Monthly Archives: April 2009

Valerie Confections

I was recently sent a package of goodies from Valerie Confections in LA. This is the good stuff — fresh, decadent and delicately flavored. Here's what I sampled:

Valerie_lemon

The Lemon Hazelnut Nougat — I knew I'd like this one as soon as I saw it — lemon, nuts, dark chocolate — all the things I like in one confection. The flavor was bright with a delicate lemon flavor and a subtle nutty flavor from the hazelnuts. The texture was slightly crunchy, yet smooth from the melt of the chocolate.Not only did they taste great, they also came in a cute box with a pretty little ribbon.

Valerie_toffee

The Almond Fleur de Sel Toffee — Oh boy was this good! Salt, butter, sugar, almonds & bittersweet chocolate in one delightful package. They shatter as you bite into them, releasing and mingling all the wonderful flavors at once. Wow!

Valerie_salt_and_pepper

Salt & Pepper Truffles — Here's something I haven't tried before and I wasn't sure what to expect. Surprisingly the pepper in these truffles lent a wonderfully subtle, fruity and spicy edge to these silky smooth confections. And the Fleur de Sel chocolate was wonderful — one of my favorite combinations — salt and chocolate.

Valerie_caramel

Liquid Caramel (square) — Intense liquid caramel with that rich, salty, burnt sugar flavor that you want in a caramel.

Bittersweet truffle — A pretty little molded dome filled with a fruity chocolate ganache that is wonderfully smooth and incredibly satisfying.

One of the things I loved about the Valerie confections was their subtlety. The lemon nougat wasn't too lemony and the pepper truffles weren't overwhelmingly peppery. Everything was balanced which allowed all the different flavors to shine through. Not to mention that all the chocolates were beautiful and beautifully presented.

I enjoyed all the confections that I tried from Valerie and will be keeping an eye on their website to see what new flavors they come up with in the future.

Kallari Chocolate

Kallari

Kallari Chocolate comes in three varieties — 85%, 75% and 70% cacao content — and while each bar uses the same organic, Ecuadoran chocolate, each is unique.

I started by tasting the 85% cacao bar and found it to be quite complex — smooth and inviting with a slow melt that was a bit dry, but not overly so. Fruit is present here, along with a nice earthy bitterness akin to coffee or smoked wood. The finish is clean and a touch sweet.

After that I moved to the 75% bar and here, the fruit really popped! Fresh, tropical fruit, vanilla and a comforting hint of caramel. The finish was fudgy and rich. Really lovely.

The 70% bar was sweet, bright — even more vanilla and caramel flavors shined through.

I think my favorite of the three bars was the 75% Cacao — a nice ballance between the bitterness, fruit and sweet caramel flavors. I’m very impressed by these bars and glad to see that organic, sustainable chocolate can be really excellent chocolate too.  You can find out more about Kallari Chocoalte at their website.

Amy’s Organic Chocolate Cake

Amys_chocolate_cake_box

I've been a fan of Amy's products for a while now, so when they contacted me about trying a new product, I jumped at the chance. A few days later an Amy's Organic Chocolate Cake arrived on my doorstep.

Why do I like Amy's? Well, this cake is the perfect example. First of all, it is made with organic ingredients. Secondly, it's vegan but doesn't taste like a substitute for a non-vegan cake. It's the real deal. Thirdly, there are no weird things in this cake — no trans fats, no preservatives, no GMO's or bioengineered ingredients. The ingredient list contains only things that I have in my own cupboard — shocking, I know!

The cake is available in the frozen foods section of the grocery and you defrost it in the fridge for a couple of hours before eating it — very simple. So before dinner I popped it in the fridge and it was ready at dessert time.

Amys_chocolate_cake

The cake is dense and quite moist — almost like a cakey brownie or a chocolate muffin. The taste is fresh, sweet and delicious. My husband, daughter and I all tried the cake and loved it. In fact, Maddie liked it so much that she had 2 pieces last night and one today, I had a piece this morning with coffee and it was great the second day.

I'm sure this will be available in most grocery stores — I know our Dominick's and Jewel carry Amy's products. And if you want more info, you can always visit the Amy's Kitchen website.