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.