Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chocolate Love Letter

The wonderful head of Astor Chocolate, Meir, sent me their latest product just in time for Valentine's Day, so I wanted to make sure all of you,  Sisters and Brothers, had time to read and think about whether it could be something extra special for the loved one in your life.  The cover is in maroon, a darkish purple, light pink, and gold.  It reads "Love Letter for A Special Person" and further describes itself as handcrafted milk chocolate by Astor Chocolate.  Each one has 5 ounces and can be ordered in in most letters of the English alphabet — I don't see Z, Y, X, U, or I in the list here.  This is simple chocolate, with no artificial ingredients, but it does have both milk and soy if those are allergy concerns.  There is also a warning that it may have wheat, peanuts and tree nuts, but I didn't get that taste when I tried it.

The box looks a like a book from the side, as you can see here.  One 5 oz. box has 3.5 servings with 210 calories, 9 grams saturated fat, 20 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 21 g sugars, 3 g protein, 2% of the recommended daily vitamin C, 10% calcium, and 8% iron in each serving.  I open up the book, which has a small magnet holding it closed, and on the left-hand side is written: "To a very special person, the sweetest one around... To you, I send my love, in the sweetest way I've found.  Love Letter."  I remove the protective insert and see a big milk chocolate letter that one could choose to give to one's beloved.


The letter has a very creamy chocolate fragrance, and the top is finely lined, while the sides and back are smooth.  Picking it up, I feel that it has a definite heft to it, and it feels cool, not waxy, to my fingertips.  My letter is a "T," to go with my first name.  The crossbar of the "T" measures 4.25 inches across, the stem measures almost 6 inches long, and the entire thing is 5/8 inch thick.  This is a big letter.

The sentiment is sweet, and the letter is huge, but what does it taste like?  Getting a bite is fun; I have to tilt my head at the "T" and take a nibble from the left crossbar.  The first flavor is vanilla, one of the ingredients, then a creaminess, and finally a nice little burst of bitterness from the cococa.  This is, to use the words of the Milk Chocolate Acolyte, "good milk chocolate."  I'll go a bit further than that; I think this is on par with the chocolates you're going to find in the finest chocolate shops, and certainly above the average you'll find in many stores this holiday season.  When I couple that with a good letter selection, you get a choice to personalize this gift as well. I think it's a nice thoughtful gift.

One more thing you should note about this gift is that, while it says "Love Letter" on it, it is not specific to Valentine's Day.  This raises all sorts of possibilities — anniversaries, birthdays, and even marriage proposals could be the reason for this to be an extra something for a special occasion.  So you can make the letter the same as your beloved's first name or the name you want to share.  You could even splurge and spell out a word if you want, but that would take quite a while to eat, so don't go too crazy.  If this sounds good to you, check it out, and make sure you order it in time for delivery by your special day.

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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