Saturday, February 4, 2012

Lindt Dark Chocolate Selection

Lindt has a special R.S.V.P. Program where you can find speciality products from them year around.  One of their consultants, Amy Sue, sent us several samples of these items and today I want to reveal the "Dark Chocolate Selection" while you still have time to order it before Valentine's Day, now a mere 10 days away, Sisters and Brothers.  There are 14 pieces in this 5.11 oz collection with a total of six different varieties of chocolates, one of them has a milk chocolate shell.  However there is no guidebook included nor a map inside; I couldn't even find an online listing of the various chocolate Lindt offers in these gift boxes so we'll be flying entirely blind in terms of the pieces.  There is a huge down side to this for anyone giving gifts or receiving them -- how can you be certain about allergens?  True, tree nuts, coffee, milk, soy, all sorts of potential allergens are listed on the ingredients but which pieces have these?  For your Chocolate Priestess this means I have to try them all and I cannot turn to our Acolytes for advice and assistance until after the fact.

We'll start with the upper left piece of chocolate then work our way across and back to the left to start the second line of chocolates. Remember, Sisters and Brothers, Moderation and Purposefulness so your Chocolate Priestess did not eat this entire box but instead shared nine pieces, eating only five of these and giving one (two actually) to one of our Mocha Acolytes.  While I'm disappointed that this box does not list the type of each piece, helping to avoid both allergy and taste problems, it is good that there are 2-3 pieces per type with the exception of one.  Why does that please me? Much easier to share and thus much easier to follow our principles for using our Sacred Substance.  I know this is always a challenge with great chocolate so having multiple pieces of the same variety makes it easy to share.

Our first piece is one of the trio of rounded dark chocolates.  Around the edge these words flow: "Lindt & Sprüngli Maitre Chocolatier Suisse Depuis 1845" while inside is their logo which is a dragon.  The diameter of the base is 1 1/8th inch but the top is only 1 inch so it gentle slopes inward while standing 5/8th of an inch tall.  This has a solid dark cocoa scent when I bring it to my nose.  Taking a bite, the thick shell makes only a soft sound and reveals a semi-soft center that has a burst of hazelnut flavor to it.  The nut mixes well with the darker chocolate, neither dominating the piece but the hazelnut is still strong enough that if you don't like that particular nut you'll probably want to avoid it.  With tree nuts, this is a chocolate I could not share with my own husband who has severe allergies.  I'll have to find others to share with I guess.  Any volunteers reading this?

For the next chocolate I can sense through the dark cocoa scent  a strong caramel tang when I take in a whiff of these. A bit more narrow than a traditional tear drop at 1 5/8 inches long, 0.75 inches at the widest part, and 5/8 inch tall at the greatest rise, the caramel colored drop is definitely tear drop shaped. To confirm both the color and my nose, the word "Caramel" is written on this drop at the top.  The dark shell makes a good snap when I take a bite. Inside this is far more complex than I imagined with two layers -- a solid milk chocolate on the bottom with an slowly oozing tangy caramel on the top.  The tear drop itself tastes a bit more like butterscotch than caramel though they can taste similar depending on the butter content of the caramel.  In all this one piece then offers four distinctive flavors that do not blend together much and thus maintain their individual natures that do work well leaving the darker chocolate as the final flavor in my mouth.

The heart-shaped pieces with the golden flecks also have a bit of a caramel like fragrance but I think they might be something else, perhaps butterscotch?  Butterscotch is one of the ingredients listed so something must be this flavor and the hearts have a define caramel or butterscotch tang to their scent.  Scent can be difficult to identify and as we've revealed time and again, Sisters and Brothers, it can also not be indictive of the actual intensity of flavor so let's take a bite of this 5/8 inch thick heart.   The dark shell is very thick and makes a good snap when I take a bite but inside it has only a half layer of caramel like material that has a very strong, darker orange flavor, almost like a blood orange perhaps.  Blood orange, orange, and bitter orange are all listed in the ingredients but I can't determine the difference in this one heart.  The wider part is over an inch wide and has much more of the orange semi-liquid substance in it.  The orange is very strong but at the end the dark chocolate wins out in my mouth.

That does it for our trios so we move now to the duo of these cup-like shaped dark pieces with visible crunchy pieces on the top along with a dot of white.  They kind of look like little pies, don't they, Sisters and Brothers?  Much like piece, the bottom is slightly smaller in diameter than the top, 7/8 versus 1.25 inches.  This is the tallest chocolate in the box at 0.75 inches.  The scent is more dark chocolate but the white dot makes a strong creamy fragrance.  The top is very crunchy and thick which makes a loud snap when I bite into it as well as a continuous crunch as I chew.  The inside is this thick almost jelly like center with a flavor that is sweet.  But the darker crunchy top's essence is what lingers in my mouth so I can enjoy this unusual flavor that turns out to be plum according to the ingredients label.  If I've had a chocolate plum before it has been a long, long time ago so this is a very rare experience that I enjoyed.

There is one solo piece in this collection and it does not look like dark chocolate at all but milk chocolate instead.  Shaped like a tear drop with one dark drop on top, I'm very curious as to what this might be in a Dark Chocolate Selection.  I hope you can tell in the photo but the outside of this piece is two layer -- the milk chocolate on the top with the dark drop but also the base is darker chocolate.  The body of the chocolate is 0.5 inches but the drop is another 0.25 inches added that while it is just a touch over 1.5 inches long with a width of just short of one inch as well.  On the bottom "Lindt" is etched over and over into the darker chocolate but there is no way my camera is good enough to show that to you all.  This has another hazelnut scent to it mingled with the dark and mik chocolate but I have not idea what is inside until I take a bite which makes a soft snap.  The inside is very solid and makes a crunch as I chew though I can't see any crispy pieces in it. The first flavor is a subtle milk chocolate, then a definitie hazelnut that blends into a darker bitterness.  The drop on top is a dark crunchy almost wafer like treat; yes, I bit it off separately so I could report it to you all, Sisters and Brothers.  This is a cookie like chocolate and there are both wafer and biscuit cookies listed on the ingredients on the back of the box so this must be where there were hiding.

Our sixth and final piece from this box is the only one that I and one of our Mocha Acolytes, Tim, could determine was a coffee flavor.  I got to hang out with him this past week so we spent some time looking through the box.  You see, Sisters and Brothers, both coffee and cappuccino crisps were listed on the ingredients so I knew there had to be one piece but possibly two with coffee.  Only this one had any coffee scent to it.  The dark chocolate triangle also has the milk chocolate topper that looks like a coffee bean so we thought this was a good guess as the mocha piece.  Here is Tim's opinion: I expected a soft center but it did not have one.  The crisps inside give a pleasant crunch and change of texture that mimics a coffee bean's texture and sound.  The coffee flavor is stronger than the chocolate and reminds me of a mocha drink.  These triangles have 1 inch sides and rise to a height of over half an inch.  You could easily make this three bites and enjoy the textures and flavor that Tim described or just pop one into your mouth but slow is generally better for enjoying our Sacred Substance.

While there may be R.S.V.P. Program consultants in your area, I hope all of you will contact Amy Sue since she was so gracious to send us these samples.  And there are more to come your way, too, as the 2012 rolls along.  Keep checking back in with us and let us know if you find a consultant in your area or if you order from Amy Sue.  She has been a delightful contact for us on The Chocolate Cult to work with.  This Dark Chocolate Selection earns status as a worthy Sacrament for Valentine's Day if you keep in mind the allergens that we've tried to reveal to you.

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