Saturday, October 20, 2012

Scares, Caramel, and Chocolate

Have you heard of Oliver Kita Chocolates?  He's been an independent gourmet chocolatier for over 20 years and this year we are honored to include him in our 2012 Halloween Treat Challenge.  He sent us an example of one of the five types of "Trickster Treats" you can still get if you hurry for Halloween.  But you will have to hurry.  For this year's challenge they sent us the Scare-a-mels, buttery caramel with sea salt covered in chocolate with a creepy story to accompany them.

I don't want to report the story here, but let's just say that I read it to both children and adults and both enjoyed it.  It was creepy enough for both without being scary and after hearing it they all wanted to try a piece.  The story is an insert inside the nice box the Scare-a-mels came in -- dark chocolate in color, a paper Halloween themed lapel slipped over it, and a black ribbon with "Boo!" written on it.  In fact, I saved the ribbon and I plan to wear it in my hair for Halloween; how's that for reusing something, Sisters and Brothers?  If you sent this to someone they'd know they were in for a treat.  The box was relatively easy to open though I closed it again with a looser ribbon since I knew various volunteers here for The Chocolate Cult would want to see and test them.  As you saw above in the first paragraph each chocolate covered caramel has an Jack O' Lantern face on it and they are not all the same.

When you open the box you get a whiff of dark chocolate that grows stronger as you bring a piece to your nose.  The pieces vary in shape and size slightly.  My set averaged around 0.5 inches think and 1.5 inches diagonally across the upper left to the lower right corners.  I can see that the pumpkin face was stamped on because the tops are very flat and a bit melty in look.  Edible inks on chocolates allow you to do these sorts of things.  The chocolate is very smooth to my fingertips.  In this photo to the right you can see that I've bitten one in half and the caramel is very thick.  When I took that bite the first flavor was a dark chocolate quickly follow but a burst of salt that immediately was replaced by a buttery tang of caramel.  The caramel is, indeed, very thick and a touch sticky.  The salt is very subtle while the butteriness of the caramel is the dominant flavor followed by the chocolate itself.  This balance of flavors was pleasantly surprising because often with chocolate covered salted caramels I've found the salt overwhelms both the chocolate and the caramel.  This was not the case so I was very pleased even if the chocolate could have been a touch stronger.

"Trickster Treats" are part gourmet chocolate and part art, you can see that just by looking at them.  The more fine works are probably best for an adult or an adult Halloween party where their art can be appreciated.  The Scare-a-mels are simple and the story is adorable if slightly creepy, just creepy enough to share at a children's Halloween party before you let them have a piece.  While I can tell this is a darker chocolate I think the caramel essence is enough to balance that out for children who tend to not like more bitter flavors.  Those among our volunteers who normally aren't too fan of dark chocolate really liked this.  For craftsmanship and quality, this earns a Sacrament status and is a fine entry into this year's Halloween Treat Challenge.

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