Thursday, May 7, 2009

Special Sacramental Review

Sisters and Brothers, in the country where your Chocolate Priestess lives, today is a National Day of Prayer. I wanted to do this special review for you in the hopes that as you read you will also consider your nation and your role in how it functions and how you as a citizen can help it become healthier and more in tune with the needs of all its people. Conveniently, the next product on my review schedule was created for a charity, so I wanted to reveal its quality. However, the website for the company that created it is down, and I want you to be able to immediately check out everything I share with you. I will return to that product later when their website is back up.

Today I want to review the nature of Krause's Chocolates in a box of 12 assorted flavors they sent me. Here we see their signature dark brown box. The "K" looks more red in my photograph than it does to my eye because of the lighting I need to use. This is a 1/2 lb. box of chocolates, which means each of the 12 pieces weighs about 0.67 oz., so these are sizable pieces. According to the website, Krause's offers 80 flavors to choose from, so this is merely a sampling of what they have to offer. Normally they sell these assortments in boxes ranging from 1-5 pounds.

As you can see here, Sisters and Brothers, each piece is shaped and decorated differently. Included with the box was an identification chart that lists flavors by shape and design on each piece. I'll do my best to identify everything for you as we go along. The smallest piece in my sample is approximately 1 inch across, while the largest is close to 2 inches in length. Since this is not a Saturday I don't want to eat every bit of this chocolate; it falls outside my personal spiritual guidelines for moderation in my life. I will eat one bite of each type and save the rest for another day.

There are dark and milk chocolate pieces revealed when I open the box, easily done after I cut the tape that holds the lid down on two sides. There is a bit of bubble wrap and tissue paper to hold the pieces in place. They float in individual paper cups, but they are so large they do not seem to have moved much in transport. The first scent that hits me is a mixture of cocoa and nuts. This selection clearly has several nut flavors.

I remove what I am sure is the "Peanut Butter Meltaway" first. This has mini peanut butter chips on top of a 1.5 × 1.5 inch square. The milk chocolate here is quickly lost to the solid peanut flavor of the slightly dry cream inside. It isn't unpleasant, but more cocoa would be nice.

I rinse my mouth and let several minutes pass. Remember, give your mouth and nose time between chocolates so you can fully appreciate each new flavor when you try an assortment. This is an easy two-step process that will become second nature to you, Sisters and Brothers, as you practice it.

Next to it in the box is a 1.75 inch rectangular piece covered with rainbow sprinkles, the "Chocolate Cream" flavor. The sprinkles create an interesting texture, and crunch as I bite into this piece. The chocolate of the inner cream is sharp and intense, wonderful, an immediate minor rush of cocoa on my tongue that tingles in my mouth. This piece is the full sensory experience, so I highly recommend "Chocolate Cream."

The next piece is a 1.5 inch rectangle which is caramel on top with peanuts and milk chocolate on the bottom: "Peanut Caramel." It bites off with effort, because this caramel is very thick. The chocolate is overwhelmed by the caramel and the peanuts; the caramel is so thick that it takes several minutes of chewing, which releases more and more of its sweetness and makes it the dominant flavor.

I'm not sure of this next piece; it's round and has a light sprinkle of red on it, but I think another candy in the box might as well. When I breathe in the smell, there is a hint of fruit, so I take a bite of the 1 × 1 inch round piece. The outer dark chocolate shell snaps and then melts quickly. The dark chocolate cream inside also melts, and the flavor is revealed: "Strawberry Cream." This is another piece that delivers a buzz very quickly. The flavor lingers for several minutes as well, the fruit fading into the dark cocoa.

The next round dark chocolate piece has a coffee scent, so this must be the "Mocha Latte," and the the red on it was a transfer from the other piece. A snap of the hard shell reveals that inside it is much like the previous piece, but the coffee flavor is very intense. Luckily chewing the hard shell and the cream together make the flavor melt, but the coffee is still the dominant in this relationship.

