Friday, April 2, 2010

Iowa Chocolate #3

We found Drew's Fork-Dipped Chocolates on the way home taking 80 all across the state of Iowa in the town of Dexter not that far from Des Moines the capital.  This small shop began in 1927 and the current owner let me buy some as well as gave me some samples that will be featured in a future Saturday Sacrament probably in May.  They don't have a website but I'll give you their contact information at the end of this review.

While I have a list of the different types of products that Drew's sells, the sample I bought wasn't labeled.  I do know what pieces they gave me for that Sacrament but this will have to be a more general evaluation since I can't be certain which pieces I'm trying out.  I'll split it into two groups.  The Milk and then the Dark Chocolates.

The owner picked out a sample after I gave him a price limit -- remember we don't charge for our reviews or Sacraments here in The Chocolate Cult so any money I spend comes from my own pocket unless you all support the places mentioned on the blog.  He chose six milk chocolate and five dark chocolate varieties which I'll try to determine the flavor and variety of using my mouth, nose, and the flyer from the store.  I'll start with the upper right hand side and work my way clockwise.

The first piece is sort of bumpy and I fear may be a coconut so I take a very tiny bite.  Either this is not coconut or it is such a crunchy fine one that I don't notice the flavor and texture that normally turns me off.  Since I can't say what has nuts and what doesn't, I can't share it with my normal sidekick, the Milk Chocolate Acolyte, so I'm on my own.  It isn't a crispy cereal but I don't what it is only that the primary taste is a smooth, creamy, rich chocolate with a lot of sugar.

The next piece is a round and rather flat topped chocolate with simply a milk chocolate scent.  I take a bite and identification is easy: peanut butter cup. The center is very peanut and firm, a bit dry and it blends well with the chocolate.  The piece after that oddly shaped but again only smells like milk chocolate.  This one has the crunchiness and texture of crispy rice in it plus a sort of malt flavor added to the milk chocolate.

The next piece is a cube in shape and like every milk chocolate piece it turns out, I took whiffs ahead of time, only smells like the cocoa itself.  This has a semi-soft, medium tangy flavored caramel at it's center that turns sweeter over time and starts to overwhelm the chocolate.  The next oddly shaped piece turns out to be another crisp rice piece -- did I really need two of them since I was paying for them?  Really?  Finally is the domed, traditional shaped truffle chocolate that may or may not be a truffle.  Nope, not a truffle but full of marshmallow and caramel which is sticky, sweet, tangy  and cocoay all at once.

With the Milk Chocolate Pieces revealed it is time to move on to the Dark Variety which included five flavors you see to the left.  This time I'm going to start on the lower left hand side, move across those three then back up to the upper left hand side and do those two.  As with the milk version, these dark ones all smell the same before I take a bite.  I think what this means is simply that the shell over them is so thick that it doesn't let any of the internal scent out.  However, I did notice that the milk chocolate pieces didn't really have much of a fragrance even when I bit into them, it was more a texture and taste experience but let's see if that holds true for these darker ones.

The longer piece tastes good but I'm not sure what this beige, semi-firm center is really.  I can't be sure it isn't a nut variety so I don't pass it on to my Milk Chocolate Acolyte.  There does seem to be some crunchy piece in it though not strong, clearly identifiable flavor.  The dark cube piece is smaller than it's milk counterpart and has a simple marshmallow center with a strong, very strong, mint flavor that actually burns my tongue before being calmed by the chocolate.

The third piece is a traditional truffle shape which breaks open with a loud snap to reveal a soft very vanilla center that blends perfectly with the darker shell.  The flatter oddly shaped piece may be another crispy rice but a crunchy bite reveals roasted peanuts that are a nice combination with the dark bitterness -- no sweet taste in this piece and I like it!  Finally the last piece sort of looks like a flat box but clearly has splashed out on one side.  This has a lighter chocolate, semi-soft center with a sweet flavor that seems slightly minty as well; I can't really identify it but it is very cooling in my mouth as well as uniquely pleasant.

If these sound good to you, then you want to check out the Sacrament in May for the full report complete with individual photos.  Or perhaps this is enough information and you want to place an order.  You can phone them at 800-243-7397 and hopefully they can send you a flyer.

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

2 comments:

amandajane8907 said...

My husband and I have been stopping by Drew's for 10 years on our way back from visiting family. Your description doesn't sound very accurate at all. You make them sound like inferior chocolate, and they are far from that. Drew's is a beautiful little chocolate shop that has a nice history. Their chocolate is amazing and the deserves a better review than this.

TheChocolatePriestess said...

I'm sorry you weren't pleased, amandajane8907. I described what I tasted, saw, felt, smelled and heard as I ate then for this level of review. When I do Sacraments I spend more time and give more details.

If you reread it you'll notice that I don't give a final verdict on the quality, that's only for Sacraments or something that is terrible and I want to warn people from.

Perhaps if you read the Sacraments you'll have another impression.

To be blunt, a great deal of the time was spent attempting to figure out what the flavors were. I really prefer when chocolatiers label their products not only for flavor but also for allergy concerns.

I'm rereading the review and I just don't see where you see any description that says this in inferior chocolate at all. I wrote honestly what my senses revealed. Clearly your senses tell you something else when you eat that and that's the wonderful thing about all food and drink: we each bring out own experiences, expectations and bodies to them.

I'll be doing a Sacrament with the samples they sent with us later on.