Alcove Chocolate – Fleur de sel, Red Velvet, and Mimosa

July 21st, 2014 by Rosa

Alcove Chocolate, a So-Cal chocolate brand that has now expanded beyond California, recently released 12 (12!) new chocolate bars. I got sent free samples of the full-sized bars, plus 3 of the flavors in miniature square version (they call them mini tiles), for review. I’ll start with the mini tiles, Fleur de Sel, Red Velvet, and Mimosa.

Fleur de sel dark chocolate was a “64% cacao complimented with natural sea salt.” The thin 1.5 x 1.5-inch square had a sharp snap. It started off slightly sweet, then took on a salty smokiness from the added sea salt. The melt was smooth and only broken up by the crunch of the salt crystals.

Red Velvet milk chocolate was described as “velvety, smooth red milk chocolate layered with flavors of cheesecake frosting and chocolate cake.” It had the same red-brown tinge of a red-velvet cupcake (which, at least in cupcakes, probably comes from food coloring).

The Red Velvet square had a soft break and a thick and creamy melt, as milk chocolates should. It was quite sweet, with cocoa powder notes to start, then took on a slight sour tang. I thought it did an excellent job of capturing the flavor of red velvet cake + cream cheese frosting.

Finally, Mimosa dark chocolate was loquaciously billed as, “the ultimate ‘choctail’… 64% dark chocolate with essences of fresh orange juice and sparkling champagne.” Its melt was creamy but slower to start.

Mimosa tasted sweet for a dark chocolate, with strong citrus flavors from the start. The citrus notes were those of orange oil rather than orange zest – mellow and rotund rather than sharp and zesty.

So far, a tasty assortment of chocolate bars that do a great job capturing exactly what they promise. I can’t wait to try the rest! An OM.

 

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Lindt’s chocolate hegemony grows

July 15th, 2014 by Rosa

Via Emma, news that Lindt, which already owns Ghirardelli, is buying up Russell Stover as well. Lindt predicts that this acquisition will help them reach sales of $1.5 billion in North America next year. That’s a lot of chocolate!

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Lindt Lemon

July 9th, 2014 by Rosa

Lindt Lemon is the newest chocolate bar in Lindt’s Excellence line-up, billed as “dark with citrus pieces and almond slivers”. I received a free sample from Lindt for review.

Alas, the overnight shipping, cold pack, and insulated bag couldn’t stand up to the North Carolina heat, so my sample arrived melted and not as photogenic as it could be. Fortunately, it still tasted awesome!

The dark chocolate had a thick, matte melt that was broken up with a slight crunch from the thin almond slivers. I also came across the occasional piece of lemon zest covered in a grainy sugar.

At first, the bar was sweet. Then, a bright, effervescent lemon zestiness came through, tempered by nuttiness from the almond slivers. It finished with a cool, citrus sweetness.

This bar was incredibly well balanced in both flavor and texture. I loved how the bright fruitiness played off the dark chocolate, resulting in a refreshing treat. An OM.

 

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More cute candy from Japan

July 8th, 2014 by Rosa

Via Kotaku, with a hat-tip to my friend Steve, check out the amazing candy wizards at Amezaiku Yoshihara that make incredible candy art.

 

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Cadbury Dairy Milk Buttons

July 7th, 2014 by Rosa

These British Cadbury Dairy Milk Buttons were a surprise international treat in the free sample MunchPak that I received a while ago and am still slowly munching my way through.

The buttons were little thumbnail-sized disks with a flat side and a domed side. Their flat side had the scripted Cadbury logo imprinted on it.

They were the perfect size and shape to slip onto my tongue and smash against the roof of my mouth. Doing so caused the buttons to dissolve into a tongue-coatingly thick and creamy puddle of milk chocolate.

The Cadbury’s milk chocolate was quite sweet, with dusky caramel flavors amidst the cocoa. As far as mass-produced milk chocolate goes, I much prefer Cadbury’s to the sour milk tinge of Hershey’s.

The buttons were a fun diversion that were well-sized for slow savoring. An O because I probably wouldn’t buy them for a snack – there are better milk chocolates out there, especially if you’re willing to spend an extra buck or two – but I wouldn’t turn them down if they were offered to me for free.

