Monthly Archives: February 2007

Dark Chocolate M&M’s

Dark_chocolate_mandms

On that trip to CVS, I was also able to find the Dark Chocolate M&M’s that I had been looking for. I had a buy one get one free coupon in my purse for a couple weeks, but was unable to locate the silly little chocolates.

Upon opening the package, I have to say that they look exactly like regular M&M’s — all colorful and shiney. So I popped one in my mouth and gave it a try. To tell you the truth, I didn’t think the taste difference was that radical. They are a bit more chocolatey — probably due to the fact that there is a tiny bit less sugar in there — and have a slight bitter aftertaste.

It’s definitely nice to see more mass market candy bars coming out in dark chocolate versions and I would recommend these over the regular M&M’s although I’d rather eat Trader Joe’s semisweet chocolate chips straight from the bag , to tell you the truth (Try it — delicious!)

Hebert’s Dark Bananas Foster Chocolate Bar

Heberts_dark_bananas_foster

When I was in CVS yesterday, I decided to take a look at the candy selection.  And stuck somewhere between the Cadbury Cream Eggs and the special edition carmel KitKat were theHeber’ts Fully Loaded bars in some strange flavors (one of the others was Marguerita, I believe?!?).  I picked up the one that looked lease offensive and decided that I should give it a try.  This is how I ended up with a bar called Hebert’s Dark Bananas Foster Chocolate Bar.  Hm.

Now on the front it says "Dark Chocolate with Banana, Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Filling" however in the list of ingredients there is no mention of banana, cinnamon or brown sugar — the filling ingredients are sugar , water, natural and artifical flavor and citric acid.  Hm.

The chocolate did look okay though and the smell when I opened the package was overwhelmingly of chocolate.  The little pillows are cute too — and the individual sections are very important to me, as you may know.  So I broke off one little pillow and popped it in my mouth.  At first you taste the chocolate — not as flavorful or smooth as I would have liked, but not bad.  The layer of chocolate on top is a bit thinner than the bottom and dissolved quite quickly, releasing the bit of banana flavored stuff inside.  It kind of had that artifical banana flavor you get in banana flavored taffy — and I could taste the cinnamon flavor.  As for the brown sugar?  Well, the filling is white — so I don’t know what that’s all about.  It didn’t have any of the molasses flavor of brown sugar as far as I could discern.

All in all, it was okay for me.  I’ll eat the rest of the bar, but I probably wouldn’t buy another one. 

Mine was purchased at CVS and Hebert’s has a website, but I didn’t see anything about these bars there.

El Rey ICOA White Chocolate

Icoa_white_chocolate

Now this is really something — a single origin white chocolate bar.  It’s the El Rey ICOA White Chocolate  Venezuelan Single Bean Origin Carenero Superior bar (isn’t that a mouthful?)  and it’s incredible!

I had heard about this bar somewhere but didn’t have much luck locating it until recently.  I’m always on the lookout for a good white chocolate and this one tops the list, ousting Green & Blacks from it’s spot at the top.  The overwhelming flavor of this bar is chocolate — not sugar or milk or vanilla like most white chocolate.  (I love the G&B’s because of the great vanilla flavor.)  In fact, if you blindfolded me and gave me a square of this I might mistake it for milk chocolate, only better. 

The bar is a lovely creamy yellow and smells like the finest cocoa butter — very chocolatey.  As it melts on the tongue, it is quite creamy and gives off a faint coconut flavor.  The vanilla notes complement the chocolate and the aftertaste has a subtle banana flavor.

If you want to try some fine white chocolate, pick up one of these bars.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

I purchased mine from Chocosphere, but you can also buy chocolate directly from the El Rey website.

Dolfin Chocolat Noir aux Amandes Grillees

Dolfin_dark_chocolate_almonds

Dolfin bars come in a fancy little package — sort of like a laminated envelope that you can reseal.  Fun!  But the chocolate isn’t all fun — it’s quite sophisticated and full flavored.  The bar I have pictured there is the Chocolat Noir aux Amandes Grillees, or Dark Chocolate with Grilled Almonds.  Now I’ve been looking for a dark chocolate / almond bar for a while and this one really hit the spot!

