chocolate rally #2: the u.s. and mexico

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines: it’s time for another Chocolate Rally! It’s times like these that make you jones for some applicable auto racing quotes, isn’t it? Today is your lucky day:

Racing Chocolate costs today exactly the same as it did twenty years ago… it takes every penny you have.”

“If you don’t come walking back to the pits every once in a while holding a steering wheel chocolate bar in your hands, you’re not trying hard enough.”

“To finish first, you must first finish your chocolate.”

Vroom vroom.

  

The last time I tried a Chocopologie bar by Knipschildt Chocolatier of South Norwalk, Connecticut, it was 2010. It was the partial subject of my third blog entry (aww), and although I didn’t really discuss my viewpoints on the chocolate then, know that I liked it.

Fast forward to now. I found this Burnt Caramel & Hawaiian Sea Salt chocolate bar at The Bread of Life Bulk Foods store here in Presque Isle. So Brianne, in answer to your question, I guess the occasional exciting chocolate bar does make its lonely and cold pilgrimage all the way up here.

This bar is comprised of 71% Single Origin Ecuadorian cacao with an inner layer of burnt caramel and an outer sprinkling of sea salt. As with other Chocopologie bars, this one is decorated with colored cocoa butter to match the bar’s contents.

This is a really nice bar, perfect for snacking. The burnt nature of the caramel is present, but not overbearing; the salt is there too, but exists as a pleasing endnote. The chocolate tastes somewhat floral to me, with the aftertaste tending towards fruity.

  

Seattle Chocolates is a well-known company selling all sorts of truffles, bars and assorted gifts (the Lake Champlain Chocolates of the West Coast, perhaps). I received this Coconut Macaroon bar, along with a few others, from my Mum back around Valentine’s Day.

These chocolates are made with the same mold as the Komforte Chockolates bars I’ve reviewed, which doesn’t surprise me given that Komforte markets through the Seattle Chocolates’ website. As a tangent, stay tuned for another Komforte review – Savory Ramen! Apple Pie + Graham! – coming soon.

The bar pictured above is a truffle bar, containing a ‘meltaway center’ (hmm) flecked with coconut and sea salt. Coconut is the pervading aroma and taste, moderated by the creamy and slightly sour ganache filling. The salt becomes noticeable when enhancing each of these flavors, but isn’t distinguishable on its own.

I like coconut quite a bit, but I didn’t love its dominating presence in this bar. I would like to see it paired with some dried fruit, cherries or apricots perhaps, to help tone and mellow the flavor. As is, it’s a treat in small doses.

Thank you Mum – a taste of the West Coast !

 

This Schakolad Chocolate Factory bar is a first, as it marks my dad’s entry into the Wide World of Supplying Me With Chocolate. He found this Dark Chocolate bar for me while down in Texas last December, and while he didn’t get me the ever-popular Schako Paint (“Paint your body with chocolate!”), I guess I’m doing just fine without it.

I hadn’t heard of Schakolad, but it turns out they’re a sort of chocolate chain, originating in Florida, with several stores in Texas, a few more northwards up to Michigan and New York, and one location in Kfar Saba, Israel. They’re primarily a truffle company who is clearly succeeding in their vision to cover the world in chocolate.

Although they don’t provide any information about the chocolate they’ve used for this bar, I don’t hold it against them. After all, it’s pretty tasty, well-flavored with vanilla and excellently toned down for those who generally find dark chocolate a bit too much to handle.  I do think the molding is a bit thick, making the pieces difficult to bite into; perhaps, however, this is just me and my jaw problems talking. Given that I’m not supposed to eat corn on the cob or bite into fruit… probably.

Extra special thanks and love to my Poppa Pop for thinking of me while working hard (or hardly working?) during his time in Texas. And also for letting me call him Poppa Pop: feel free to thank me in the liner notes when you start your sure-to-be-successful home-grown popcorn company. As soon as you find enough room to begin growing corn for popping, that is.

  

Lastly, a bit of an oddball. This massive 200 g Chile block of Maria Tepoztlán chocolate hails from Mexico, and was whiling away the hours growing stale in my mother’s cupboard. I tried to capture a picture of this bar held up to my face to display its sheer massiveness, but what you see above is the best that I could do. For someone claiming to love photography, you’d think I could at least capture a photo with my entire face, no?

After weightlifting with this bar for 3 sets of 12 reps (plenty of hydration in between), I cracked ‘er open. And holy buckets, a busload of sickly-sweet vanilla fragrance broadsided me.

Although I nearly busted a tooth on a mysterious shard that could perhaps be identified as chile in origin, the bar was noticeably absent of actual chile flavor. It was, however, heavy-handed on the vanilla, and whatever else was in there reminded me of malted milk balls. The texture was gristly, as is common with Mexican-style chocolate. Endless chewing, however, produced an uncomfortably clumpy velvety texture – I preferred it gristly.

I found myself strangely drawn to this weird and somewhat gross-tasting bar, especially after learning that the company that makes it, Villa Vainilla, is – shockingly – a vanilla company. Hence the overpowering vanillaromatics. Even though I somewhat enjoyed its peculiarness, I wouldn’t classify this bar as good. And I honestly don’t know how I’m going to finish it.

