Posts Tagged ‘February’

chocolatey

Photo from Tcho. Click on the pic to go there.

About Pure Notes Dark Chocolatey 70%:

TCHO PureNotes™ exquisite dark chocolates are the purest expression of the cacao bean itself. As with wine, what you taste is precisely, and only, what’s in the bean. There are no added flavorings, only pure dark chocolate.

About Mokaccino Serious Milk + Blue Bottle Coffee:

Warm, roasted nuttiness and complex dried fruit notes from freshly roasted Blue Bottle coffee blend seamlessly with the dense caramel and cocoa notes in our SeriousMilk chocolate. Named Best Flavored Milk Chocolate in America by the International Chocolate Awards.

Both these bars were in my February Love with Food box.

In my February Love With Food box, I received two squares of chocolate.  The first is a dark chocolate square:  Pure Notes Dark Chocolatey 70%.  This is an intense dark chocolate.  A nice snap.  I allowed the chocolate to melt on my tongue a little and I could taste notes of rich, dark fudge, reminiscent of a rich, creamy fudge that you might have drizzled over your ice cream in the really good ice cream parlors.  I could also taste roasted notes, like a roasted nutty flavor.

This dark chocolate square reminded me a little bit of a really, really good Fujian black tea – rich, malty and even a little caramel-y.  So much complexity within the layers of this chocolate.

mokaccino

Photo from Tcho. Click on the pic to go there.

The second square is a milk chocolate with coffee square:  Mokaccino Serious Milk + Blue Bottle Coffee.  Now, normally, I frown at coffee flavored things, but, this chocolate bar is quite yummy.  I could happily devour one or more of these chocolate squares daily.  The coffee notes bring out something extra in the chocolate, and it becomes a very full, rich, decadent flavor for the palate.  Sweet, creamy, and indulgent … and reminds me of those mocha drinks I used to love but can no longer drink because I realized that coffee consumption causes me to feel sick a few hours later.  Fortunately, I didn’t feel that way after I ate this chocolate square … the only thing I felt a little later is a desire that I had more chocolate!

My Final Thoughts:

These chocolate bars from Tcho were amazing.  Then again, when is chocolate not amazing?  But these were really, really good.  The next time you’re looking for really, really good chocolate, you won’t go wrong with Tcho.

My box from Knoshy actually arrived a few days ago.  This month’s theme is “Movie Night” and while I love the theme … some of the items in the box are curious choices for the theme.  I can see the connection with two of the items … the other two have left me wondering!

???????????????????????????????The first item that makes sense to me:  Parmesan & Rosemary flavored Microwave Popcorn from Quinn Popcorn.  I mean, who doesn’t want popcorn when watching a movie?  I’ve tried the Vermont Maple & Sea Salt Popcorn from this company, so I was really excited to try this flavor.

The second item that makes sense:  Pop Corn Pop chocolate bar from Chuao Chocolate.  Again … popcorn!  And of course, a candy bar is always a welcome treat at the movies!  I’ve tried at least one or two flavors from Chuao Chocolatier, and they are the producers of one of my very favorite chocolate bars (the firecracker bar!) so I’m thrilled to be able to try something else from them.

The next item in the box is a Basket o’ Marionberries from Willamette Valley Confectionery.  Now, don’t get me wrong – I LOVE these things.  I’ve tried them before, and I was thrilled to find them in my box this month, but, what do they have to do with Movie Night?  I guess candy is something yummy to eat at the movies?  I don’t really get a clear connection, but I’m happy to be have these yummy confections again, so I’m not complaining.

The last item in this month’s box is a “footlong” marshmallow from Quin Candy.  The flavor of the marshmallow is Water Avenue Coffee – meh.  OK.  I’m not a fan of coffee, and I don’t get how a coffee flavored marshmallow has any connection with Movie Night at all.  After perusing the Quin Candy website (I love that this company is LOCAL!) I found a couple of candies that would be more in keeping with the Movie Night Theme, like perhaps Cherry Cola Gumdrops (soft drink at the movies?  Yes!  Coffee at the movies?  No!)  or how about Popcorn Caramels?  (Yeah, it would be probably really beating the popcorn thing into the ground.)

Oh well, I like hand crafted marshmallows, so I’ll give ’em a try.  A coffee flavored marshmallow should be tasty in a hot chocolate, right?  And I’m really excited about the other products in this month’s box!

greatbeanchocolate

Photo from Knoshbox.
Click on the pic to go there.

Product Description:

Great Bean is on a mission to deliver the highest possible state of wellbeing through raw, organic chocolate. After working as a professional chocolatier in Austin, Texas, founder Nora Hamerman became well known throughout town for her creations. In 2012, she set out to create an innovative, healthy, and environmentally-conscious chocolate company. Great Bean chocolate was born to nourish, indulge, and regenerate.

I received this bar of chocolate in my February Knoshbox.

Tea Suggestion:

I like eating chocolate bars with a cup of pure black tea, preferably one with a natural chocolate-y tone to it.  However, because of the lovely notes of cinnamon in this tea, I thought that I’d select a tea with a slightly spicy intonation, like this Grand Yunnan Imperial from Le Palais de Thés.  It was an excellent pairing,  I like the way the warmth of the tea brought out some of the deeper flavors of the chocolate bar, and the sweet fruit notes of the tea accentuated the flavor of the fig in the confection.

