Friday, February 24, 2012

Chocolate Reviews, February 21

This week's chocolate reviews!

My weekly tasting this week had a fun theme: Upscale movie theatre chocolates! To start off, we were given a classic Whopper and then a Recchiuti dark chocolate covered malt ball to compare. While I didn't love any of the movie theatre confections, this was a fun theme!

Summary of the week's chocolates: I think I just don't like Recchiuti chocolates very much. And I found a new line of toffee I want to explore (Poco Dolce).

  • Jelly Belly
    • Dark chocolate covered raspberry jelly beans: Tasting notes: Sort of like a more sophisticated version of chocogummies. But, these don’t really work. Dark chocolate isn’t very good and overwhelms the jelly bean flavor.
  • Micheal Mina
    • Dark chocolate caramel: dark chocolate shell around caramel filling. Tasting notes: Chocolate has nice snap when bite into it, shiny, decent. Caramel was ok, nothing spectacular.
    • White chocolate filled with boozy ganache. Tasting notes: white chocolate shell around some sort of boozy filling. Very boozy, but just sweet and gross.
  • Ghirardelli
    • Milk chocolate caramel square: Milk chocolate around gooey caramel center. Tasting notes: pretty mediocre milk chocolate, caramel filling way too sweet and not complex.
  • Recchiuti
    • Malted Revolution: Malt center covered in dark milk chocolate with fluer de sel. Tasting notes: The center is much more crisp than a Whooper. Likewise, it doesn’t dissolve on the tongue in the fun way a Whooper does. The center was far more malty than a Whopper though. The dark chocolate is obvoiusly higher quality than the chocolate on a Whooper, but it actually doesn’t work as well. I didn’t pick up on the fluer de sel at all. This piece was lost on me!
    • Peppermint Thin: “organic Willamette Valley peppermint drenched in our custom blend of 64% semisweet chocolate.”. Tasting notes: This was very thin, with about an equal amount of chocolate as filling. As a result, it wasn’t minty enough for me. The majority flavor was the chocolate, with the filling giving a nice creamyness, but not much more. I haven’t had a York peppermint patty in years, so I can’t compare, but I remember them having much more filling and feeling more minty.
  • Poco Dolce
    • Popcorn toffee: “Fresh, air-popped popcorn folded into bite-sized pieces of our buttery Toffee and enrobed in bittersweet chocolate.” Tasting notes: Nice caramely hard toffee. I could see that there were bits of something in it, but I wouldn’t have been able to identify them as popcorn. Chocolate coating paired well with the toffee. Subtle butter aftertaste, perhaps that was the popcorn? I’m interested in trying their other toffees!

Others that aren't new, but with updated notes:

  • Xocolatl de David
    • Almond & Pimentón: 68% dark chocolate from Boliva. Contains cocoa butter. “Marcona almonds fried in extra virgin olive oil, and seasoned with smoked spanish paprika, and fleur de sel”. Tasting notes: This bar is amazing. Smooth, glossy dark chocolate with a subtle bitterness, with whole flavorful almonds, a nice spice from the paprika, and an amazing salty finish. The tasting experience is incredibly complex, starting with the bitterness and almond flavor, moving into some spice, and finishing with a great smoky, salty flavor. [ This bar is really good to have a small bite of, but it gets old fast. After having it a number of days in a row, I’m pretty sick of it. ] [ After not having it for a while, it grew on me again. Nice smokey flavor. ]
  • Recchiuti
    • Burnt caramel truffle: “Dark, smoky caramel blended with extra-bitter chocolate ganache. Enrobed in pure bittersweet chocolate.” Tasting notes: this was just another dark chocolate with caramel ganache to me. Nothing stood out in particular - the dark chocolate coating is fine, but not particularly flavorful or bitter. The filling is smooth, but the burnt caramel flavor is pretty subtle, particularly the “burnt” part. Would not purchase. Tasting notes (updated): Again, do not really taste the caramel. Chocolate is nice and smooth.
  • GL alfieri
    • Candy cane almond: almond, layer of chocolate, layer of mint white chocolate. Tasting notes: ok mint flavor, milk chocolate layer totally lost, mostly just sweet, nice crunchy almond but almond flavor covered up by sweet.
  • Chocolat Moderne. Valhrona couverture. From New York, small artisan. 61% cocoa content.
    • Avant-Guard Peanut Pizzazz Bistro Bar: Dark chocolate bar filled with salted peanut and milk chocolate praliné blended with flecks of caramelized sugar. Nice - chocolate decent, peanut praline was really flavorful and nice, ground up peanuts in nice flavors. Tasting notes (updated): The chocolate coating itself was not very flavorful or complex, no bitterness nor creamyness. The inside reminded me of a butterfinger, although more peanuty. I wasn’t a huge fan of this as a chocolate bar, but when I thought of it more like a candy bar (like a butterfinger), it grew on me. Tasting notes(more updated): Now that I know what to expect, I really like this. The dark chocolate is pretty decent on the outside and the peanut filling is a nice caramelized peanuty mix. Really, a high end butterfinger!
  • Snake & Butterfly:
    • ginger & nib: 62% dark chocolate, with ginger and nibs. Contains cocoa butter and cane juice. Tasting notes: like their other bars chocolate itself isn’t that great, candied ginger is nice, nib adds a nice. crunch. Tasting notes(updated): flavors very subtle, didn’t pick up on ginger or nib really. Tasting notes (updated more): ginger provides a nice zing, chocolate not that interesting, didn’t pick up on nibs.
  • Neococoa
    • Cool peppermint: nice mint flavor, a little subtle, delicious ganache [ agreed ] [ nice to suck on too! ] [ nice mint flavor, really nice ganache ] [ too subtle, not enough mint flavor ]
    • Crushed Cacao Nib: Smooth ganache, topped with nibs. Tasting notes: great ganche, love the crunch from the nib [ great ganache, great crunch from nibs on top, love it ] [ Nice crunch from nibs, great smooth ganache ]
  • Kika’s Treats
    • Crunchy caramel: caramel covered in dark chocolate with rice crispy crunch Tasting notes: meh, just a caramel. [ firm caramel with rice crispies in it. ok flavors in caramel, crispies kinda soggy, not very good ] [ decent chocolately caramel flavor ] [ decent dark chocolate caramel ] [ again, good dark chocolately caramel ]
  • Hershey
    • Whopper. Tasting notes: Not very flavorful malted center, crappy milk chocolate coating, very sweet. I do like how the center melts in your mouth!
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