Friday, November 30, 2018

Delicitos, Brazil

Delicitos is a snack food manufacturer in Brazil.  I love trying new snacks, so it was no brainer that of course I wanted to try these, when a co-worker brought them to the office.

The flavor lineup is definitely interesting. Spicy sausage.  Onion & parsley.  Cheese.  Barbecue. Pizza.  Pepper.  I tried the later.
Pepper Snack.
"These pillow shaped snack bites from Brazil bring the perfect pepper flavor! They're not too spicy and have just the right amount of seasoning to make you feel like you're enjoying a fresh and zesty pepper!"

I was drawn in to these.  Pepper flavor?  But what were they?  Not chips, but, uh, "pillow shaped snack bites"?  And am I supposed to want to "enjoy a fresh and zesty pepper"?
Pepper Snack: Close Up.
They were, indeed, uh, pillow snack bites.

Assorted sizes of hollow pillows.  Crunchy, crispy, delightful.  Way more fun than chips.  I loved the form factor, and wonder why we don't have it in the US.  They were wheat based, but actually tasted more like corn to me.

And the flavor? ZOMG SPICY.

Certainly the spiciest snack food I've had in a long time.  Maybe ever.  I adored the heat, and took great delight in cramming an entire handful into my mouth at once to amp up the intensity. They were spicy, but not unpleasant.

Fun form factor, great heat, what's not to love?
Serving Size.
The packaging made me laugh when I read the serving size though.  "2 cups of tea."

Is that ... a normal unit of measure in Brazil?  Or just a translation gone silly?

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Chocolats Favoris, Montreal

During my recent, very short, trip to Montreal, I discovered a wonderful thing about the city.  No, it wasn't the architecture, nor the poutine, nor even the Beaver Tails (sorry, they weren't great).  It was the soft serve ice cream.

Montreal wins at incredible soft serve, from chocolate shops no less, with elaborate high quality dips and toppings.

Like, Chocolats Favoris.  And, La Diperie.  Both were good, but La Diperie was better.

This review is for the former.
So Insta-Worthy!
Yes, I got a ridiculous creation.  Yes, it had cotton candy on top.  Yes, it was blue.  Yes, it was even called a "Kooky Cone."

However, it was good, a fun experience, and I'd go back.


Chocolats Favoris has locations in Canada only, mostly in Quebec.
The location I visited was in Montreal, located in a busy shopping area, right off what seemed to be a main mail.  Outside seating, fairly spacious interior, and decent seating all around.  And generous supply of napkins on all the tables, which turned out to be most handy.
Assorted Chocolate Products.
Chocolats Favoris is a chocolate shop at its roots, with a slew of chocolate products for purchase around the store, including assorted chocolate bars, "crunchy treats" of milk or dark chocolate with toppings, and tons of dipped things, milk, white, and dark chocolate coated almonds, blueberries, pretzels, cranberries, hazelnuts, pecans, coffee beans, and more.

They also carried some cooking basics, like chocolate shavings and drops, and fun toppings like mini marshmallows and cocoa nibs.
Fondue Cans.
And ...  a huge slew of fondues, which I totally would have stocked up on if I wasn't flying carry on only, doh!  I really would have loved to bring one of these home.
Fresh Truffles.
The fresh truffles I didn't even see anyone glance at, but, I'm sure there are times the place functions more as a chocolate shop than an ice cream stand, like, in the middle of winter.

But on a hot summer day, this area was empty.
Ice Cream Menu.
Step one: Pick your style.  Classic or Kooky.  In a cup or cone.

Then, pick your size, 5 choices, ranging from bébé, to mini, to petit, to medium, to large.   Yes, petit is the middle size, and, although this sign makes the littler ones look tiny ... they were not.

Then, pick your ice cream base, from 4 flavors of soft serve (or a twist).

And finally, your dip, from 12 flavors.

And that is it.

Wait, no other toppings?  That is right.  You don't get to pick the toppings other than the dip and the style.  If you go for classic, you get just dip.  If you go for Kooky, you get all their preset toppings.  No mix and match or customization.  Minus a point for this.
Kooky Cones.
"Our master chocolatiers have revolutionized the world of ice cream by developing a wild and decadent recipe for each of your favourite dippings!"

So about those Kooky Cones.

The recipes mostly all follow a simple formula: the base dip flavor, a drizzle of some kind of contrasting colored coulis, a crunchy component, and then a single large ridiculous thing sticking out the side, or many smaller mid-size things stuck on.

And yes, some of these were truly, uh, kooky.  All were quite Instagram worthy.

The maple flavor for example came dipped in maple white chocolate dip, was drizzled with milk chocolate coulis, sprinkled with graham cracker crumble, and then ... had a full size maple cookie perched on top.  The salted caramel version had the salted caramel milk chocolate dip, then caramel coulis drizzled around, and then caramel slivers, chopped chunks of pretzels, caramel popcorn, and maple popcorn all around it.  So 4 crispy toppings, and no one big thing sticking out.  Others had chunks of fudge, brownie bites, pieces of cheesecake, chocolate covered nuts, or other types of cookies (Oreos on the cookies & cream, a coffee macaroon on the tiramisu).

Aptly named?  I think so.  #kooky
Soft Serve Machines.
They have 3 machines, each with 2 flavors, but there are only 4 flavors total, since some are duplicated to handle volume and allow swirls.