What I Think:

It’s chocolate!  OK, I’ve got a confession … I tend to ‘hoard’ my gourmet chocolate bars that I receive in these boxes for times when I really need … good chocolate.  That’s why … I haven’t reviewed this chocolate bar until now.

This is really yummy.  I am not always as excited about raw chocolate as I am for roasted chocolate, because the roasting of the cacao bean brings out some really lovely flavors in the chocolate.  But the combination of the fig, cinnamon and herbs really works to the raw chocolate’s advantage, I think.

There is a really sharp snap to the dark chocolate. The cinnamon melds beautifully with the chocolate to give it a warm flavor … something that I think would be “lacking” in the raw chocolate otherwise.  The cinnamon sort of gives this candy bar that sort of warmth that it needs.  In addition to the herbs I taste sea salt and of course – the fig!  I love the fig in this bar!  It adds a neat texture that is chewy and the seeds of the fig crackle in my mouth!  And it’s sweet and really quite yummy.

My Final Thoughts:

The bar is not overly sweet, it is a good balance of bitter and sweet flavors.  There is a really nice depth of flavor to this bar … it’s a delicious, multi-dimensional candy bar.  It is at once bitter, sweet, salty, and just … INTERESTING to eat!

And I’m in love with the food that was sent in my February Love with Food box!

???????????????????????????????This month’s theme is “Sweet and Spicy Valentine’s Day” and they sent me some amazing treats in my box!

Included in this month’s box is a pouch of BobbySue’s Nuts (which I immediately opened and devoured, since I have already tasted and reviewed these yummy salty-sweet-gently spiced nuts!  I was so happy to have these in this box, because they are SO good!)  Also in this month’s box are:

  • two Truffle Piglets from Hagenborg Chocolates
  • Chocolate Madeleines from Donsuemor
  • Fruit Snacks from Funny Face
  • Jer’s Squares Chocolates
  • Pico de Gallo Bean & Rice Chips from Beanfields
  • Nektar Honey Crystals from Nektar Naturals
  • Tomato Basil Sipping Broth from Millie’s Savory Teas (This sounds like one very interesting “tea” blend – I can’t wait to try it!) 

There you have it, a stunning list of goodies from Love with Food.  This is the last month of my pre-purchased subscription that I got through my friend’s Groupon account, so, I’ve been considering whether or not I wanted to cancel this subscription … but, after receiving this box stuffed full of amazing goodies, I’ve decided I’m going to keep this subscription!  Yay!

Watch for reviews of each of these items.  I’ll probably be reviewing the tea broth on the SororiTea Sisters site … so be sure to check that site out as well for that review!

Product Description:

Positively addictive, these chewy caramels are made from coconut palm sugar, then topped with puffed brown rice. The decadent, rich caramel is dipped in bittersweet chocolate, and finished with a delicate dusting of sea salt. It’s no wonder these handmade bars have a cult following.

Learn more about Kika’s Treats on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

As with most chocolate-y, caramel-y confections, I recommend selecting a black tea to enjoy with this treat.  I selected this Bolivian Whole Leaf Black Tea from KTeas to drink while tasting this candy, and it was the perfect choice.  The deep caramel-y flavors of the tea complemented the sweetness of the candy without adding a more cloying taste to the palate.  Instead, it actually seemed to refresh and cleanse the palate.  Delightful!

What I Think:

WOW!

Let me say that again:  WOW!

These are amazing!  I’m not at all surprised to see that these were voted the Best Caramels at San Francisco’s Chocolate Salon.  (As an aside, I think that I really need to attend this Chocolate Salon)

What really surprised me with my first bite was the crispy puffed brown rice.  Having not read the description of these caramels before taking a bite, it was a pleasant surprise to discover the crackly crunch of rice “crispies” in this confection.

The bittersweet chocolate is just a thin shell of chocolate, but, it provides the perfect ratio of bitterness to the candy.  I really like the balance of tastes.  Yes, it is sweet, but it is also salty with just a hint of bitter from that chocolate.  One confection tastes neither too sweet or salty or bitter, but, it is sweet enough to satisfy the sweet tooth after just one confection.

The caramel is made from coconut palm sugar, and while I don’t taste a lot of coconut influence in the overall confection, I can taste a hint of coconut there.  The texture of the caramel is slightly hard to the tooth when I first bite into the candy, but it quickly gives way and becomes chewy and softer.

I think what I’m enjoying most about these chocolates is that they possess not only a delicious balance of contrasting flavors but also contrasting textures, from the snap of the chocolate to the chewy caramel and crispy rice and crunch of the salt on top … these little squares are packed full of flavor.

My Final Thoughts:

These caramels are really delicious.  I don’t know that I like them better than my beloved Fran’s Caramels, but Kika certainly could give Fran a run for her money!  I like that this isn’t made from corn syrup (yeah, I know that they say “sugar is sugar” but I like it when I find a candy company that uses alternative sweeteners).  Not only does my sweet tooth approve, but somehow, I’m able to rationalize that these are better for me than the average candy bar, and I appreciate that.

 

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:  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!