November 22, 2011

Vosges Haut Chocolat Coupon for my Readers!

Do you want to try all the fabulous Vosges products I've reviewed here on the Chocolate Blog?  Well, I've got something for you!  The good people at Vosges Haut Chocolat have given me a coupon code to share with my readers.  Just enter "VosgesFriend" for 15% off any purchases from now until December 31, 2011.  Happy Holidays!

November 15, 2011

Vosges Holiday Truffle Collection

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I was lucky enough to be sent a box of Vosges' Holiday Truffles to sample for review here on the Chocolate Blog.  Vosges has long been one of my favorite chocolate shops and these truffles really lived up to my expectations.

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First of all, these truffles are pretty -- from the beautifully tempered chocolate and decorations on the top of each truffle, to the box tied up with a purple bow. The box contains four different truffles:

Eggnog and Jamaican Rum -- This was my absolute favorite, sweet with a spicy warmth.  The white chocolate pairs beautifully with the nutmeg and ginger, and hint of rum in the background.  The filling is smooth and creamy and the Dominican Republic white chocolate melts beautifully.

Peppermint Candy Cane -- A wonderful holiday flavor uniting dark, chocolate with peppermint.  Slightly floral with a deep chocolate flavor.

Marrone Pistacchio -- Italian chestnuts & Sicilian pistachios with deep milk chocolate.  Rich, smooth and nutty.  The flavors of fresh cream and chocolate shine through.

Holiday Plum Pudding -- A fruity confection which combines plum, Armagnac, marzipan and dark chocolate.  The dark chocolate here enhances the fruit and tempers it's sweetness.  A hint of booze elevates this truffle without being overwhelming.

I loved all four of these truffles and think they would make a great gift for any chocolate lover on your list.  And if truffles aren't your thing, I highly recommend their holiday chocolate bars, which I reviewed last year.

October 27, 2011

Ghirardelli Intense Dark Toffee Interlude

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Ghirardelli sent me some of their Intense Dark chocolate bars to sample and today I'm going to share my thoughts on their Toffee Interlude bar.

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The Toffee Interlude bar is dark chocolate with toffee bits and caramelized almonds.  As you can see, the bar is well tempered and nicely molded with the Ghirardelli logo on each square.  The thin, square sections include a generous ammount of small bits of almond and toffee.  The chocolate is bold, with a lot of fruit and a bit of tabacco at the finish.  The melt is smooth and satisfying.  I like the inclusion of the toffee and almonds which give it some nice texture and a hint of burnt sugar.

Through the end of the year, Ghirardelli has a promotion where they will donate to the National Breast Cancer Foundation when you enter a code found in specially marked boxes. 

Learn more at the Ghirardelli website.

June 27, 2011

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Bar -- Caramel with Black Sea Salt

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While at my favorite grocery store a few weeks ago, I spotted a couple of fancy new bars.  I had to pick up one of each for review here.  The first bar is a 70% dark chocolate filled with black sea salt caramel.

The bar here is rather small at 3 oz. but the price was right ($2 if I remember correctly) and small is good in this case because the caramel filling is very fluid -- completely leaking out when the first square is broken off.  It's a bar best eaten in one sitting.

The chocolate is a good quality -- creamy and well tempered without any strong flavors.  The caramel tastes of cream and lightly caramelized sugar with a salty edge.  A little less flavorful than I usually like -- more dulce de leche than burnt sugar.  A sprinkling of sea salt on the back of the bar gives a hint of crunch and enhances the flavor of the chocolate.

All in all, a very nice bar at a very good price. 

June 22, 2011

Romanicos Chocolate

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Romanicos Chocolate recently sent me some of their bars and confections to sample, which I was happy to do since they are very allergen aware and clearly label which of their products are gluten free.  They also included a personal note reiterating that the products they sent me were all gluten free, which I found very reassuring.

Everything I have tasted so far has been fresh, tasty and high quality.  I'll focus on the three large bars here since those are what I've enjoyed the most.

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Salted Almonds -- This bar was a clear winner, as it was the first that I completely finished.  (This is rare for me, as I get quite a bit of chocolate and often don't finish an entire bar.)  The bar is composed of Venezuelan Chocolate (65% Cacao), Honey and Roasted Almonds.  I found the chocolate here to be smooth, flavorful and slightly sweet.  The bar was well tempered and each section was perfectly bite sized.  The almonds were fresh and crunchy and well complemented by the sweetness from the honey.

Salted Pistachio and Nutmeg -- A great combination of salty, sweet and spicy.  The nutmeg gave a warming bite to the bar, but was subtle enough to let the chocolate and pistachio flavors shine through. 

Walnuts & Honey --An interesting bar in which the honey appears to be swirled into the chocolate, but left in pockets here and there.  I loved the combination of nuts and honey here and felt that the overall creaminess was offset nicely by the crunchy nuts.

If you'd like to try these bars, you can visit the Romanicos Chocolate website for more information.

April 26, 2011

B.T. McElrath Prairie Dog Chocolate Bar

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A while back I reviewed the B.T. McElrath Salty Dog Chocolate Bar and today I review it's cousin -- the Prairie Dog Chocolate Bar which my husband purchased for me at an amazing sandwich/chocolate shop in Chicago -- Hannah's Bretzel.