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Chocolate quadcopter

July 3rd, 2014 by Rosa

Via Slate, someone built a working quadcopter (like a helicopter, but with 4 prongs where rotors go) with a base made of chocolate. Because… why not? You can eat it if it crash lands!

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Bocandy sample – Ptichye Moloko (“Bird’s Milk”) from Russia

July 2nd, 2014 by Rosa

Ptichye Moloko was another eastern European treat that I received as part of my free sample of Bocandy, a new subscription treat service that specializes in international candy. According to the folks at Bocandy, “Ptichye Moloko” means “Bird’s Milk” in Russian and is so named because “Bird’s Milk” is a Slavic idiom that means an unattainable gift (when was the last time you saw milk coming from a bird?).

The Pitchye Moloko was a squashed cube (so not actually a cube) consisting of a chocolate shell around a snow-white whipped center. Mine had melted a bit before arriving, so they weren’t their most photogenic by the time I got them.

That chocolate shell was incredibly sweet and a little crumbly. In fact, I caught some crunchy graininess to it, I think because some of the filling’s sugar had crystallized onto the chocolate.

At first bite, the shell was way too sweet and just tasted like sugar to me. After my tastebuds were able to adjust from the original sugar shock and awe, however, some nice coconut and cocoa notes came through.

The marshmallow filling at the center of the Pitchye Moloko was great. It was soft and fluffy in texture, and though sweet, also had a lovely dairy whipped cream note to it.

I hated the first sugarbomb bite, then loved the rest after my tastebuds recalibrated. An OM.

As noted on Monday, you can get a free Bocandy sample if you pay $3.50 shipping. Bocandy is also currently running a giveaway of 3 year-long subscriptions.

Category: chocolate, European, marshmallow, O, review, Russian | 3 Comments »

Hot glue gun, but for chocolate

July 1st, 2014 by Rosa

Here’s a fun new Kickstarter that looks pretty cool, especially if you’re big into decorative baking: the ChocoLazer Chocolate Melting Gun.

I’m not sold on the name, but the idea is pretty cool – it’s like a hot glue gun, but instead of glue sticks, it melts chocolate sticks. The controlled melting of the chocolate lets you make pretty chocolate designs. Looks pretty nifty!

You can check them out in the video above, or at their Kickstarter page. $25 gets you a ChocoLazer!

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Bocandy sample – ROM Cel Mare from Romania

June 30th, 2014 by Rosa

Bocandy is a new subscription treat service (those seem to be popping up all over the place!) that specializes in international candy. I love trying international treats, but they can be hard and/or expensive to come by, so I was super excited to get a free Bocandy sample to see what they’d send.

I got a red mailer envelope with a plethora of treats, some of which I’ve reviewed before (tiny Haribo gummis, Walker’s toffees) but also some new things I’d never tried. This week, I’ll review a couple of Eastern European treats, starting with a ROM Cel Mare bar from Romania.

The ROM bar has a fascinating backstory (covered here by Fast Company) – they once used reverse psychology to up sales by replacing its Romanian flag wrapper with an American flag one. Romanians got mad and protested. When they returned the ROM Bar to its original Romanian wrapper just a week later, sales went up!

My ROM arrived melted (darn North Carolina summers!) but reconstituted itself fairly well into a softly solid bar of chocolate. It had a unique flavor profile – a little toasty wafer note to start, then a very strong fruity booziness that was set off quite nicely by the chocolate.

It turns out that the Cel Mare variety of ROM has a rum-flavored middle, hence the booziness. I loved it! It was just the right amount of alcoholic flavor to be noticeable but not overwhelming. An OM.

If you want to try Bocandy for yourself, you can get a free sample if you pay $3.50 shipping. They’re also currently running a giveaway of 3 year-long subscriptions. Check them out! They’re a candy reviewer’s dream because you get a little taste of lots of things, and it’s way cheaper than international shipping or airfare.

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Is chocolate the way to stop overpopulation?

June 17th, 2014 by Rosa

If you don’t listen to RadioLab yet, you should! They also have a fun blog where they write about things that don’t fit in the radio show. Robert Krulwich recently mused on how chocolate could save the world from overpopulation – people who eat more chocolate have fewer babies!

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