When I visited the choices were vanilla, chocolate, orange, or strawberry.
12 flavors of dip
"Introducing the magic ingredient that transforms ordinary ice cream into an irresistible duo. Our famous dippings made with real chocolate are available in 12 distinct flavours—all featuring ooey gooey goodness. Every time you visit our creameries, try out a new flavour to spice up your experience!"

Here you can see all the dips, and they were dipped to order right in front of us.  They carry 12 flavors, with 2 "surprise flavors" that change out from time to time.

You are also allowed to sample if you need.  I liked that they had them so clearly displayed, so I could read the signs, see the colors, and make a choice.

Dips have either a white, milk, or dark chocolate base.  I was limiting myself to white chocolate since it was evening, which made my decision considerably easier in many ways, since my only options were basic white chocolate, cookies & cream, strawberry cheesecake, and cotton candy.  I went for the later, after sampling the strawberry cheesecake white chocolate, and not finding it to be very interesting.
Topping Station.
Behind the dipping station is the finishing station, perfectly set up for the ice cream makers to add on the ridiculous toppings in no time.
Cotton Candy Kooky Cone. Bébé.  $4.38.
"Cotton Candy, Cotton Candy Slivers, Pink White Chocolate Coulis."

Yeah, I went for this ridiculous thing.  I sampled 2 dips, and settled on the cotton candy.  And since the options are either just dip, or fully kooky, and I wanted some kind of crunch, well, the full on thing I had to do.

My creation came with a pink white chocolate coulis, dark blue shards of cotton candy slivers, and a chunk of pink cotton candy sticking out of it, all on top of a candy blue shell.  Oh boy.  And yes, I walked only a few feet away before a stranger, adult, screamed and pointed "Unicorn!!!" and asked if she could take a photo.  And when her photo didn't come out great, she asked me to come back so she could take another!

Anyway.  It was a looker, no question.

So, breaking it down.

Vanilla / Strawberry Twist Soft Serve:
For my ice cream, I was going to order just vanilla, as I knew the dip was plenty sweet, and the other flavors didn't sound interesting anyway, but my server said people really like the strawberry with it. I agreed to a strawberry and vanilla twist, and wish I had just done vanilla.  I don't like strawberry ice cream!  I somehow momentarily forgot that.  Whoops.  At least I had vanilla in there.

The ice cream was good though, sweet, creamy, rich, actually good ice cream, and not just a throwaway under all that dip.  Almost a shame really, as you lose it in all the dip.  But quality ice cream is always appreciated.  The strawberry was nicely done, fruity and flavorful, just not for me really.  Next time: simple vanilla, no need for anything else.

Cotton Candy White Chocolate Dip:
"Remember those times at the fair or circus as you pleaded with your parents to buy some sticky sweet cotton candy? Thanks to my creamy white chocolate base and colourful disposition, you no longer have to simply reminisce bygone days. My delicate sweet flavour will keep your memories alive now and forever!"
And of course, the blue dip.  Since it was a white chocolate base, it was sweet, and, well, it was cotton candy flavored, so, sweet sweet.  It actually wasn't cloying sweet, and it didn't scream out "cotton candy" in taste in any way, as it wasn't just sugar forward.  Honestly, it likely was about the same as the plain white chocolate dip, just, brilliantly colored and marketed.  That said, this isn't a bad thing, which white chocolate is quality, and not just wax and sugar.

The dip however was very thick.  Much thicker than generic ice cream stands with their waxy fake dip, but also much thicker than La Diperie, which I visited the day before.  The result was a softer shell, no snap, less pleasant texture.  And, lots and lots of dip obviously.  If you didn't like your dip, you were in trouble.  I liked it, but, again, not really cotton candy.  I think I'd recommend something else if you are looking for something more interesting than white chocolate.

The pink white chocolate coulis was just more sweet on the outside, truly there for visual only, no distinct flavor from the dip itself.  The shards of dark blue cotton candy slivers also didn't actually add much to the experience, I didn't taste them, nor even detect their texture really.

And then, yeah, the hunk of cotton candy.  Impractical really, but whatever.  It was fun.  And in the way, so I had to just pluck it off and eat it early on.

I opted for the bébé, and I'm very glad I did.  If this was a baby cone ... what was the mini?  What was the small?  Or, uh, the medium or large?  The baby cone was definitely enough, and not a little snack size like the baby cone at La Diperie as I was expecting.  Easily twice the size, so a better value too, as their price was about the same.
White Chocolate Crunchy Maple Pearls. $10.99.
"Symbols of elegance, pearls stand the test of time and trends. These delicate and delicious pearls marry the refined taste of crispy maple with a creamy white chocolate coating. We’re sure that they’ll always be in fashion!".

I also grabbed a treat for the road.

I recently became a bit addicted to Callebaut Crispearls (look them up, but they are used in pastry kitchens as decoration, or sometimes as ice cream toppings, but not generally something one just consumes.  Unless you are me, of course, and devour them by the handful).  These looked like large Crispearls, so I was excited to try them.

However ... I didn't like them.  They weren't what I expected, at all.  Yes, the base was a crispy ball.  That part was what I expected.

But, the ball was wrapped with milk chocolate.  I thought they were just white chocolate and maple.  Milk chocolate is fine, but, just not expected here.  And then the white chocolate.  But ... where was the maple?  I didn't taste any maple.  Not a single taste of maple.

So I expected a crunchy thing with sweet creamy white chocolate coating and decent maple flavor.  What I got was a crunchy thing with milk chocolate coating and what turned out to be a fairly unpleasant plastic taste.

I didn't care for these at all.

Chocolats Favoris Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato