The Chocolate Cult: 1/2 Angelic Chocolate

Saturday, May 29, 2010

1/2 Angelic Chocolate

The wonderful folks from Island Angel Chocolates were exceedingly generous with their Offering to The Chocolate Cult, Sisters and Brothers.  So much so that your Chocolate Priestess has decided to split them into two Saturday Sacraments.  Today we will look at the top half of the box of chocolates they sent her, at the end of June we will reveal the bottom half of that same box to you all.  To do this required me to spread out each half over a few weeks though this review is written, as always, as I'm eating them so you get immediate sensory reports.  Inside the box is a color coded list of the truffles but Mona, the chocolatier behind Island Angel Chocolates, also sent me a letter listing each one so I don't misidentify any of them and because some our seasonal flavors not listed on the card.  I'm not going to reveal these in the order you see above but instead in pairs that I think might help me appreciate each truffle and play off of each other so check out the coupled photographs as well.

We'll start with the two loganberry truffles, one milk chocolate and one dark, so I directly compare them to each other.  They both have a berry fragrance to them though I can't honestly claim I could tell a loganberry from most other berries I don't routinely consume by scent. Both are cool and smooth aside from the drizzles of purple on them and I know they will start to melt on my fingertips if I hold them too long.  The "Loganberry Milk" bites open without a sound even though the shell is thick.  Inside is a semi-solid very berry sweet cream colored center that melts in my mouth along with the chocolate, each essence balancing the other.  The "Loganberry Dark" makes a soft snap when I take a bite and the two flavors compete more heavily for dominance in this truffle with the bitterness of the chocolate winning out in the aftertaste.  Both are good and if you like loganberry the only question is your chocolate preference.

The next two are milk chocolate varieties "Milk Chocolate Hazelnut" and "Milk Chocolate Mocha". Both have the secondary flavor as a light scent but as you can see they also look different with the "Mocha" having a small coffee bean on top while the other is merely splattered with more milk chocolate over the top.   "Hazelnut" makes a soft snap when I take a bite into a mostly solid lighter colored centered.  The hazelnut fragrance increases once the truffle is opened up and the flavor melds well into the milk chocolate making this a well balanced chocolate that fulfills what we want when we see this nut combined with our Sacred Substance.  The "Mocha" makes no sound when I take a bite and inside is a darker, slightly softer center with a mild coffee flavor that I don't mind but which I'm expecting our Mocha Acolyte might find a bit subtle.  However the coffee essence continues to become the dominant flavor of this truffle so I expect after a second bite you coffee lovers might enjoy this more than I do.

Next I'll turn to the "Raspberry Jubilee" which has tiny red crystals sprinkled over the top and the "Majestic Milk" that is drizzled with more milk chocolate.  There is a light raspberry scent that comes through the milk chocolate shell of the "Raspberry Jubilee".  The shell breaks open easily and silently to reveal a semi-soft very sweet milk chocolate center.  This is so sweet that it almost tastes like a raspberry juice instead of the raw fruit itself, a description the Milk Chocolate Acolyte concurs with and adds that he notices it is very subtle compared to the chocolate itself.  This sweetness and subtleness makes this a different raspberry chocolate than we are used to eating and I am personally pleased to taste this variation of this common combination.  The "Majestic Milk" has thinner shell that makes no noise when I take a bite and a large semi-soft milk chocolate center.  The chocolate here has a creamy, smooth texture and flavor with a strong vanilla kick to it as well.

Next is "Awesome Anise" and "Alicante Chili Cinnamon" which should pair a licorice sort of truffle with a hot hot hot one.  I'll be sure to rinse out my mouth and sample these well apart from each other, Sisters and Brothers, so I get the full experience of them individually.  "Awesome Anise" does indeed have that licorice fragrance when I take a whiff of it and it is covered in the Anise seeds to mark it clearly.  The dark chocolate shell makes a soft snap when I take a bite.  Inside is a semi-soft dark center with a very strong licorice essence that battles with the bitterness of the dark chocolate before making an interesting mix.  Have you heard of chocolate licorice before?  I have tried it and I've always hated it but this is actually pretty good.  "Alicante Chili Cinnamon" even smells intense when I breath it in through the dark chocolate shell.  The thick shells surprisingly makes no noise when I take a bite.  Also surprising is the light spicy nature of the semi-soft dark center that tastes very creamy with a little kick of the spices.  If hot chocolates have not been your thing in the past, you might want to give this a try because it was very pleasant and not overwhelming at all.

To cool things done we'll try the "Orange Clove" and "Lime Dark" truffles next.  I can't really make out what the edible ink imprint on top of the "Orange Clove" is supposed to be but it marks the flavor clearly compared to the others.  The scent of orange is very light, almost covered by the clove and the dark chocolate.  After a silent bite, I find inside a semi-soft dark shell with an almost alcoholic twang of orange and clove flavor.  This creates a very strange aftertaste that lingers beyond the dark chocolate and which is hotter than the previous chili flavor was.  The "Lime Dark" has only a dark chocolate scent but the slice of lime on top clearly marks this variety.  The dark shell here makes a soft snap when I take a bite.  I'm surprised when the soft center almost melts in my mouth upon first contact.  It floods my tongue with lime sweetness and coolness which blends into the bitter chocolate pretty well.  By itself the lime center is a bit too sweet for my tastes but the chocolate calms it down to create a very good flavor combination that even the Milk Chocolate Acolyte smiles about after tasting.

Finally our top layer of this ample offering from Island Angel Chocolates has "Royal Grand" and a "Dark Swiss Caramel" truffles to send us off in a sweet way.   The "Royal Grand" not surprisingly has a sweet rumlike fragrance to it when I take a sniff of it's milk chocolate shell.  The top is drizzled peach color perhaps white chocolate but I'm not sure except that it looks unique among the selection.  The shell makes a soft snap when I take a bite.  The semi-soft milk chocolate center has both a creamy chocolate flavor but also a slight rum essence and burn that fades back into the chocolate itself as the aftertaste.  The "Dark Swiss Caramel" is odd in that it doesn't have much of a scent outside the dark shell with milk chocolate drizzle and almost colorless crystals.  This dark shell makes a loud snap and I quickly catch the semi-liquidity center on my tongue that becomes coated in tangy caramel.  Caramel and dark chocolate always taste great to me and this liquidity quality adds to the experiences by combining two textures for my mouth to explore.  The liquid disappears quickly taking the sweet tang with it so that a cocoa buzz can be felt by the end of just one bite.  An excellent chocolate all around.

This might seem superficial but one of the things I appreciate most about these truffles was how easy the variety guide and the truffles themselves were to identify.  Sometimes variation on decoration is so subtle that you can't tell, sometimes the fragrance so light you can't detect it through the chocolate shells, but each of these truffles was easy to name and therefore I could focus on just appreciating them through all my senses.  There was more variety here for my senses to experience than normal for truffles so I'm very pleased, Sisters and Brothers.  Would you like to get your own Island Angel truffles?  Look them up online or go visit their store at 138 2nd Street in Langley, Washington.  In one month, your Chocolate Priestess will reveal the bottom half of this wonderful offering from Island Angel Chocolates in another "Saturday 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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