Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Sacrament, August 29, 2009

Sisters and Brothers, you may recall that on May 9, 2009, your Chocolate Priestess revealed Monica's Chocolates Raspberry Truffles to you all. If not, go back and reread that Sacrament. Today I, with the help of your Chocolate Coconut Acolyte, will reveal Monica's Bonbons Assortment. These, as you can see, come wrapped in plastic and hold six bonbons, individually wrapped in various colors of Mylar and tied with a ribbon, which has to be cut open. The bottom of the bag is labeled and lists the six flavors; there is also a label on the bottom of each bonbon's wrapper, so you know exactly what you should be tasting.

As soon as I open the outer wrapper and take the wrapped bonbons out I can smell chocolate, and these are very tightly wrapped, so that suggests to me that the cocoa content will be high and satisfying. I unwrap them each to see if they differ by any other feature. In terms of color and scent, they are all dark in color and odor. As you can see in this picture, inside the Mylar is a waxed white paper layer that protects the bonbon. Each piece differs slightly in size and texture, which I'll describe as I reveal each to you, Sisters and Brothers. Monica's Chocolate's website has good pictures of each bonbon, but I want to add a few here when what I see seems different from those on the company's site.

Before I get started, your Chocolate Coconut Acolyte will reveal the coconut bonbon to you: "The bonbon itself is visually uninteresting, just a large (5" in circumference) ball of chocolate. A moment later the scent of chocolate tickles my senses. As I lift the bonbon to my nose and inhale deeply, I'm reminded of a Mounds bar in the way that the chocolate and coconut aromas mix. The chocolate feels just slightly waxy in my fingers as I hold it and take the first bite. The shell is soft and thin, making no sound as my teeth sink in. Before I even begin to chew, I can feel the chocolate melting, leaving me with a mouthful of sweet, moist coconut filling. Seconds later the chocolate flavor has completely disappeared, and only the coconut remains. Because of the amount of coconut in this treat, I'm chewing for a long time. A second bite intensifies the flavor even more. Because of the massive size of the bonbon, it takes eight bites to finish it, and every one of them is just short of heavenly. The chocolate is very good, neither exceptionally sweet nor bitter, and I would like to have seen a little more of it and a little less of the coconut. But due to the sparseness of chocolate, I didn't notice the usual buzz until I was finished and savoring the experience. Sisters and brothers, this is an excellent combination of the sacred substance with coconut, and despite the proportions of the two main ingredients, I would certainly indulge in another one if I were given the opportunity. Bright Blessings!"

Thank you, Acolyte, for sharing your experience with us all.

I have five flavors to reveal to you all: Plum, Apricot, Pecan, Walnut, and Almond, all housed in a Peruvian filling, though I can find no information on the website about exactly what a Peruvian filling is. Perhaps it is supposed to be a cultural secret, so I'll just have to see how it tastes.

I'm going to start with the fruit flavors first. The Plum bonbon is wrapped in the green Mylar — a purple wrapper would have made more sense to my eyes, so the green seems odd. It measures 1.75 inches across and 1.5 inches high. It does have a waxy sort of texture, but since there are no artificial ingredients in these, it must be from natural oils. If I take a very big whiff of this bonbon, I still only get the bittersweet chocolate, so I take a bite. The chocolate layer is very thin and makes no sound when I bite through it and right into a very sweet, sticky, and chewy plum. There are a lot more plums here than the website image reveals. They are the top and bottom layer over this caramel-colored, though not caramel-tasting, filling. I have never seen or tasted a plum chocolate of any sort before, so this is a brand new experience for me. I peel back the chocolate, and it looks like this is a full-sized plum that has been stuffed with the Peruvian filling and then covered with the bittersweet chocolate. If that sounds appealing to you, give these a try, because they are a good balance of the various flavors.

The Apricot bonbon is in an orangeish-gold Mylar wrapper, and it is a little smaller than the Plum, measuring 1.5 inches across and 1.5 inches high. Again I only get the bittersweet smell, even when I bring it close to my nose and take a deep breath. I decide to cut this one first to see what it looks like more cleanly. This again looks different from the website image. The piece I have seems less smooth; actual chunks of apricot can be seen to the right in my photo. Yes, biting in to it confirms that there are large apricot pieces here mixed with the filling and covered in the chocolate. The fruit quickly overpowers the chocolate and lingers in my mouth. Some of the fruit is so chewy that it sticks to my teeth and between them, so I have to thoroughly clense my mouth before I can move on to the nut flavors. The Apricot was not personally what I was hoping for, since the cocoa was overwhelmed, but if you really like apricot you will like this.

The Walnut variety is in a fucshia Mylar wrapping; it is bumpy in shape and not a nice round bonbon at all, measuring about 2 inches across at one point and 1.5 inches tall. The bumps themselves have that walnut-half shape to them, so I'm thrilled, since I adore this type of nut, as do the squirrels in my backyard, who enjoy the two walnut trees we have. I'm surprised when I take a hard sniff of this bonbon that again it is only the chocolate I can smell. When I cut it in half it looks basically like the picture on the website, with the filling between walnut pieces. The nuts crunch as I bite, blending well with the coating. Since these nuts are bigger and more separated from the filling, I finally get to taste the filling more; it has a creamy, milk chocolatey essence to it. At the third bite I start to get a bit of a cocoa rush in my head, and I am very pleased by this flavor of bonbon; I make a mental note to hide this one from the squirrels.

The Pecan bonbon is wrapped in red Mylar, and it is a smoother but very tall-looking piece, though it is still 1.5 inches high. It looks taller because it is 1.5 inches wide as well. Finally, a bonbon whose scent isn't just bittersweet chocolate, I discover, as I take a nice whiff of it and the pecan aroma rises with the cocoa into my nose. Cutting it open, I see nice big nut pieces on the outside, covered with the coating and a huge center filling that looks a bit darker than the previous pieces did, though still very much like the website's image. The pecans blend well with the bittersweet coating and allow some of the sweetness of the filling to come out more as well, though in the end the pecan becomes the dominant flavor. It reminds me a lot of the turtle candy you can buy or make, so if you love that, I think you'll love this, Sisters and Brothers.

Finally, in the purple Mylar is the Almond bonbon, which also has just a cocoa scent when I take a whiff of it. It looks very stout compared to the other pieces, measuring 2 inches across and 1.25 inches in height. The outer ring looks like it has almond halves lined up under the chocolate coating. It is difficult to cut because, as the website shows, it has large almond pieces mixed throughout, making this easily the nuttiest bonbon of this assortment. The almond pieces are not as embedded in the filling as the nuts in the previous bonbons were; they tumble out of the filling. I also don't believe that these nuts' flavor was as strong as the walnuts' and pecans', which surprised me greatly — although, since they fall out and take so long to chew, they still become the lingering taste in my mouth. Not as good a blend as the pecans or walnuts, but like the other nut-based bonbons it does allow the flavors of the coating and filling to come out, which the fruit bonbons did not. I'd like to see how a plain Peruvian-filled bonbon tastes without added fruit or nuts.

If these bonbons seem like they would be a good match for your journey, Sisters and Brothers, please do check out Monica's Chocolate. As you can see on their website, you can choose the assortment they sent me, or buy the bonbons individually, choosing between seven flavors. Their website indicates that the business is doing so well that they will be moving to a new store, but will still be in Lubec, Maine.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

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