I have this thing where I talk a bit of trash from time to time. The object of my despise varies widely, from mashed potatoes, to coleus plants, to expensive chocolate made from couverture. Which am I most likely to delve into here? Ah yes, the latter.
However, as with all things I life, I often have to remind myself to cool it. Mashed potatoes, when mixed with yams, make for a delicious side dish. Coleus plants, no matter how offensive to my eyes, provide a colorful, exotic border for any annual garden. And expensive made-from-chocolate chocolate? It is still tasty, and can represent something quite lovely. Before I get to the chocolate bar – an all-Maine affair – I’d like to share the merriment that accompanied this bar. His name is Hamlet.
A few things you may have gleaned from the above pictures:
1. Hamlet loves America.
2. A balding man may get in the way of theatrical interpretation.
3. Choosing a female for the role of Rosencranz ensures some funny business, with an emphasis on funny.
4. Hamlet has tattoos.
5. Staging a play within a fort provides an excellent way to enact scenes taking place on ramparts… on ramparts.
This version of Hamlet was put on by the Ten Bucks Theatre Company, and was, shocker, only ten bucks! It was played out within the grounds of Fort Knox (no, not that Fort Knox, that that conveys impregnability and excessive wealth). At this Fort Knox, I hear a cannonball could once be shot nearly three miles – accuracy not guaranteed. While true that the theater and I are not as close as we once were, this performance reaffirmed two things: my interest in the dramatic arts, and my interest in never performing Shakespeare. I’m sorry, but it’s just a bit long to maintain that night-after-night enthusiasm, especially given that the language of the Bard is now a world apart from all human beings.
I will say that this Hamlet (the actor, that is) was the best I have ever seen. By far. As someone who tends to dislike physical comedy, I was impressed by this Hamlet’s terrifically-funny portrayal of the role. Great job, Greg Mihalik.
There were only two weak points to the play, in my mind. Some of the actors rushed their lines quite a bit, especially at the beginning – when I wasn’t yet sick of sitting through an intermission-less play. I’m sorry, Horatio. At least everyone was audible; that is always a surprising bonus. And two… the sword-fighting. After years of swooning over Highlander, I found the swordplay – and the silent punch – to be quite weak. Thinking back to my time on stage, I only hope that my few choreographed fights did not appear this fake. Ah, weird ghetto-British-meets-American-street-style-accented dirty, nasty, nasally vampire-slaying Mud, I miss you.
Photo from Chas. Campbell, pepper shaker from…. Williams Sonoma?
On to the chocolate, no?
Black Dinah Chocolatiers hail from Isle au Haut, Maine, a small island where privileged folk frolic in the summertime. In addition to vacationers, the island is inhabited by two notable things: fishermen, and parts of Acadia National Park. And, if I may add, Black Dinah Chocolatiers.
I couldn’t refuse this lavender bar. I love all things lavender and lavender-infused. I found it for sale at the Winterport Winery, in Winterport, Maine, which offers fruit wines running the gamut from dry to sweet to ultra sweet, all made with ingredients found regionally.
Made with 61% single origin Venezuelan chocolate, organic Maine-grown lavender blossoms (of which there were three on my bar), vanilla-infused sugar (since I’m still out of vanilla, I have to get my it in some way), a “squiggle” of white chocolate, and a few other ingredients, this bar was quite the looker. Squiggle ‘er up!
As far as appearances go, this bar(k) had it in aces. But as far as taste? Well… that would probably depend on who ate it.
I ate it.
The bar’s aroma is a pleasant sweet chocolateyness. I left it uncovered as I mused over my photographs of the hamming-it-up Hamlet. I left it uncovered as I perused the internet for information on Black Dinah Chocolatiers. I left it uncovered as I began to write about Hamlet, and Black Dinah Chocolatiers. And all the while, it kept on aromating, aromatically. It was a good scent. Moving on to tasting, my first impression was of nothing terribly special. Unfortunately, it tasted like nondescript chocolate-that-was-already-chocolate. I wasn’t getting too much out of it other than it was very chocolatey: can you tell, from my lack of more thoughtful words? It tasted quite milky too, understandable given the dry whole and skim milk added to this bar. Some bites brought out more of the lavender than others, with the sprinkled sugar offering a nice textural difference. The most unfortunate part of this bar was that there was a rather strange aftertaste.
I found myself continuing to take bites to try to wash the aftertaste out of my mouth. It was a mixture of bitter and sweet, but not bittersweet – the flavors remained separate. However, as anyone who can put 2 + 2 together could attest, this combination of continual nibblings didn’t alleviate that aftertaste. When I did bite on a lavender flower, it cut through the taste no problem, and even made the experience enjoyable. Given that there were only three lavender flowers on my bar, however, this wasn’t even or thorough aftertaste-cutting action.
Without the aftertaste, this would have been a simple and very enjoyable bar. With it? Perhaps not worth my $4.50. As with Coastline Confections, I wonder if this Maine company simply caters to tourists with cash. I have my doubts though – I think Black Dinah Chocolatiers has promise, and is inspired. After all, their three chocolate bark flavors are Lavender, Coffee-Peanut, and Ancho Chile – – rather uncommon flavors to simply be catering to tourists.
The company also makes an extensive line of truffles, which I believe are likely much more suitable for the style of chocolate that they are producing. I would love to try these truffles, of which the Blueberry-Black Pepper, Down East Sea Breeze, Rhubarb, and Tree to Sea Caramel truffles most catch my eye.
It is my hope that I can make it out to Isle au Haut before their café closes for the season on October 9th.
PO Box 13
1 Moore’s Harbor Rd.
Isle Au Haut, ME 04645
Read more from Chocolatier Kate on her blog, Black Dinah Chocolatiers.