Archive for the 'ZOMG!' Category

Mast Brothers single origin dark chocolate bar – Madagascar

April 4th, 2014 by Rosa

Today’s the last of the three Mast Brothers single origin chocolate bars, the Madagascar, that I bought at Cocoa Cinnamon, a local coffee shop. I reviewed the Belize last Friday, and the Papua New Guinea on Monday.

Wrapper description: “This organic cacao is sourced from a single farm in Madagascar’s northwest coast. Bold, with notes of blood orange, raspberry, and red wine.”

The Madagascar looked quite shiny and broke with a sharp snap. Its melt was fuzzy and with no tongue-coating properties.

It started with rich caramel notes that quickly gave way to an incredibly punchy, bright fruitiness that shone through. It was sweet and tangy – I placed it as passionfruit, though the wrapper notes went with blood orange and raspberry.

I am totally sold on Mast Brothers chocolates. They are pricey but totally worth it – every bar I had great flavor intensity and complexity. Another ZOMG!

Category: chocolate, organic, review, single origin, ZOMG! | Comments Off

Mast Brothers single origin dark chocolate bar – Papua New Guinea

March 31st, 2014 by Rosa

Here’s the second of the three Mast Brothers single origin chocolate bars, the Papua New Guinea, that I picked up at my local fancy coffee shop, Cocoa Cinnamon. I reviewed the Belize last Friday, and I’ll review the Madagascar this Friday.

Its wrapper description: “After harvest, these beans are uniquely smoked. This post-fermentation process imparts incredible flavor; think hickory smoked bacon and aged scotch.”

This bar also snapped, but it broke more softly than did the Belize. It also had a thicker melt on the tongue.

It started off with a great depth of chocolate intensity and richness. As the bar melted, it got darker and even more complex, taking on a hint of maltiness as well.

Again, an incredible amount of flavor from just cacao and cane sugar, thanks to careful bean sourcing and smoking the beans after fermentation, I guess. Another ZOMG! Seeing a trend here?

Category: chocolate, review, single origin, ZOMG! | Comments Off

Mast Brothers single origin dark chocolate bar – Belize

March 28th, 2014 by Rosa

I’ve written about Mast Brothers Chocolate in several news posts on the blog, but this is my first time reviewing their wares. Mast Brothers is based in NYC, so I hadn’t been able to try them until now – thanks for carrying amazing chocolate bars, Cocoa Cinnamon!

I picked up three of their single origin bars: the Belize, the Madagascar, and the Papua New Guinea. Belize is up first.

The wrapper blurb: “From the Mayan jungles of southern Belize, this ground-breaking cooperative farms world-class, organic cacao. Notes of raisin, plum, and sarsaparilla.

This bar had the dullest surface look of the three bars that I tried. It broke with a sharp snap, and not always along its presegmented lines.

The texture of the bar was on the dry side. When I chewed it up, it felt like it had just lost its grittiness, and there was no tongue-coating melting feel. You can see the fine grit along the break in the image below.

The flavor of this bar was just incredible! A brightly fruity punch of raisin notes dominates the flavor profile and lingers throughout.

I was enthralled by how much flavor this bar brought from having only cacao and cane sugar on its ingredients list. A ZOMG!

Category: chocolate, organic, review, single origin, ZOMG! | Comments Off

Ritter Sport – Milk Chocolate with Cocoa Mousse

June 3rd, 2013 by Rosa

Last Friday, I reviewed the Limited Edition Ritter Sport Raspberry and Cranberry Yogurt, one of the 4 Ritter Sport samples that I got from Euro-American Brands at Sweets and Snacks. This week, I’ll cover the other three, for a delicious Ritter Sporty week!

First up, the Milk Chocolate with Cocoa Mousse, a new Ritter bar that I’m hoping will work its way into permanent U.S. distribution. It was revolutionary because, unlike the regular 16 square Ritter, it took the same total area and subdivided it into 9 larger squares.

That change was made to leave the cocoa mousse, or “fine whipped cocoa creme”, more room to be fluffy. As you can see, the inside of each of 9 squares was filled with a dark chocolate filling. It made for a lovely visual contrast against the lighter brown of the milk chocolate shell.

The cocoa mousse filling wasn’t noticeably fluffy in the same way that real mousse is, but it was definitely not solid. Instead, it was something in between the two – more airy than solid chocolate but firmer than real mousse.

The milk chocolate shell was thick and creamy with a caramelly sweetness. The cocoa mousse in the center had an incredibly deep cocoa intensity. It tasted fudgey with a bittersweet edge.

