Saturday, November 10, 2012

South Bend Gift Basket 2

As the major winter holidays are now approaching, I wanted to share more with you all from the gift basket we were given by the Chocolate Café folks in Indianapolis back in late May, 2012.  The Chocolate Café is a retail shop for The South Bend Chocolate Company right here in Indiana, where your Chocolate Priestess currently lives.  A gift basket is a lovely gift for a family or couple because you get variety that will hopefully have something for everyone but also it comes pretty much wrapped for a lovely display.

Today while I'm actually at the 10th Annual Chocolate Walk for a charity, I wanted to give you three items to consider as you start thinking about upcoming holidays.  What?  You haven't started thinking about them yet?  Well, let us hope this starts you thinking ahead.  Remember that when stored under temperature and moisture controls, chocolate will keep for three months to a full year so why not save some money and time later and invest today for the holidays you want to give gifts for?  In the photo to the left you can see that today we'll look at a milk chocolate bar, turtles, and The LaSalle a mint chocolate treat that South Bend Chocolate Company is known for statewide.

Let's start with the Turtles and see how SBC does with this commonly made treats.  This is the milk chocolate variety but they also have a sugar free type as well.  This is their standard milk chocolate that they put on most of what they make -- cocoa butter and chocolate liquor and a sizable amount of vanilla as well to give them a distinctive if not unique taste.  As max the turtles around just under two inches in diameter and about 1/3rd of an inch thick.  You can see that they are not identical suggesting a hands-on assemble.  Through the shell I can only smell the vanilla and the chocolate.  The coating has a slightly shiny gleam to it and it starts to melt on my fingertips.  Biting into it reveals a mostly tangy caramel with several half pieces of pecans.  This isn't too sweet so the nuts, the caramel, and the milk chocolate all blend very well.  Further bites do build up the caramel so just slow down a bit between bites to get a fuller taste of the chocolate.

The LaSalle are a South Bend Chocolate favorite and the 3.5 oz box is very common in their gift baskets.  These are a milk chocolate peppermint candy with the peppermint mixed into the milk chocolate filling center.  The peppermint fragrance comes through the milk chocolate easily.  The coating is so thick that it makes soft sound when I take a bite.  Immediately I can taste the very creamy milk chocolate followed by peppermint that adds a bit of cooling sensation to my mouth.  Letting a bite melt in your mouth takes a bit of time but it does increase both the milk chocolate and then the peppermint's power on your tongue.  For the milk chocolate lover who just can't really handle the bitterness of a York Peppermint Patty, these LaSalle mints are a good choice; peppermint lovers will enjoy these, too.

Finally we'll look at the Milk Chocolate Candy Bar that has 15 sections of 3.5 oz of their basic milk chocolate.  Each section has this three wave pattern over  diagonal lines on it.  Taking just one section is easy because the chocolate is a bit soft and make no sound at all.  It has a strong vanilla and creamy chocolate scent to it and even feels slightly soft in my fingers.  Biting into it does make a bit of a noise.  It melts easily and soon my entire mouth is coated in creamy chocolate that builds up in intensity but has far less vanilla flavor than either the scent or the previous milk chocolate covered treats in this basket suggested.  This is still more creamy than the standard Hershey's bar so if you like a creamy milk chocolate then give this one a try.

One of the nicest things about the gift baskets from South Bend Chocolate is that if you order one from their website you have the ability to pick a few of the items.  I bet if you walked into one of their Chocolate Cafes they could help you create a very special gift.  You know, both Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up so take a good look at this company especially if you are Hoosier, and consider them as one of the places you buy from this season.  For using as many local products as they can and for producing a signature taste, these treats get a Sacramental status today.

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