Knipschildt Chocolatier

Chocopologie Cafe

12 S Main St.
Norwalk, CT 06854
203.854.4754
Find them on Facebook and @knipchildtchoc

Seattle Chocolates

1180 Andover Park W
Seattle, WA 98188
425.264.2800
Find them on Facebook.

Schakolade Chocolate Factory

Find the location nearest you.
Find them on Facebook and @schakolad.

Maria Tepoztlán by Villa Vainilla

Produced somewhere in Mérida, Mexico… hard to tell where, as the potential address given on the package leads to a deserted lot on Google maps.

Pursue this chocolate at your own risk.

Advertisements

24 thoughts on “chocolate rally #2: the u.s. and mexico

  1. Whoa, Emma. Whoooooa. Fine chocolates in PI?!? You really do have it all up there! I just might have to come up there to buy me one of those burnt caramel chocolate bars. You really ate a savory ramen chocolate bar? I cannot wait to hear how that went.

    I’m digging the new font. Such simple lines! Enjoy your weekend!

    1. I bought the only remaining burnt caramel bar, sorry! The show owner seemed very nice though, so I could perhaps request chocolate orders in the future…. maybe:)

      I’ve got more work I’d like to do with this page – I’m glad you like the changes!

  2. Woooow….these chocolate has stirred some kind of chocolatey lust inside me. There’s something so sensuous about the way you describe them, Emma…even when you use the word “gristly” and talk about jaw problems. Love your writing. :-)

    1. Chocolatey lust sounds like a wonderful thing. A thing that makes words like gristly seem a-okay;)

      I know I need to try more of the West Coast chocolate you love, but my access to it is so limited. One day!

  3. I’ve started spying chocolates since reading your blog. I haven’t jumped in because I’m afraid I will find myself liking these waters and never want to get out. I suppose there I worse things to grow really fond of.

    1. You probably have endless amazing access to nice chocolate too, between your Whole Foods store and everywhere else nearby. Jump in, jump in, jump in:) Then swimmmmmm. Then let me know how it tastes.

  4. You’ve fiddled with the background and fonts, haven’t you? (I like!) So much chocolate…the first definitely sounds tastiest! About the last, I bought a huge thing of Mexican vanilla for $6 a couple years ago, and then sadly found out I didn’t care for it. Too sweet and artificial tasting, though maybe not all vanillas there are created equally…but maybe so if we go by this bar.

    1. I’m working on making this blog look like how I’ve long imagined it to look. Goodbye, sinister fat capitalized fonts!

      The cheap vanilla just doesn’t do it for me. I love quality vanilla, I really enjoy lapping the remains off my measuring spoons – that’s a bit out there, I know. But fake vanilla is just kind of grotty.

      1. Oh yeah, I’m totally spoiled on the good stuff and really should throw out the crappy bottle. But I can’t say that I lick the spoons…

  5. To finish the stuff, I suggest grateing(is that the correct spelling?)the chocolate and making brownies! Or, you could make some nice hot chocolate…oh, that’s right, you don’t like hot chocolate…maybe you could make it for Someone Else. That first bar really sounded good; and the second one, from your photo, looked pretty massive too. Cool shape.

    1. Those are good ideas. With 72 F weather predicted for Thursday (finally, we’ve caught up with the rest of the country), I’m not sure that Ho Cho will get made this week. Brownies, however, that’s a much better idea. With the amount of chocolate left, I could probably make a 4′ by 5′ pan:D

      I enjoyed the first three bars very much!

  6. Cute pic of you and the chocolate!

    Burnt caramel is one of those things that might’ve sounded terrible to me several years ago, but now I can appreciate how perfect it’d be with chocolate. Especially with a little salt. Makes total, total sense.

    1. Glad someone likes the picture:)

      I agree, I would have given burnt caramel a sketchy glance a few years back. And sometimes, I think it’s quite overdone, and overplayed. Not the case here!

  7. Guess what guess what!! That Chocopologie bar is one of the earliest chocolates I reviewed on my blog (complete with embarrassingly horrendous flash photography… ugh), I ate it in Charleston which has such wondrous memories for my soul, AND IT’S CALLED HANNAH!

    So I’m obligated to love it best, even if the rest of the bars you reviewed here hadn’t been entirely unappealing :)

    1. The memories are called Hannah, the chocolate is called Hannah, or Charleston is called Hannah??

      I like that Chocopologie kickstarted both of our chocolate reviewing careers:)

        1. Oh okay. I was so confused:) The bar is not called that as far as I can tell, but I see a caramel sea salt truffle box with “monique, diana, hannah, and pooja” truffles. How weird is that… does this chocolatier have a lot of women in his life or what?!

          This is what people who live truffley lives do, Hannah. Don’t fall under their spell !

  8. Emma, you are seriously cracking me up. I especially love that you were diggin that “gristly” bar despite yourself.
    I have to tell you that it is a dangerous thing for me to be reading your chocolate tales before breakfast;)
    -E

    1. I do it for the sake of research, Erin. To make this place a better world for our children and grandchildren. :D Just kidding, I do it because I’m addicted to sugar.

      Luckily I don’t often want chocolate before breakfast… but considering breakfast comes around 6h15, that’s hopefully understandable.

And now I'd like to pass the mic / So you c'mon and do anything you like ...aka, Leave your reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s