The chocolate is quite complex with smokey, spicey flavors.  In fact, I’ve also had the Chocolat Noir Au Poivre Rose (Dark chocolate with Pink Peppercorns) and I thought all the spice in that bar was from the pepper — not so.  The chocolate definitely has some spice to it. 

I was surprised by the list of ingredients, which didn’t include salt, because there was difinitely a nice subtle carmelized flavor to the bar that registered as slightly salty with me.  It could have been the grilled almonds which were wonderfully flavorful.

This bar was definitley a winner — it reminded me of a subtler more complex version of the Vosges Barcelona Bar which I am always raving about.  It won’t knock the Vosges bar out of it’s top slot, but it’s right up there.

Dolfin has a website where you can find info on all their products.  I purchased my bar at Chocosphere.

Leonidas

Leonidas

This is why there haven’t been any chocolate bar reviews in a while — my husband brought me a lovely box of Leonidas chocolates for Valentine’s Day and I have been devouring them.  I’d love to show you a picture of the pretty molded chocolates, but as you can see — I finished all three layers of the ballotin without taking one photo!

Overall I really liked these chocolates.  My husband choose all dark chocolate since that is my favorite and the fillings tended toward coffee, and other things I like.  Two of my favorties were the I Love You praline which was dark chocolate filled with a nice light lemon cream.   Also very good was the Mystere — a pistachio flavored cream. 

The creams were all nice and airy — much lighter than the usual thick fondant you usually find in a cream and the Pralines were dense and very flavorful (the Moka was quite nice).  I would definitely get these again and am curious to try some fo the Ganache as well as the L’s de Leonidas.  They also have chocolate bars, including an Ivory Rice crispies which I want to try.

Check out all the Leonidas chocolates at their website which also includes a listing of all their shops. 

Art Bar — Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts

Art_bar_hazelnuts

Today we have the Milk Chocolate with Hazelnut Art Bar from Ithaca Fine Chocolates.  While I’m not a big fan of milk chocolate, I did enjoy this bar.  The main reason is that it had whole hazelnuts and quite a few of them.  (There is something I just don’t like about crushed up nuts in my chocolate bar.) 

The chocolate was quite sweet, but it was smooth and creamy.  The hazelnuts were fresh and crunchy and left a pleasant nutty aftertaste.  I definitely want to try their Dark Chocolate with Coconut Flakes bar.

Another nice thing about the Art Bars — they are organic and Fair Trade certified.  In addition, they include an art reproduction on a little card in each bar (you can see the one I got in the photo) and they donate 10% of the profits from each bar to art programs  — The Community School of Music & Arts in Ithaca, NY and The international Child Art Foundation. 

There is a listing on their website showing where you can buy the bars near you.

Phinney 3400 Chocolate Bars

Phinney_3400

I think that to date, Phinney 3400 is my favorite brand of chocolate.  It’s smooth, has a lovely mouthfeel and a distinctive flavor.  I have tried all of their bars except for the Coffee Dark Chocolate and here’s a run down:

