Tuesday, August 11, 2009

You Choose the Chocolate Coconut Acolyte -- Vote Now

Sisters and Brothers, below are the Postulants' essays for you to read and then vote on who will be The Chocolate Cult's "Chocolate Coconut Acolyte." Your votes are necessary for this because unlike other religions we want the full participation of all members, be they formal followers or casual observers.

Below is the Sacred Tasting Trial -- the Chocolate and the Postulants:

mavido79's Essay:

Greetings from a potential chocolate acolyte. So far this path has been enlightening to say the least. I’ve been eating and enjoying chocolate, both with and without coconut, since the Johnson administration but I’ve never experienced it in such an intense manor as taking part in the Sacred Taste Trial. These three pieces of candy all had similar elements and yet ended up being very different and I developed very distinct opinions about them. I’ll share mine here in reverse order of preference.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Truffle—The candy is somewhat large compared to other truffles I’ve eaten, about 1 ½” in height and width. There is an ingredient sprinkled over the top of it that appears to be finely ground toasted coconut but when I attempted to verify this by licking some of it off, the flavor was so bland as to defy identification. The shell is thick, snapping softly when I bite into it and melts very slowly in my mouth. At first the taste is more sweet than cocoa-ish but eventually the chocolate flavor develops. The ganache has the consistency of creamy cake frosting and is very sweet when it first hits my taste buds. The flavor is not 100% cocoa but I don’t really taste coconut nor do I detect its aroma. It takes three bites before the coconut flavor finally emerges and it’s obviously a coconut liqueur as there is an alcohol tinge to it. Given the underwhelming quality of the chocolate and the lack of any real coconut in it, I can’t see myself ever spending money to obtain one of these.

Milk Chocolate Haystack—For those of you who are unfamiliar, a haystacks are made by combining a crunchy ingredient such as rice crispies, chow mien noodles or (in our case) toasted coconut with a sweet, smooth ingredient such as caramel, melted butterscotch chips or (again, in our case) chocolate. The mixture is then dropped by spoonfuls and allowed to harden. Because of the spooning process, no two pieces will look quite the same. This one measured 1 ½” by ¾” and stood just under an inch tall in most places. I closed my eyes and inhaled the mild chocolate/coconut aroma before I took the first bite. The crunch was loud and distinct. It had a wonderful proportion of coconut to chocolate and the crunch continued until I finally swallowed that bite. The chocolate was already melting on my fingertips when I took the second bite. I let this one melt on my tongue for a few minutes before chewing The chocolate was creamy and actually had a slight ‘milky’ taste to it, something you don’t often find in milk chocolate. The coconut flavor wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet thanks to the toasting process and worked nicely with the chocolate. I could start to feel the cocoa rush. The final bite was the best of all. The rough texture of the coconut scraped across my tongue while the aroma released by the melting chocolate traveled through the back of my throat and into my head. Just this side of nirvana in three bites.

Dark Chocolate Haystack—With the darker color this piece reminded me of a chocolate/oatmeal no-bake cookie (which could qualify as a haystack if oatmeal were crunchier). It measured nearly one inch in all dimensions and had a slight indentation down the center, making it resemble a walnut. The chocolate softened quickly as I held it between my thumb and forefinger and the marvelous scents began to tickle my nose. At first all I smelled was the coconut but then the chocolate made its presence known. The toasted coconut plays very well with the dark chocolate. It crunched nicely from the first bite to the last chew. The cocoa flavor became more pronounced on the second bite as I let it melt in my mouth. The coconut flavor came through once the majority of the cocoa had dissipated. After I swallowed I noticed a faint chocolate aftertaste prevailed. On the third bite the coconut had an almost nutty flavor that pushed me straight into the nirvana zone but I mostly attribute that to my preference for dark chocolate.

Thank you for taking the time to read my reviews. As I stated earlier, my love affair with chocolate and coconut goes back many years. So do my own personal critiques of chocolate in general. I’ve learned that expensive chocolate doesn’t always mean good chocolate and that cheap chocolate can be very good (ask me some time about the wonderful 55 cent dark chocolate bar I picked up at Aldi). I know that eating chocolate (with or without coconut) isn’t automatically a spiritual experience but with the right chocolate and the time to put all your senses to work, it can lift your spirits even higher. I’d like you to vote for me so I can direct you towards those chocolate coconut combinations which will do just that."

spanishbubbles' Essay:

Greetings, wonderful followers of the Chocolate Cult! This past Friday I was honored with the chance to participate in a ritual chocolate tasting. I, and another qualified follower, were invited to the home of the Chocolate Priestess where, after a lesson on tasting from the Priestess, we each sampled three chocolates—a dark chocolate coconut truffle, a milk chocolate haystack, and a dark chocolate haystack. I shall review each in turn.

I began with the truffle. It was fairly large, about 1 1/2 by 2 inches, and the top was dusted with toasted coconut. The first smell that hit me was, unexpectedly, mint. I could eventually pick out the coconut smell, subtly, under the mint and chocolate. I took a first bite, and got mostly the hard chocolate shell, which crumbled in my mouth. It was delicious, but not very coconutty. I had exposed the smooth center, which was pleasant to look out. I licked a few times—it had a gel texture, but not much flavor. My second bite I let sit in my mouth, rotating it so that the shell and the gel were alternately on my tongue. The gel had a lovely texture against the roof of my mouth, but was disagreeable against my tongue. I began to feel the chocolate tingle. Overall, this chocolate had insufficient coconut, only the toasted stuff on top. The flavors did combine nicely toward the end of a bite, and the shell chocolate was very good, but overall this was not a sterling example of how chocolate and coconut can combine.

The milk chocolate haystack was a treat. It was about 1 1/2 by 1 inch, and had the lumpy, misshapen look that gives a thrill to every chocolate-coconut lover, and raises a red flag for those as don’t care for the combination. It smelled heavily of both chocolate and coconut. My first bite I can hear the crunch of the coconut as it scrapes against my teeth. I chew, still with an audible crunch, and find the chocolate-coconut to be in perfect proportion. My second bite I hold in my mouth, allowing the chocolate to melt away from the coconut. Eventually I chew, and the coconut that was crisp has turned soft and chewy as I held it in my mouth. There is an almost salty taste as I chew. The last bite I hold in my mouth, trying not to involve my tongue at all. I get very pleasant bursts of sweet on my tongue as I switch the piece from cheek to cheek. The chocolate is creamy as is runs down my throat. A good tingle, and little pieces of coconut remain in my mouth for several minutes. A wonderful candy.

The dark chocolate haystack looks similar to it’s milk counterpart, only, obviously, darker. It smells, surprisingly, somewhat sweeter. I go through a similar process, a bite I chew first, and a second bite I hold in my mouth. This time I begin to chew the second bite before all the chocolate is gone, while the coconut is still rough and crispy. It’s sticky when I actually bite it. It’s very similar to the milk haystack, but it does have the rich, smoky flavor of dark chocolate. Delightful!

Even if I’m not selected for the position of chocolate-coconut acolyte, and I know that I have stiff competition, it has been a pleasure to have the tasting experience. I would love to continue on, enjoying wonderful chocolate and working with the Priestess."

Sisters and Brothers, go to the top of the left hand side of this page and vote for either mavido79 or spanishbubbles. Votes will be counted through Thursday, August 13, 2009, with an Acolyte officially named on Friday, August 14 so she can begin her work of helping us all make the best choice of which chocolate coconut treats are good potential Sacraments for our use and enjoyment.

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