Saturday, November 17, 2012

Chocolate Singles from The Best Chocolate in Town

This Saturday Sacrament was written quite a while back during the summer of 2012 after a 20th anniversary trip my husband and I took.  I had so many ice cream brands to feature, upcoming Halloween Treat Challenge 2012, and then the Christmas season that I had to find where to put all the reviews from the companies who gave me samples during that vacation.  Since it is always difficult to get a lot of Winter Holiday themed items in November, I decided to add them here as well since each stop on that vacation gave us a lot of products. The good folks at The Best Chocolate in Town gave us a lot of samples and so today I want to share a few of the non-truffle items they offered that you can find if you go down Massachusetts Avenue in Indianapolis or check out their website.  I choose this photo to the right so you can see their name clearly.

First up is their Peanut Butter Crunch (photo above) that has semi-sweet mini chocolate chips made with cocoa butter and chocolate liquor in it. It comes in this 4 oz bag as well as an 8 oz variety. If it looks like rice crispy treats well look through the ingredients and after a pastel coating you find peanut butter, crisp rice and the chips.  The first scent is the peanut butter when you open the bag and then the pastel coating has it's own creamy fragrance; no chocolate in terms of smell.  The pieces are all around one-half inch thick but vary in shape and size.  The rice makes a very crunchy noise as you bite and chew, just like it should.  It has a smoother texture because of the pastel coating to it but you can still feel the crevasses in the rice and the smoothness of the chips as you work it in your mouth a bit.  The chocolate is very subtle, showing up only when you bite into a chip itself and then blending immediately back into the very creamy tasting peanut butter.

Next we have their Sea Salt Caramels in both dark and milk chocolate.  Hand dipped these are approximately one inch cubes covered with chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt on top.  If you take a whiff from the top you primarily get salt and tangy caramel scent but if you turn them over you can also get the milk or dark chocolate fragrance with the caramel and without the salt.  Whenever your Chocolate Priestess gets the same basic item with only a difference in type of chocolate for the coating, I always start with white, then milk, and then along the scale of increasing darkness because then I'm not dampening my taste buds with the more bitter essence.  Thus I start with the milk chocolate sea salt caramel.  The coating is thick but the caramel inside is the bulk of these treat.  The caramel is a bit coarse and not as sweet as many are, I actually prefer the less sweet caramel myself.  The salt is very strong however and easily overwhelms the milk chocolate almost immediately.  Hopefully the dark chocolate will hold up better.  The caramel tastes the same but this time the darker chocolate is able to stand out far better and counter the salt so that it merely adds another dimension to the flavors.  The caramel also seems thicker in this version and I wonder if that is a result of less milk in the overall candy.  Of the two, the dark Sea Salt Caramel is more chocolaty by far.

You know what Nutter Butters are, right, Sisters and Brothers?  They are a peanut butter cookie shaped like a peanut.  They are very common in the USA but for our readers in other countries you might now know what they are so here is a reference photo to look at.  I copied this right from the Nutter Butter website that you go to as well if you want to check them out further.

I've been seeing "recipes" online now for a few years where they basically are just dipping these cookies into chocolate and this is what The Best Chocolate in Town has down with these Nutter Butters coated in milk and dark chocolate.  Each are 2.75 inches long and still have a bit of the peanut shape to them even though they are coated with chocolate.  No peanut scent comes through this coating but there is slight difference in fragrance between the milk and the dark chocolate.  Of course they make a loud snap when I take a bite.  The milk chocolate is the first flavor and then the wheat of the cookies, some of the roasted peanut, then back to the milk chocolate flavor.  It all balances pretty well for this version of the treat.  The dark version in this case is not as well balanced, the bitterness of the dark chocolate overpowers the peanut butter and if you didn't know you were eating a Nutter Butter you might not be able to tell. This and the previous Sea Salt Caramels are excellent examples of how the type of chocolate that works best for one treat may not be as good a match for another.

One final milk and dark pairing to look at, Sisters and Brothers, and this time is is for their Pecan Turtle Squares.  These are big at 1.5 X 1.5 X 1 inches in dimension and they have a bit of heft to them as well and entirely covered in a coating of milk or dark chocolate.  The milk chocolate has a light cocoa and a sweet pecan scent while the dark version has a deeper cocoa and a slight pecan fragrance.  Both are smooth and cool in my fingers.  While the milk chocolate does not make a sound when I take a bite I discover the inside is a sort of crumbling almost cookie like mixture of pecans with enough sweetness, perhaps caramel, holding it together.  The pecans are primarily finely chopped but there are a few large slices as well; they make no sound when I take bites or chew. The milk chocolate gets lost quickly in all the pecan and sweet flavors so let's see how the darker chocolate coating fairs.  First difference is that the dark chocolate coating makes a soft sound when I take a bite.  Second the darker chocolate last throughout the chewing on the edge bites where you get more of it.  Third the pecan mixture is slightly drier in this version as well but that is very common when you use darker chocolate in anything.  So in the final analysis I say go for the dark Pecan Turtle Square if you are looking for chocolate but with the milk chocolate variety if you really just want the pecan sweetness center.

Finally we'll try out the two varieties of Toffee that The Best Chocolate in Town offers -- English or with nuts (a lot of nuts as you can see) or plain (nut-free).  The nut free one has chocolate on one side and the toffee showing through on the other; the nuts cover every centimeter of the English variety so I can't really tell how much is covered in chocolate.  They are each about 3 inches long and around 2-2.25 inches wide with 0.25 inches thickness not including the nuts so the English toffee is thicker.  They both make a fair amount of noise when you take a bite and chew them, the toffee becomes stickier as you chew as well. The milk chocolate is the first flavor with the nut-free version while the almonds are the first and final flavor for the English version.  The buttery sweetness is the central essence for both but the almonds really are the primary flavor for the English variety of this toffee.  In neither case is the milk chocolate strong enough to be a real player in this combination of flavors; dark chocolate does much better in terms of our Sacred Substance in every type of toffee we've ever tried and this is no exception.

So there you have it, more variety from The Best Chocolate in Town.  While the truffles and the bars we've looked at from them certainly lived up to their name, these single novelty items often fell short in terms of chocolate, that has to be our primarily criteria here on The Chocolate Cult.  You might like the products we've reviewed today, but like them for reasons other than chocolate.

1 comment:

TammyJo Eckhart said...

I removed two comments that were basically commercials for companies. If companies wish to be featured on The Chocolate Cult they need to talk to me about that.

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