Friday, September 24, 2010

Dating, Gifts & Chocolate

Continuing the them from Wednesday, Sisters and Brothers, I want to share a few more gifts I've been given, why they were good or not so choices and a gift we gave ourselves last night.

As I hope you remember, a while back I gave you a little photo tour of a shop in my town which has an entire half aisle of chocolates from around the globe.  It's a great place to find products that are not available anywhere else in town.  Two groups of friends realized this for one of my past birthdays and got me some bars from the event.

A trio gave me the Dagoba bars you see to the left.  Three flavors -- Lemon Ginger in 68% cacao, Raspberries & Rosehips in 59% cacao, and Lavender Blueberry in 59% cacao.  The other friend who gave me the gift from her European trip, also gave me one of the lavender bars.   We all laughed because we all knew where they went shopping.  I simply gave the lavender bar to another friend at some point in the year.  I'm not allergic to any of the bars so I practiced Moderation and had a bit of each and then also shared them.  I liked all of them though they are definitely not the best examples of these flavor combinations I've ever had.  the good thing about them all is that they can be broke into small sections easily and that helps with Moderation and sharing both.

The other gift my traveling friend gave from that same local store included three bigger exotic bars.  Two from Vosges -- "Barcelona" and "Oaxaca" -- and one from Valor.  These were truly unique flavors and one, the "Barcelona" I couldn't share at home because it had nuts so I'll save it to share with other friends.  My least favorite here was the 70% cacao with pieces of pears from Valor.  While the blend of the bitter chocolate with the sweet pear was nice the pieces of pears themselves were a bit disappointing.  I realize they need to be dry to be in the bar but their uniform shape was displeasing to my eyes for some reason and a direct bite into a piece didn't have the best texture.

Last night was a dating anniversary for my husband and I.  We mark three anniversaries in our lives -- dating (meaning we decided to see each other exclusively), engagement, and wedding.  We had an evening of pseudo Italian food at the Olive Garden but not dessert there because I bought an Italian cake from our local co-op.  This Balconi brand had three varieties at our store -- vanilla, hazelnut chocolate, and this triple chocolate version -- I think it is rather obvious why I got this one.

It was on sale and I thought it might be worth our trying.  The cake inside was protected by a plastic box that was great for saving what we didn't eat.  Word of caution, don't turn the package upside down though because the cake will fall abit and the lovely top get mushed slightly. 

You just lift out the cake using the tabs from the paper bottom and lift it again to replace it in the plastic box.  It is easy to cut once it is resting on just the paper bottom and sides because the side fold down.  Oddly this cake should have five servings -- each one 100g of a 500g cake.  I had no idea how to cut it like that so I just did four pieces and we each had one.

The cake itself has layers.  Two layers of creamy darker cake, three layers of lighter, thin cake, and then topped with white, milk and dark chocolate shavings.  This is not a healthy cake with about 26g of fats, over 60g carbs, and easily over 500 calories per piece as I cut it.  Definitely we could not eat any more and frankly this was after we went out for a few hours post dinner.  It is difficult for me to describe the taste other than to say that it reminded me very much of cakes I sampled when I lived in Italy for 9 months many years ago. It does not have hazelnuts -- exceedingly common in Italy and other parts of Europe -- be we were careful nonetheless.  No allergy problems to report.

The next two days it is my birthday and birthday party so I'm sure there will be more chocolate surprises ahead.

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