This next piece is a milk chocolate that I can't smell anything but chocolate on, and I can't decipher the design or lack thereof. It's molded into the wrapper, which peels off easily. The shell is very thick but only makes a soft snap. The inside is soft, and after a few moments it reveals a sharp sweetness, so this must be the "Maple Cream" flavor. This is a well-balanced piece, the two flavors blending well to create a tangy milk chocolate taste in my mouth.

That takes us to the halfway mark. I'm going to go bike for 50 to 60 minutes, Sisters and Brothers, then I will continue to reveal the nature of this potential sacrament from Krause Chocolates. Refreshed 55 minutes later I can begin to look at the second half of Krause's offering to The Chocolate Cult.

The next rectangular piece is "Pecan Caramel" by its smell. Again this is a milk chocolate base topped by caramel and nut layers. The caramel here is softer than the one with the peanuts, but again the sweetness of the nuts and caramel overwhelm the milk chocolate. A good flavor, just not very chocolatey, and as time passes the bitterness of the cocoa entirely disappears.

The next one is an oblong, but its dark chocolate with three raised stripes isn't on this list. Smelling it, all I get is the cocoa. Inside is a soft creamy almost peanut butter color, but it doesn't taste like that. It's hard to describe. The texture is a bit rough and the taste a bit ... I think this may be "Ginger Crackers" flavor, Sisters and Brothers. Definite buzz from the dark cocoa.

A huge rectangular piece at 1.74 × 1 inch is my next piece from this assortment. Biting into this monster I taste caramel which is sticky and tangy, as well as milk chocolate. This "Caramel," then, is different from others revealed to this Cult, with its chocolate coating. Very heavy to hold in my hand and very rich in my mouth, it takes a bit of chewing, and the caramel is the more powerful flavor of the two, lingering for a few minutes.

After cleansing my mouth, drinking some water and waiting for some minutes, I turn to the next piece. This is an oddly shaped piece, and I'm fearing it may be coconut, given the white flecks on it ... your Chocolate Priestess is not a fan of coconut. Tentatively I sniff it and get only milk chocolate. I take a small bite, and indeed this is the "Coconut" piece. I can say for certain it is very much coconut, and it completely overpowers the milk chocolate.

The last two pieces both have chopped nuts on them. The square piece must be "Buttercrunch." It is huge at 1.5 ×1.75 inches — who cares if it isn't a perfect square if it takes good? The nuts smell like pecans to me as I take a bite. The center is hard, like a toffee, but it doesn't have the toffee taste; no, this is indeed a buttery taste. It crunches as I bite, sticking to the top of my teeth, which requires me to work the pieces loose with my tongue, adding to the buttery flavor throughout my mouth. This another example of the internal flavor overwhelming the chocolate.

The last piece is dark chocolate molded into the little brown paper cup. The scent of the nuts on top is almost nothing, and looking at them I'd guess walnuts, but that doesn't fit with any of the brief descriptions I have on the sheet that came in the box. The outer coating is hard; it comes off without revealing the inner part in my mouth. But this gives me time to taste just the dark chocolate and nuts, which turn out to be almonds. Inside are the almonds themselves, so this is the "Almonds" cluster. The almonds are huge; they are hard to bite through, so this will be a piece that takes a while to eat. The dark chocolate is in both the shell and the inner part holding the nuts together. A wonderful blend of flavors on my tongue that makes my eyes water with the cocoa rush.

If you choose to consume Krause's Chocolate as part of your Saturday or Special Sacraments, consider the range of flavors and ask for ones you will thoroughly enjoy. Since I couldn't find nutritional facts beyond an ingredient list, I urge you to carefully practice moderation when you eat. Be aware that as these are packed, any allergens are going to mix unless you carefully ask for specific flavors.

All of these, minus my own bias against coconut, were great tasting pieces of handmade candy. Some provided a good cocoa buzz while others were overpowered by the other flavors. At least none were so lightly flavored that I couldn't determine what they were. This means that Krause's Chocolates did a good job with this Special Sacrament.

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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