Saturday, May 15, 2010

Chocolate for Adults & Kids

When your Chocolate Priestess was visiting South Dakota this past spring, she found two chocolate shops in one city after going for hundreds of miles without seeing any candy-dedicated stores that didn't just sell mass produced junk.  One of these chocolate shops, Watertown Confectionary, has treats designed for the entire family and donated some of their products to us, so today I want to reveal them to you and share them with the entire world.

The Watertown Confectionary was in the process of moving their store downtown at the time we found them, and this is what their future storefront looked like at that time.  At the end of the review I'll have a new photo so you can find them if you are even in the eastern half of South Dakota.  When we visited them in mid-March we met Vickie, who does the chocolate side of their business, while her husband Mike focuses on the coffee and wine/brewing side of the business.  Vickie talked to us for some time, showing us their home-based store and then giving us directions to where their new store would be located.  As you can see, they plan to go well beyond just selling chocolates, and perhaps we'll be able to visit them again in the future to see how they are doing, but for now I'm going to focus on the assortment and the patties they sent us home with.

I'll look at two of their patties, which I consider to be fun and child-friendly treats in shape and size.  These are two I did not cover in the product review of this chocolatier that I did in April.  I will then turn over the Cult to one of our Acolytes for her input on a third patty.  Each patty is milk chocolate and measures about 3.5 inches across; they vary by what is bound together by the chocolate.

One of these is the "Tater Chip Patty," and unlike the chocolate-dipped potato chips we've revealed before on The Chocolate Cult, this one is made from crushed potato chips.  It has a strong chocolate and potato chip scent when I cut it from the plastic sleeve.  It is solid and immediately starts to melt on my fingertips when I pick it up.  It has a constant crunch when I take a bite and chew.  The milk chocolate and the potato chips are an interesting combination and surprisingly complement each other very well.  In fact, I'd say these are more rustic style chips than similar products we've had in the past and thus give this a more earthy essence.  The pieces of chips can be seen within the chocolate, so this is not some sort of potato paste but actual crushed up chips.

The "Dakota Style Tater Patty" is made from "Dakota Style Jalapeno flavored" chips.  When I think of South Dakota, I have to confess I don't think of spicy or hot in terms of climate or food, but we'll give this a try and compare it to the plain version.  This smells very similar to the previous patty, but it does have that spicy fragrance that I find is apparent in many Jalapeno flavored foods.  The taste has a little kick to it but not too much, so you might still enjoy it if you aren't a spicy fan; in fact, I think kids would find this acceptable, too -- not to mention fun, which is what I thought when I saw the various patties they sold at Watertown Confectionery.

Our Chocolate Coconut Acolyte has this to report about their "Cow Pie" patty: "When I remove the patty from the wrapper, the chocolate scent is very obvious. It definitely looks like the object it’s named after. The scent is more powerful as I bring it closer to my nose, and I can also smell the coconut. The texture is firm as I bite into it, and the chocolate is cool on my fingers.   The chocolate is very sweet, and the toasted coconut supplies more crunch than I expected. Then I realize that it isn’t the coconut: there are tiny bits of toffee mixed into the patty, adding an extra layer of flavor. This is a very rich confection. I had to quit sampling before consuming the entire patty. But if you can get past the name, it’s a wonderful treat."

Vickie also gave me an assortment of their chocolates that are more adult in style.  I'm not completely sure what each product, is so you're coming with me on this mystery tasting, Sisters and Brothers.  The chocolate is made preservative free, but you can safely store it for several months if you keep it under moisture and temperature controlled conditions, as we do in The Chocolate Cult.  The box is probably a spring version, since the box on the website looks different, but then it was before Easter when we visited.

I see 13 individual pieces myself, some of which should be identical, to make 7 varieties of candies.  Remember, even though I am sampling each product, I very, very rarely eat more than a bite or two, so I follow our Path of Moderation and Purposefulness -- Acolytes are a huge help to me in this way.  As soon as I cut off the plastic wrap over this box, my nose picks up the chocolate scent, and I am promised wonderful treats via that sense, but I calm myself and proceed with focus so I can reveal all to you, Sisters and Brothers.

First up are two coconut candies and a molded milk chocolate piece in the shape of a lamb under the blue foil wrap.  The coconut is made with the same care as the "Cow Pie," so if that sounded good to you, this will be as good in a bite sized version.  My tongue may be playing tricks on me, but I think this lamb may have a bit of mint mixed in with the chocolate, because he cools my mouth down considerably without losing the taste of the creamy chocolate, which melts almost as fast as I can chew it.

The next two have a swirl of chocolate on top and a light peanut scent with the milk chocolate.  Peeling off the white paper cup is very similar to peeling back paper from a peanut butter cup treat, so I'm betting this is the Watertown Confectionary version of that treat.  Your Chocolate Priestess is correct, she discovers, as soon as she takes a bite and light peanut butter flavor mixes with chocolate.  Now, I rarely say this, but in this case, we need more of the other ingredient to balance with the chocolate, because the peanut butter filling isn't even a third of this candy, and it tastes good, not salty or too sweet, so we want more of it.

The next duo are 1 by 1 by 0.75 inch squares and have a folded back section of chocolate on top, it appears, and after several repeated whiffs I think I detect a mint scent.  Let's see if it's mint, Sisters and Brothers.  The thick coating makes a definite snap when I take a bite, and after a few chews of the darker, semi-solid chocolate center, the mint does work its way to my taste buds and starts cooling down my entire mouth, making it tingle after a while.  It all melts together and becomes an excellent mint truffle.

The next duo are matching cubes of chocolate but with a line of chocolate diagonally across the top.  This is mostly milk chocolate in fragrance, but there is something else that is sweet but hard to identify -- maybe caramel?  A bite reveals a very sticky center that is chocolate caramel with a bit of a spicy kick to it.  The caramel is very sticky, adhering to my teeth until it melts off.  The added heat lingers a bit longer, then fades into a tangy flavor before returning to a very light chocolate.  I'd personally like a bit more chocolate strength myself.

The larger of the two remaining flavors has a sort of turtle-like outline and is 2 inches at it's widest.  It does have a nut and caramel scent with the milk chocolate, so I take a bite and find that I've deciphered the type of treat once again.  Your Chocolate Priestess is on a roll today, Sisters and Brothers.  Inside I can see the nuts -- cashews, I think -- the caramel and more chocolate under the milk chocolate coating. This is a very sweet version of a turtle, with a light crunch and a very creamy chocolate, so these would be good for anybody with a super sweet tooth who might be reading this today.

Finally we get to the last duo of odd, sort of pseudo-triangles that remind me of toffee shards.  These are comparable in size to the turtles.  There is a buttery scent that seeps through the milk chocolate when I take a whiff.  I've guessed all the flavors today, I realize, when I work to snap off a piece of the deep, buttery toffee concealed by the milk chocolate. We have revealed several companies' toffees to the world over the 15 months The Chocolate Cult has been in service, and this is not one of the best, but it is a decent chocolate-covered toffee.

Overall these are good milk chocolate treats that range from fancier pieces in the box to kid friendly patties at reasonable prices.  You can check out the Watertown Confectionary's product line online, but you really need to check my reviews and contact Vickie or Mike to learn what they have in stock at any given time, since there are no detailed descriptions or even a product list on the website.  If you are anywhere near Watertown, SD, today -- May 15, 2010 -- is their new store's grand opening at 116 E. Kemp Avenue, so go check them out.

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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