Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Celebrate Hanukkah with Askinosie

Earlier this year we looked at two of the new CollaBARation bars from Askinosie Chocolate.  We have always loved Askinosie for their bean to bar process that includes and empowers local growers but now they have also become certified Kosher just in time for Hanukkah.  Therefore today before the eight day celebrations really get into gear we want to test and reveal two more flavors of these bars for you all.  I tried these with two others -- one assistant tester for each flavor -- so my report is a combination of our experiences.

Zingerman's dark chocolate is less conched and so it should have a more rustic in texture but also has vanilla beans and sugar crystals.  The front of all Askinosie bars looks identical; I won't put up another photo of that here but I did want to show the backs.  In this bar you can see the reddish rougher texture underneath the plastic wrap. There is no way to reseal these and I traveled with these bars to visit my helpers for each so I took photos before for you all.  The dark scent is very strong here once you get a piece up to your nose.  The first bite crunches but the texture is not as rough as I thought it might be, in fact there is a bit of chewiness because every now and then I hit a vanilla bean pod piece and releases a burst of vanilla.  Depending on the square the saltiness or the vanilla can build up; the salt overwhelms the chocolate but the vanilla continued to support it well.

Cafe Pasqual's has sea salt flakes, Pistachio, and dark milk chocolate made with Goat's milk and some ancho chile!  WOW, that quite a collection of flavors.  As you can see the pistachios are large but only visible on the back of the bar.  In terms of smell the salt, chocolate, and pistachios are strong.  The first thing you notice when you take a bite of this bar is the salt and there is a lot of it, then the pistachios kick in with the chocolate that tastes no different from other dark milk chocolates regardless of the type of milk you are used to.  But then the chile kicks in this comes to overwhelm and dominate all of the chocolate plus the spiciness lingers and lingers for minutes.

This is the first time we can say that we simply didn't like a product from Askinosie and that was disappointing. Blessed Hanukkah to all our Jewish readers! Everyone, please let us know if you can find these Askinosie bars and what you think of them when you give them a try.  There are lots of other varieties of bars as well from Askinosie so please do go check them out and know that if you buy from them you buy not only quality chocolate but a better life for others.

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