Saturday, August 1, 2015

Hand-Dipped Milk Chocolate Truffle Box

We're going to start off August with a box of Hand-Dipped Milk Chocolate Truffles from The Nut Shoppe, Inc. in Goshen, Indiana. You can buy their creations at their store or through Chocolate.org, an online store that offers products from small chocolate shops around the USA and Canada. Chocolate.org and The Nut Shoppe sent us a huge 24 piece box of these truffles to try so obviously I had to get as many of our Acolytes as I could get together to give these serious testing. In total, six people tested these truffles. While we were sent this box of truffles to test and write about, we did not accept any other compensation for our work.

These are hand-dipped and you can tell by looking at them. While manufactured truffles can be perfectly round or dome shaped, these vary slightly with an extra twist of milk chocolate on the top. The base measures between 1.5 and 1.75 inches across and they rise to about 1 inch so these are nice 2-3 bites treats. The fragrance is creamy cocoa with a strong hint of vanilla. Biting into a bit of the extra chocolate on the base makes a very loud snap; this must be very pure chocolate for a milk chocolate to make such a noise. Biting into it reveals that the outer layer of milk chocolate is fairly thick while the inside is creamy, fluffy center that is soft and immediately melts in the mouth. The taste is intense yet creamy chocolate with less vanilla flavor in the coating than in the truffle center. Over all the flavors is very creamy, very chocolatey, with a strong vanilla kick; I liked it a lot.

I really like the balance of flavors and the combination of textures but what did all six of my testers think about these truffles? Not surprisingly their views varied widely. Our Milk Chocolate Acolyte said the ganache (outside) is strongly chocolate but also smooth and creamy; the inside has another flavor I can't pick out but it is different from the ganache. Three said good but not special but I think that's a bit harsh given all of the truffles we've tried over these seven years. The outside was not as well liked as the inside which is described as more creamy and richer. One thought the inside has a nought-like quality that he definitely would eat more of. The hand-shaped and dipped quality was obvious and appreciated, one wondered if they were placed right into the box because the bottoms were spread out a bit and they were a challenge to get out of each section. This hand-dipped quality is promoted on The Nut Shoppe's boxes and website.

If these truffles sounded good to you, go to Twitter and tell the company that you discovered them on The Chocolate Cult. If you want to buy some yourself, check out Chocolate.org for this collection.

Friday, July 31, 2015

An August Full of Chocolate Holidays

Tomorrow is the first day of August so it is time for the new Fun Food Holiday calendar.

August = National Romance Awareness Month -- if you don't know that chocolate can play a big role in romance, you may be in trouble! I'll be reviewing a romance novel that involves chocolate this month to honor the "holiday" but here is a preview of that book using my Amazon Associates link.



August 1 = Swiss National Day - established as a holiday in 1994, it refers to the Federal Charter of 1291, a political action that is often seen as the beginning of Switzerland

August 2 = National Ice Cream Sandwich Day -- Who out there likes ice cream sandwiches?

We tested an ice cream sandwich recipe last year, please check it out again here.

August 4 = National Chocolate Chip Day; National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

August 5 = National Waffle Day -- What kind of waffles do you like?

August 6, 1826 = Birthday of Joseph Storrs Fry II who took over his grandfather’s thriving chocolate business in England. (mostly because I couldn’t find an accurate birthday for the chocolate genius that was Joseph Storrs Fry)

August 10 = National S’mores Day: I have an idea I want to try out this year but for now, go back and check out this recipe from 2011 here.

August 10th is also the birthday of Henri Nestlé, German Confection and founder of the Nestlé corporation along with Daniel Peter who created the Milk Chocolate bar using Nestlé expertise with condensed milk

August 12 = John Cadbury Birthday (1801-1889)

August 18 = National Soft Serve Ice Cream Day

August 20 = National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day; Sometimes we do interviews with everyday cooks, bakers, and candy makers. Check out this one that includes a chocolate pecan torte recipe here.

August 24 = National Waffle Day (anniversary of the first US patent for the waffle iron); why are there two waffle days in the same month?

August 25 = National Banana Split Day

August 27 = National Pots de Crème Day

August 30 = National Toasted Marshmallow Day -- What does this have to do with chocolate? Really? You have to ask?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Klondike Reese's Rounds Out National Ice Cream Month

To finish off National Ice Cream month we return again to Reese's, this time in the form of a Klondike bar. We were sent a coupon from Unilever so we could get this product for free from our local grocery store but were otherwise not compensated for our article today. As you can see the bars are individually wrapped in the standard Klondike wrapper with the iconic polar bear but has the Reese's label very prominently displayed. Let's take a look under the brown shell.

Under the shell, is supposed to be peanut butter ice cream with tiny peanut butter cups. These are indeed tiny because it took me three bites to even find them; my co-tester says he didn't find any by taste, texture, or sight. This is disappointing since the box says that there are pieces in the ice cream. The pieces would have both cocoa butter and chocolate if we could find them. The peanut butter ice cream is made with Reese's peanut butter. The milk chocolate flavored shell is made with chocolate processed with alkali and cocoa processed with alkali but also coconut oil which is very common in these types of coatings. In terms of allergens this has dairy, soy, and coconut. The principle scent and taste is the peanut butter ice cream with the chocolate not that noticeable. Given the lack of tiny peanut butter cups, I think this could be improved by either including a lot more of those or increasing the thickness of the shell, perhaps a darker chocolatey coating would be able to compete with the peanut butter and the cold. As it is, this is very similar to just eating light peanut butter ice cream straight.

That ends July for us, Sisters and Brothers. Do you know of any other ice cream, gelato, or sorbet brands that have been focused on a particular flavor this year? Unilever's peanut butter versions of Magnum, Blasts!, and now Klondike have certainly been peanut buttery but the quality of their chocolate has varied a lot. Between these three, I'd say go for the Magnum bar if you want both strong peanut butter and strong chocolate.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

CocoNoNut CACAO-NECTAR BAR’s Recall

Sadly I have one recall to share with you all today. I have not seen these bars here in shows in Indiana but perhaps you have seen them where you live or even have the recalled bar.

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Nectar Foods, Inc. Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Almond in CocoNoNut Cacao-Nectar Bar

Consumer Contact: 503-819-4284

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — July 10, 2015— Portland, OR — Nectar Foods, Inc. of Portland, Oregon is recalling 300 CocoNoNut CACAO-NECTAR BAR’s because it may contain undeclared almonds.  People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to almond run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

Product was distributed in retail stores in California and distributors in Oregon and Washington and all locations have been contacted and bars pulled from shelves to our knowledge.

The product has an orange label and is sold in an orange cardboard display box in the refrigerated grab and go pastry and deli sections of grocery stores. The product has a net weight 2.5 oz. (70.8 g), Honey Mama’s brand, UPC 8 54835 00406 7, expiration date listed on back of package is: 121815.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

We were notified of the issue from a customer 7/9/15. A recall was initiated after it was discovered that product containing almonds distributed in packaging that did not reveal the presence of almonds.

This recall is being made with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Consumers who have purchased CocoNoNut CACAO-NECTAR BAR and have allergy or severe sensitivity to almond are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.  Consumers with questions may contact the company at 503-819-4284 between 8 am-5 pm PDT, Monday to Friday.