slightly harder texture makes it a chewier, which means that I get more caramel-y flavor in each bite.

And what makes that so important is that this chewier consistency allows me to experience the sweet flavor of the honey.  It is not as pronounced as the caramel-y notes, or even the thin coat of dark chocolate or the fleur de sel, but there are ever so subtle notes of honey in there, and it’s quite nice to have such a pleasant complexity within a caramel.

As I mentioned in previous reviews, I prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate, and that is especially true when it comes to caramel.  Caramel has such an amazing flavor, but, it is often lost because it is (obviously) incredibly sweet, so it can come off as cloying and the caramel flavor is not enjoyed to it’s fullest.  But the sharper notes of the dark chocolate cut through some of the sweetness, and in this case, the salt also helps to cut through the sweetness.  This allows the dimensions of the caramel to be better enjoyed.

Are these as good as my favored Fran’s Chocolate salted caramels?  No, but, I certainly wouldn’t ever turn these away.  They are really delicious.

My Final Thoughts:

Incredible.  I like that I could taste the subtle notes of the honey in these.  As for a tea pairing, I would suggest something robust to add more contrast to the flavors of these confections, and I think that this Assam Sessa Hajua Estate Tea from Tea Licious is perfect.  The wine-y notes of this unusual Assam bring out the depth of flavor to the chocolate as well as highlight some of the notes of the honey.  Absolutely delicious!

In my Stocking Stuffer Tasting Box, I received four different Sun Cups:  a milk chocolate sunflower butter, a dark chocolate sunflower butter, a caramel cup and a mint cup.  I tried each of these at different times and took notes of each tasting so that I could compose one review for all four Sun Cups. 

Product Description:

Imagine a luscious, nut-free, organic chocolate cup filled with roasted sunflower butter or mint cream or caramel. That’s a Sun Cup!

To Learn More about Sun Cups and Seth Ellis Chocolatier, visit the website.

What I Think:

I started with the milk chocolate sunflower butter cup, and it is delicious.  The sunflower butter is creamy and satisfying and nutty, tasting like… well, sunflower seeds.  No big surprise there.  The milk chocolate was quite sweet and even though I’ve a sweet tooth, as I finished the cup I found myself wanting something to help cut through the sweet, cloying taste that had developed on the back of my palate. Delicious (incredibly so!) … but sweet.

Which is why I found the dark chocolate sunflower butter cup much more to my liking.  With the first bite, I noticed that the more assertive flavor of the dark chocolate did mute out some of the softer flavors of the sunflower butter cup at the start, but, as I took my second bite, I noticed the flavor of the sunflower butter coming through.  The aftertaste is bittersweet from the chocolate.  This is really lip-smacking good!

The Mint Cup is really good.  Much better than I was anticipating.  I figured, “oh okay, this will kind of be like a peppermint patty” but, it is so much better.  The dark chocolate is thicker than in the typical peppermint patty, so it presents a stronger flavor.  It is a rich, dark chocolate, and what I like is the creamy mint filling, because it doesn’t taste overly sweet.  Sure, it’s sweet, but, it doesn’t have that cloyingly sweet flavor of the average peppermint patty.  It compliments the dark chocolate of this cup well.

I saved what I thought would be my favorite of the quartet for last:  the Caramel Cup.  Before even opening the package, I found myself wishing that it had been made with dark chocolate.  My thoughts here did not change as I ate the cup, I think I would have preferred a dark chocolate caramel cup.

That being said, this is still one seriously delicious piece of candy.  The caramel is rich and smooth and creamy – I love the texture of the caramel.  It isn’t a viscid/solid kind of caramel; it is liquid, but, not a thin, runny caramel, it is thick enough and has enough body to it to stay inside the cup as I eat it.  In other words:  gooey, but, not oohey-gooey.

The milk chocolate is sweet and delicious.  One Caramel Cup is more than sufficient even for this sweet-toothed chocoholic, because the combination of caramel and milk chocolate was incredibly sweet.  As I said before, I found myself wishing it was a dark chocolate cup, or at the very least, it had been adorned with a sprinkling of sea salt to help offset some of the sweetness.  It is still delicious, but I think it could have been even better.

My Final Thoughts:

These Sun Cups were amazing.  YUMMY!  As for a tea recommendation, I had these four cups at different times (yes they were yummy, but, they were incredibly rich and I really couldn’t handle more than one at a time)… but I found one variable that remained steadfast, and that was a choice of tea:  I chose an Assam tea to drink with these confections.  I found that the hint of bitter undertone to the Assam was a pleasant contrast to the sweetness of the candy, and there were no extraneous flavors to compete with the flavorful fillings of the Sun Cups.  My current favorite Assam (my favorite does change from time to time!):  Golden Tips Assam from The Tao of Tea.

Learn more about Lillie Belle Farms here.

Product Description:

This decadent cup is filled with pecan butter, dark chocolate and Maker’s Mark whiskey ganache. Topped with a large caramelized pecan.

What I Think:

If you’ve read this blog much at all, you’re probably well aware of my status as a chocoholic.  (My name is Anne, I am a chocoholic, and it has been approximately 3 minutes since I last consumed a dark chocolate enrobed bon bon aka the Maker’s Mark Cup from Lillie Belle Farms).

But I’m not totally crazy for alcohol.  Tea is my beverage of choice, and I really don’t care much for the taste of most alcohol.  So, you might be thinking … why would I choose the Bacon and Bourbon box?  Mostly for the bacon… Specifically, the Bacon Jam.  That’s been on my mental wish list for many months now.

But even though I’m not particularly crazy for Bourbon, these Maker’s Mark Cups are tasty enough to possibly make me change my mind!  The “cup” of this confection is a thin shell of dark chocolate.  It is a delicious, bitter sweet chocolate and it has a fresh snap to it.  Inside the cup is a creamy, dark chocolate ganache that tastes faintly of pecans and distinctly of Bourbon.  The ganache is incredibly smooth and rich, and although the Bourbon is a strong flavor, I am happy to find that the other flavors lend a sense of balance to the confection.

And then there is the WOW factor … which is – at least for me – the yummy candied pecan that dazzles the top of this bon bon.  Sweet and crunchy and delicious.  I think that these bon bons would certainly be delicious without the pecan on the top, but with the pecan … it becomes a superb indulgence.

My choice of tea to enjoy with this candy was an unfettered tea as there is plenty of complexity within the confection itself.  I chose this Fancy Ceylon from Grace Tea Company.  A very memorable tea time!

My Final Thoughts:

I found this to be a very enjoyable Bourbon infused chocolate … I like that the Bourbon does not overwhelm, as I have partaken of some rather over-infused Bourbon chocolates in the past.  These have a really pleasant balance to them.  I also love that Lillie Belle Farms is a local business!