Thursday, March 26, 2015

National Make Up Your Own Holiday Day


Today is National Make Up Your Own Holiday Day so I want to hear from you in the comments.

What "holiday" do you think we should be celebrating today and why?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Get Your Askinosie Peanut Butter Bars Soon!

Askinosie is a brand we've been honored to test and feature here several times. Right now, before May, you can get their 60% Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bar. Why before May? Well, the peanut butter makes this a higher fat content bar so it will not do as well in warmer temperatures so the company simply will not sell them starting in May until October we've been recently informed. Like all Askinosie chocolate and cocoa, the company deals directly with farmers and you learn about the farmers who supplied the beans for the product on the label. In this case, the cocoa beans are from Tanzania and specially the lead farmer, Mama Rahabu. Lets see what sort of treat she helped grow for us.

The bars measure 6.5 X 3 X 1/8th inches and there are two servings in each bar. As you can see it has the normal Askinosie Chocolate lettering on the sections. Once the clear plastic sleeve was open I got a light hight of cocoa and roasted peanuts but it wasn't as strong I thought it might be given that the ingredients are only cocoa beans, organic cane sugar, peanut butter, and cocoa butter. The bar breaks in half very easily with a soft pop. As I bring my half into sections I don't see any pieces of peanut butter along the edges, just very dark brown chocolate but each break releases a bit more cocoa and peanut fragrance but the roasted peanut seems stronger now. Biting a piece makes little sound and the bar is soft and a bit flexible almost in texture, not chewy. The first flavor is a bit of chocolate followed by roasted peanuts but really the flavor is a very intense sweetness that I was not expecting at all. I'm going to let my mouth rest then see if letting a piece melt on my tongue changes the flavor. I put an entire section on my tongue and start watching the clock as I wait for it to melt which it does very slowly coating my tongue with very thick, slick chocolateyness; it takes a good two minutes to fully melt. The first flavor is a dark cocoa with an edge of roasted peanut; the sweetness is very distant at first but builds up with each passing 10 seconds but the sweetness never overwhelms the chocolate and peanut butter. This is best enjoyed by allowing it to melt I think.

This is another Sacrament worthy chocolate creations from Askinosie. If this bar sounds good to you, don't wait to go and order the 60% Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bar or go look for them in your local shops because starting in May you won't be able to find them for at least five months.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Local Chocolate Truffles from Blu Boy

Back around Christmas time 2014, a dear friend of your Chocolate Priestess who is also our Fruit Acolyte, gave all of her friends gift certificates for local businesses.  I finally spent mine at a local chocolate shop called Blu Boy in the town I live in. I wanted to just look at the five piece box I was able to get with the gift.

The wonderful young woman who helped me out, directed me toward their dark chocolates which you know I favor above milk and white chocolate though we test everything here when we are sent samples. Based on my memories and the enclosed list, this are the Fleur de Sel Caramel, Blood Orange, Solid Dark Chocolate, Lavender, and Jasmine. They are very pretty, aren't they? But did I enjoy them?

The Fleur de Sel Caramel was a chocolate caramel covered in chocolate and I loved it! The Blood Orange Truffle hemisphere started off with dark chocolate flavor and revealed the orange slowly with each bite. The Solid Dark Chocolate has little light blue pumps on the top (there were other images I could have chosen the day I got this but I thought these might show up in a photo better for you all); it was just a delightful cocoa rush in two bites. The Lavender Truffle hemisphere was strongly floral to begin but blended into the creamy dark chocolate very well. Finally the Jasmine Truffle has a subtle flavor that blended very well with the creamy dark chocolate center.

I loved them all!  Thanks to my friend for this gift!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Green Chocolate?

We've had tea flavored and infused chocolate before here on The Chocolate Cult but usually in dark chocolate and occasionally in milk chocolate. Today for our first look at Voilà Chocolat we are going to reveal their Green Tea White Chocolate Bar. Why now? Well, St. Patrick's Day, a day in the USA where you wear green and do all things "green" it seems appropriate to let you all know about this option, doesn't it?

Our Tea Acolyte tested this bar one afternoon and this is his report; photos were taken by your Chocolate Priestess. His words are italicized for clarity.

First of all, green tea is a typically weak tea with a subtle flavor, not really sweet at all, so I am wondering how Voilà has approached the task of capturing this in a bar of chocolate.  They have started with a white chocolate base, so that will help – a milk or dark chocolate would immediately overwhelm the tea flavor – but even white chocolate has a flavor of its own, and there is sugar to consider as well (pure cane sugar appears first in the ingredients list on the label).  It seems to be a challenge: Can this chocolate really taste like green tea?

To be specific, the label says that this bar contains "Green Tea/Matcha Tea." There are several forms of green tea, and matcha (the powdered tea used in, among other things, the famed Japanese tea ceremony) is one of them, but they are all made from the same plant.  I'm not sure what the label means, though; is this green tea in the form of matcha, or is there some other type of green tea in this bar in addition to matcha?

The appearance of the chocolate is quite distinctive – it is definitely the color of green tea.  This is a testament to the refusal of the creators to use artificial colors; the only thing giving this white chocolate any color is the tea itself.  The bar is molded into rectangular pips that come apart easily with a dull snap.  The aroma of the chocolate is only vaguely like green tea; it is more like smelling the tea powder.

Biting into the chocolate gives a firm snap.  Allowing a piece to melt in my mouth gives an interesting combination of flavors; the very sweet white chocolate is, however, the dominant note by far.  This is not to say that the tea flavor is absent, however – there is enough tea in this chocolate to turn the bar green.  If I had been testing this in a dark room with no way to know what was in it to begin with, I'm confident that I would still have been able to say that this chocolate was flavored with green tea, as its flavor may be subtle, but it is also unique.  The texture is completely smooth; my guess would be that they either strained the tea or thoroughly mixed matcha powder in with the melted chocolate, as there is no hint of sediment or residue.  After the chocolate has melted away, a hint of the tea flavor remains for some time.  I would call this white chocolate flavored with green tea, rather than, for example, a chocolate bar that attempts to duplicate the green tea flavor (I'm not sure that could be done).

Sweetened with pure cane sugar and made with whole milk, this green tea chocolate is an East-meets-West combination of flavors from different cultures.  I'm not sure how an Asian palate would perceive it, but it is pleasing to my American one.

There you have it from our Tea Acolyte a vote of satisfaction for this bar earning it Sacrament Status on our site. Well done,  Voilà Chocolat, well done!