I enjoyed the Salty Dog, but found it a bit too salty -- the Prairie Dog, on the other hand had a bit less salt which made it much more irresistible.  The Prairie Dog is a combination of milk chocolate, butter toffee and toasted almonds with a sprinkling of salt.

The chocolate here is smooth and sweet -- a background for the crunchy toffee and almonds.  The salt brings it all together and completes the salty/sweet combination that is so delicious.

This bar was wonderful and I look forward to trying other chocolates and bars from B.T.McElrath in the future.

 

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April 19, 2011

Dove Chocolate Easter Candy

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Dove Chocolate recently sent me some of their Easter candy to sample and review here on the Chocolate Blog.  I was sent chocolate eggs, peanut butter eggs and coconut cream eggs -- all are milk chocolate, and wrapped in foil.

The Milk Chocolate eggs are small and egg shaped.  They have a very smooth texture, and while sweet, they do have a nice chocolate flavor. 

The Peanut Butter eggs are oval, domed and flat on one side.  The chocolate shell is thick and once again, smooth in texture, although perhaps a bit waxy.  The peanut butter filling is firm and nutty.  Overall, I found it a bit sweet for my taste, but I tend to prefer dark chocolate.

The Coconut Cream eggs are similar to the Peanut Butter eggs in shape and appear to have the same chocolate shell.  They smell strongly of coconut but have a nice mellow, almost buttery flavor.  I liked these quite a bit despite their sweetness.  And as an aside -- my husband, who claims he doesn't like coconut -- had one, not knowing what flavor they were, and liked it quite a bit.  He attributed this to the smooth texture of the coconut cream center.

My 10 year old daughter liked all of these flavors, but her favorite is also the coconut cream -- definitely different and something I would recommend. 

I'm also happy to report that Dove told me these chocolates are all gluten free!  In fact, their representative mentioned that all the Dove Chocolates are gluten free (although I would recommend that you always check the nutrition and ingredient labels.)  So our gluten free household is very happy to be able to sample these Easter treats.

March 30, 2011

Gail Ambrosius Parisian Praline Collection

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I was recently contacted by Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier in Madison, WI because she wanted to send me her latest truffle collection -- The Parisian Praline Collection.  I had been sent some of her truffles for review last year and thought they were wonderful, so I was happy to be sent this new collection for review.

The collection consists of four different truffles, all molded and with dark chocolate shells.  The flavors are inspired by the chocolate shops of Paris. I sampled three of the four flavors (I would have happily sampled the fourth, but it was not gluten free.)  All the chocolates were beautiful, well tempered, had a lovely thin chocolate shell and were very fresh.

Pecan -- This truffle contains pecan butter, candied toasted pecans, applewood-smoked sea salt and milk and dark chocolate.  This was my absolute favorite and I could eat these every day!  The pecans were fresh, very flavorful and nutty.  The salt was subtle and really brought out the flavor of the chocolate and the overall texture was crunchy and almost flaky.  This was not a sweet truffle, but rather beautifully balanced.

Pistachio Bomb -- A wonderful combination of sweet and spicy -- lime zest, white chocolate, chili verde salt and a whole toasted pistachio make up the filling here.  Fresh, tangy and with the perfect hint of heat.  This truffle was a close second for me.

Orange Almond -- A much more solid filling, this truffle consists of crushed candied almond, marzipan, chopped orange peel and spices.  The solid center is nutty, with a hint of orange and a background of warm spice.  A lovely addition to the collection.

The only flavor I did not sample was the Hazelnut, which has a center of hazelnut butter, crushed buckwheat crepes and milk chocolate.  I'm sure this one would have been a hit with me!

This collection is wonderful and all pieces I sampled were beautifully made and wonderfully fresh and flavorful.  You can read more about this collection at the Gail Ambrosius website.

March 24, 2011

Daily Gourmet Chocolate Offer

By a strange conicidence, Daily Gourmet has an offer up for New Tree Chocolate, which I just reviewed.  They saw my review and contacted me, and now I have a giveaway for you!

Leave a comment on my blog and sign up over at Daily Gourmet -- if you are one of the first five people to do so, I will send you a code for $5 off a set of 5 New Tree chocolate bars, including the Lavender bar I recently reviewed.

 

March 18, 2011

New Tree Lavender Tranquility Milk Chocolate Bar

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New Tree recently sent me some chocolate bars to sample and review, and I'm happy to say that a couple of them were marked as gluten free.  The first of these is the Lavender Tranquility bar which is milk chocolate with natural lavender flavor and natural lime blossom extract. 

The bar is quite pretty, shiny, well-tempered and the perfect thickness.  Each square breaks off easily and is perfectly sized to eat in a single bite.  The milk chocolate melts quickly and is has a slight texture, not exactly gritty, but not perfectly smooth.  The mouthfeel is somewhat thick and slightly sticky.

The flavor here is surprising!  I have had lavender chocolate before and always found it overwhelmingly floral -- almost like soap.  Here the taste is more herbal, and while I have no idea what lime blossom extract is, I certainly think it must be what gives this bar it's bright, citrusy note.  The citrus cuts the floral taste of the lavender and makes this an especially pleasant bar.

You can find out more about New Tree at their website.