  • Bread & Chocolate Dark Chocolate — from their webiste:  An innovative twist on a traditional pairing, featuring dark chocolate with buttery, toasted artisan breadcrumbs and the perfect amount of salt.  My thoughts:  Buttery and salty with a nice crunch that becomes a lovely chewiness (the bread crumbs I suppose).  Delicious and unique.
  • Vanilla Milk Chocolate — from their website:  A harmonious blend of finely ground Madagascar vanilla bean and milk chocolate.  My thoughts:  Beautifully smooth with a lovely greenness to the chocolate.  It reminded me a bit of flaxseed.
  • Chai Milk Chocolate — from their website:  Milk chocolate with a warming blend of chai spices and black tea.  My thoughts — The same milk chocolate from the Vanilla Milk bar (if I’m tasting correctly) combined beautifully with a warm spicey flavor.  The cardamom flavor burst through and the ginger gives it a nice warmth.  My husband tried this bar too and really enjoyed it.
  • Coconut Curry Milk Chocolate — from their wesite:  Milk chocolate with toasted coconut and savory curry spices.  My thoughts — this was the only bar that I didn’t care for.  The overwhelming tast of cumin was just too much for me.  While the chocolate was lovley and smooth, the heat and savory spaces where all I could taste.
  • Nib Brittle Dark Chocolate — from their website:  Dark chocolate with organic roasted cocoa nibs in sweet and crunchy brittle.  My thoughts — This was the first Phinney 3400 bar I had and it knocked my socks off!  It has a rich, round full flavor — fruity at the beginning and and carmelized at the end.  It has an almost cooked flavor — like a brownie — and the nib brittle gives it a nice crunch and a sweet (carmelly) salty hit.  Excellent bar!

All the bars are shiney and well tempered with a wonderful bite.  In addition, the chocolate is all organic and fair trade certified.  A plus in my book!

If you are in Chicago, you can pick these up at Hannah’s Bretzel  (this is where Pete finds me a lot of my chocolate bars).  They are also available at Chocosphere and online at Theo Chocolate’s website.

Café-Tasse Blanc Citron

Caffe_tasse_blanc_citron

I’ve been searching for the Café-Tasse Blanc Citron for quilte a while.  I’ve tried several of the dark chocolate Café-Tasse bars and enjoyed them all — but the white chocolate was no where to be found. 

This bar is white chocolate combined with candied lemon bits.  The white chocolate is creamy and sweet without being cloying and the lemon bits are fresh, chewy and bright.  The citrusy favaor which is a bit sour and acidic works beautifully with the sweetness of the white chocolate.  This bar is bursting with lemon flavor! 

Now I love lemons, so this bar was right up my alley.  I ate two of the little rectangles and will have to struggle not to eat the rest of the bar today.  I will *definitely* be purchasing this bar again and I’m giving it my highest rating to date — a 9!

Mine was purchase from Chocosphere.

Chocosphere Review

Chocosphere_order

Sometimes it’s difficult to find some of the chocolate bars that I want to try (or that I review here).  However, there are places online that you can get these delicious treats.  One such place is Chocoshpere

I’ve looked at their website many times, but never placed an order until last week.  I’m happy to say that my chocolate arrived *very* well packaged and no bars appear to be broken (I haven’t opened any of them yet).  They even included a little chocolate square attached to their business card.

Their selection of chocolate bars is pretty incredible — I’ve been looking for the Cafe-Tasse Blanc Citron and the Phinney 3400 Chai Tea for a while now to no avail but they had them.  And their prices are reasonable.  I will be shopping there again and I feel good recommending them.

365 Organic Dark Chocolate with Mint Crisps

In my continuing efforts to find a good chocolate mint bar, I picked up a "365 Organic Dark Chocolate with Mint Crisps" bar last time I was at Whole Foods.  I’m not ending my search with this bar, but I do like it quite a bit.

First a little about the chocolate — it’s certified organic, which is nice and all of the beans are purchased from a "co-op of small farmers called the YACAO Project" according to the label.  So it’s "feel good" chocolate.  Not only that — the chocolate is manufactured for Whole Foods by a Swiss chocolatier with "145 years of experience". 

Now for the taste.  While this is called a dark chocolate bar, it’s very sweet and organic raw cane sugar is the first ingredient.  I’m guessing that the "mint crisps" are little crushed sugary things for the most part.  These give a nice crunchy, grainy feel to the bar overall — although the graininess of the mint crisps make it difficult to really evaluate the quality of the chocolate.  It does seem to have a creamy feel though and it’s flavor works well with the mint.  The mint is floral and leaves a nice fresh taste in your mouth.

I really liked this bar and would definitely buy it again.