I absolutely adored the incredible chocolate intensity of this bar. It’s a shame that it had 9 squares instead of 16, as mine is now nearly half gone. A ZOMG!

 

Category: chocolate, European, review, Ritter Sport, ZOMG! | 3 Comments »

Madécasse Chocolate – Sea Salt & Nibs

May 17th, 2013 by Rosa

On Wednesday, I covered Madécasse Chocolate‘s Pink Pepper & Citrus bar. They make bean-to-bar chocolate in Madagascar, which, in addition to paying their cocoa farmers a fair price, generates 4 times the impact of Fair Trade.

Today, I’m writing up their Sea Salt & Nibs bar, which brags that it was Best in Show in the Paris Salon du Chocolat. As far as I’m concerned, it was a well-deserved award.

The Sea Salt & Nibs was “63% cocoa, crunchy, & a touch of salt”, with 2/4 dots on Madécasse Chocolate’s intensity scale. It was formed in the same mold as the Pink Pepper & Citrus bar, except its back was covered in tiny bits of cacao nib.

The chocolate had a softish bite with a light crunch from the nibs. They added a great cocoa depth without any of the bitter astringency that sometimes comes with cacao nibs.

The chocolate was intensely flavored. It started off mellow with a caramel cocoa depth, then took on powerfully bright citrus and cherry notes.

Every once in a while, I caught a crunchy crystal of sea salt. The salt brought a brief flash of saltiness while highlighting the fruity notes in the chocolate.

This was another tremendous bar from Madécasse. As corny as it sounds, every bite took me on a flavor adventure.

I am 100% sold on this brand and will be buying more bars the next time I’m at Whole Foods. A ZOMG!

 

Category: chocolate, fair trade, review, ZOMG! | Comments Off

Madécasse Chocolate – Pink Pepper & Citrus

May 15th, 2013 by Rosa

Madécasse Chocolate is a new company to me. They’re “bean-to-bar in Madagascar” and, though they’re not Fair Trade certified (probably due to the expense), they claim that their business practices generate 4 times the impact of fair trade cocoa.

Pink Pepper & Citrus was 63% cocoa, pink pepper, & combava fruit. Combava fruit sounds super exotic, but I think it’s just another name for Kaffir Lime (still exotic, but slightly more familiar sounding).

The bar was prettily molded to highlight that it was made in Madagascar. It broke easily along its scores, but its texture was soft, with a matte mouthfeel.

This bar was astoundingly complex. I didn’t have to close my eyes or try too hard to really focus on the flavors; they came out swinging.

It started off with a deep earthiness, then yielded to a bright, citrusy fruitiness with an undertone of pepper’s just-shy-of-acrid essence (but not its heat). All this for only 2/4 dots of intensity on Madécasse Chocolate’s scale?

I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate in my day, and it’s rare to find bars that pack so much flavor complexity and just so much flavor, period. A ZOMG!

Stay tuned til Friday, when I cover Madécasse Chcoolate’s “Best in Show” winning Sea Sat & Nibs bar!

Category: chocolate, fair trade, review, ZOMG! | 1 Comment »

Bissinger’s Gummy Pandas – Lemon Ginger Yuzu

May 13th, 2013 by Rosa

After I reviewed Bissinger‘s grapefruit gummy pandas, I thought I’d never buy another bag because they were just too expensive ($4.99 for a 4 oz bag). But this bag of Lemon Ginger Yuzu gummy pandas just sounded too tasty to pass up, so I splurged again.

The lemon ginger yuzu pandas had a soft yet sproingy chew that was incredibly pleasant to chomp on. Just enough bounce to keep things interesting, but soft enough to be easy on the jaw.

The pandas smelled strongly of ginger with a lemony citrus undertone, and the flavor profile matched the scent. They started off sweet and gingery, then mellowed into a sweet lemon drop flavor with just a smidge of lemon zestiness.

The ginger flavor was strong and genuine, yet immensely palate pleasing. They captured all the wonderful essence of ginger flavor without its stinging bite, which was perfect for me.

These were unlike anything other gummi that I’ve bought (I know Haribo makes a lemon ginger gummi, but I’ve yet to see it in the wild), which is a shame because they were addictively delicious. For now, totally worth the premium and my new favorite gummi. ZOMG!

Category: gummi/gummy, organic, review, ZOMG! | Comments Off

JinJu Chocolates – Akoya Collection

February 15th, 2013 by Rosa

Today’s JinJu Chocolates’ Akoya Collection came in the same dual-layer swivel box as the Fleur de Sel caramels that I reviewed on Wednesday. The collection consisted of 5 gorgeously painted/airbrushed molded dome truffles in mostly fruity flavors.

Berry Mascarpone was a magenta truffle decorated with red speckles and a brown X. It was a “summer berry jelly layered with mascarpone crème ganache in Swiss milk chocolate.” The prettily layered truffle had a bottom half of white mascarpone crème that made the berry pink of the jam really stand out.

The milk chocolate shell was sweet with caramel notes. The mascarpone crème was rich and slightly tangy, like a cream cheese, while the berry jelly added a brightly sweet top note of jammy fruitiness that was just lovely.

Tropical Fruit was airbrushed with a reddish-orange sparkle and was comprised of “passion fruit and mango with a hint of vanilla, in milk chocolate.” Its ganache was smooth and with a thinly fatty melt.

It started off with the milk chocolate shell’s dusky caramel sweetness, then took on the bright lemony citrus notes and an intense flavor of passionfruit.

Key Lime was an emerald green, a truffle of “fresh key lime juice and zest blended with white chocolate, in dark chocolate.” Its ganache was thicker than that of the Tropical Fruit and had a snappy dark chocolate shell.

It had a great intensity of key lime flavor – really bright soaring high notes of tart, fresh key limes with an undertone of slightly bitter lime zest – and a great finish of bittersweet dark chocolate. My favorite of the bunch for its complexity and balance.

Lemon White Chocolate was a white chocolate shell, airbrushed with yellow, and was described as “lemon infused white chocolate ganache in creamy white chocolate.”

Its ganache had the sweet flavor of a really nice vanilla frosting, then took on a flare of lemon sweet and sourness, before finishing with a creamy vanilla white chocolate finish.

Finally, Vanilla Dream was the only non-fruity one: “Tahitian vanilla bean infused caramel blended with Swiss milk chocolate, in dark chocolate.” It was speckled with white and gold, which looked great against the chocolate brown shell.

That shell hid a smooth and thinly limpid sweet caramel. The flavor was great, slightly sweet with a nutty caramel flavor that reminded me of cooked condensed milk. My second favorite of the mix.

This collection was top notch. Its flavor assortment was both delicious and creative, and the chocolates and packaging had a luxe, classy feel. An OMG for the mix, and a hearty ZOMG! for the Key Lime and Vanilla Dream.

Category: caramel, chocolate, OMG, review, white chocolate, ZOMG! | Comments Off

Ritter Sport – Yogurt

December 21st, 2012 by Rosa

The Ritter Sport Yogurt is an elusive chocolate bar. Its more common brethren, like Milk Chocolate with Cornflakes or Dark Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts, are easily found in many major grocery stores in the U.S., but I’ve only ever seen the Yogurt in the wild in specialty fine food stores, random NYC bodegas, or Europe.

According to Ritter’s U.S. importer, the Yogurt is one of the worst sellers in the U.S. A travesty!

People, it is time to make the Ritter Sport Yogurt happen. Fro-yo shops pepper America’s strip malls, tangy plain yogurt from Greece and Iceland is all the rage with the probiotic set, and Ben and Jerry’s has recently combined both trends in their new Greek frozen yogurt line.

The stage has been set: America is ready to take their chocolate with some tang.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Ritter Sport brand, their bars are notable for their signature square shape. Fun fact: the square design came about because regular rectangular chocolate bars fell out of sporty gents’ sport coat pockets, so Ritter created a fatter square bar that would stay put during sporty occasions. And thus, the Ritter Sport was born!

Like all full-sized Ritter Sports, the Yogurt bar is a grid of 16 smaller conjoined squares. Breaking the bar across one of the columns reveals the “refreshing yogurt filling” promised by the wrapper. Its creamy whiteness stands out prettily against the light brown of the milk chocolate that sandwiches it.

The milk chocolate is throat-coatingly thick and lingers as it melts. It breaks softly instead of snapping and tastes of sweet cocoa with some caramel notes.

The yogurt filling’s texture is a little softer and squishier than that of the milk chocolate. It also has a thinner melt that disappears on the tongue. The filling tastes tart and tangy, like a really nice Greek yogurt.

The yogurt’s tartness is a great foil for the thick sweetness of the chocolate and helps lightens up the treat. Together, the taste is reminiscent of chocolate cheesecake. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it “refreshing”, but since when is chocolate supposed to be refreshing, anyway?

After a few too many squares, the milk chocolate’s sweetness becomes cloying and creates that lovely, sticky sugar-overload feeling in the back of the throat. I’d like it more if the chocolate’s sweetness was turned down a little, but I can’t complain too much. A whole bar contains 135% of the recommended daily dose of saturated fat, so anything that keeps me from scarfing down the whole thing in one sitting is a good thing.

As far as I know, this is the only yogurt chocolate bar on the U.S. market. I wish it was easier to find! If you’re lucky enough to come across one, I highly recommend that you buy it. And then mail it to me. A ZOMG!

Category: chocolate, European, review, Ritter Sport, ZOMG! | 5 Comments »

David’s Signature Beyond Gourmet Jelly Beans Sampler

March 30th, 2012 by Rosa

Three words: bacon jelly beans.

Oh I’m sorry, you wanted more than that? Okay. I got a free sampler box of David’s Signature Beyond Gourmet Jelly Beans (available online from Amazon/Oregon Trail Foods), and it included a bacon flavor. Which I will review last to make sure you keep reading.

The David behind the beans is the David Klein who invented Jelly Belly beans but sold his share of the company before they got big. Like their Jelly Belly counterparts, the Beyond Gourmet beans are packed with flavor in the shell and the jelly center.

I’m going off my Jelly Belly memory here, as I didn’t have any handy for a direct comparison, but I think the Beyond Gourmet beans were softer in texture.

I could easily squish them between my fingers. As I chewed them, the jelly center consolidated into a soft, grainy mush that was vibrant and full of flavor.

Black cherry was sweet and brightly fruity with just a hint of tartness and not a whiff of medicinal notes.

Blueberry did an incredible job of capturing the essence of real blueberries, like blueberry yogurt without the dairy notes and with the tartness turned up.

Coconut was sweet to start, then took on the light creaminess of coconut milk. I didn’t get any nuttiness, but the flavor was pleasant enough, though I felt it was too mild and faded into sugary sweetness too quickly.

Cranberry was sweet and juicy and tart and tangy. I actually would’ve pegged it as pomegranate, as it lacked the tannic bite of cranberry. Either way, it was enjoyably flavorful.

Ginger was incredibly strong and nicely captured ginger’s spicy bite. It was really true to form, like eating raw ginger, and I found it too intense to finish.

Grape went the familiar popsicle route but managed to keep it sweet and fruity but not medicinal (though rather artificial).

Green apple was lightly tart with a grassy note that danced on its edge and set it apart from the standard Jolly Rancher take on green apple.

Himalyan sea salt was a strange choice for a flavor and was weird in execution. It was mostly sweet with just a tinge of saltiness. I was too scared to embrace the oddness and didn’t try too hard to finish it.

Lemon started like a lemon drop with a bright sourness. Then, it took on a edge of zestiness with just a smidge of pithy bitterness. It was wonderfully complex and my favorite of the bunch.

Orange punch tasted just like orange soda. The flavor was spot on, artificial sweetness and all.

Peach tasted like a peach gummi ring rather than the real fruit. It was intense and fruity, if rather artificial.

Pomegranate had a mild floral sweetness, then became tart and tangy with a tannic edge. It had an effervescence to the flavor (not actual bubbles) that was awesome.

Root beer was intense: strong and genuinely sassafrassy with a bitter edge. It was too much for me, but real root beer lovers would enjoy it.

Strawberry was neither mild nor floral. It had an intensity to its flavor, like strawberry jam with an herbal, grassy note to the finish.

Vanilla bean was true to its namesake, mildly sweet with airy vanilla essence overtones.

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for: bacon was salty, smoky, and meaty with a maple syrup sweetness. The flavor was right but the jelly bean texture combined with the taste of bacon was too weird. I couldn’t finish it due to the cognitive dissonance.

Overall, these beans are great! I can’t reiterate enough how vibrant and intense the flavors were – so much tastiness in such small packages!

I could’ve done without the bacon and Himalayan sea salt, but they were attention-getting in their novelty. I’m glad I tasted them, so they don’t merit the — rating, but once in a lifetime is enough for me.

While ginger and root beer weren’t to my taste, they were faithful interpretations of those flavors and get Os, as do coconut and vanilla bean for their relative mildness. The rest of the beans (all the fruit flavored ones) get an OMG for their awesome intensity, and lemon earns that extra Z for a ZOMG!

Category: jelly candy, novelty, O, OMG, review, ZOMG! | 3 Comments »