Saturday, February 10, 2018

Eat Your Heart Out for Valentine's Day

Divine Decadents Edible Chocolate Heart Container
Sometimes when I'm out visiting relatives or exploring the world for work of fun I find wonderful chocolate and candy shops. This was the case back in 2010 when my hubby and I went to visit my parents back in a small Iowa town. My father said "Hey, there's a candy shop now in Shellsburg" which is less than a half an hour from where I grew up. We went and I met the lovely lady, Judy Shaeffer who ran the shop called Divine Decadents. In 2018 they are still around and still offering a wide range of chocolates, candies, desserts, and even lunch once a week. Judy sent me some of her Valentine's Day special treats that you can find if you go visit the shop at 109 Pearl St, Shellsburg IA 52332. You can also call Judy at (319) 436-3566 or visit the shop online but to get these treats, you may need to make a little trip. So let's check out the the adorable products Judy sent us to review. The two treats were sent to The Chocolate Cult in exchange for a fair and honest review article; no other form of compensation was received.

I'm going to start with a treat that was hidden in this little plastic take-out container. But before I do, any guesses as to what might be inside?

What's inside for Valentine's Day?
This adorable fellow was inside!

Valentine Mouse, Divine Decadents
Normally I wouldn't be pleased to find a mouse in my food but a food made in the shape of a mouse is cute! I must confess that I did a medical procedure on the mouse to discover what was inside it. I suspected a cherry given the color and shape of the tail and I was right! I cut the mouse behind the ears and discovered a sugary cream and a cherry inside. The cherry half was a candied cherry in sugary cream and overall very sweet, the creamy milk chocolate still stood out. The ears on the mouse appear to be necco wafers, two different colors but they mostly just add a crunchiness to that half of the mouse not much flavor. The face is pointed and when I peel off some of the chocolate I discover a kiss under it. This is clever! This would be ideal for the child in your life who would likely scream in delight at what it looks like and how it tastes.

Let's return to the edible chocolate heart that was our first photo of this article. Inside were packed 4 truffles. Without a flavor guide, I had to explore each truffle individually with an open mind. I did, however, use the pull down menu to try and match up a flavor title with a truffle. Judy will have to tell me how I did once this review goes live.

Let's look at each truffle starting with the center top one. It is topped with a cinnamon candy. Inside is white solid chocolate with a thin white coating. It doesn't really smell like anything to me. I take a bite and it makes almost no sound. The flavor is not what I was expecting. There is a sweet fruity flavor with a lot of sweetness. I'm really not sure what this flavor is.

The chocolate with the green drizzle has a light mint scent before I cut it open to look inside; the mint fragrance intensifies. The inside is solid chocolate truffle. The chocolate is darker but very fudgy tasting, the mint strengthens with each chew. I'm guessing that this is the Creme de Mint truffle.

The light green truffle with mini chocolate chips on the top is multiple colors inside -- I see browns, whites, greens. Could this be Irish Cream or Pistacho? There are no nuts inside and no pistachio flavor but it has a minty coolness, creaminess, and hints of chocolate or perhaps light coffee. I think this may be the Irish Cream though I'm not getting an alcoholic essence. I do like this one.

Finally the chocolate truffle with sea salt on the top. This one is solid chocolate truffle inside when I cut it in half. When I bring it to my nose I'm getting a spicy scent. The spice flavor only really comes out at the end with a bit of heat, the salt is strong but I can taste the darker chocolate throughout the testing.

That leaves the milk chocolate heart shaped box itself. The box is a mixture of scents probably from the truffles inside. The lid has a red heart that tastes like white candy died, the die isn't overwhelming but this reminds me of white bark, not white chocolate. The lid makes a soft snap when I take a bite and I'm surprised by the immediate intensity of the chocolate, it is more cacao than I was expecting. It is very creamy and has a strong vanilla flavor.This is a very tasty box and if you can pick what truffles to put inside it is a very lovely gift idea.

When I first opened the small box from Divine Decadents I found that there was minimal packing yet everything was biodegradable, like the cornstarch peanuts, or easily recyclable paper. This is a great bonus that demonstrates the loving concern for the environment that I grew up with in Iowa.  Divine Decadents is a great example of how a chocolate and candy business can thrive even in small town America if the owner loves what she does and figures out what her community is interested in. I hope that the next time I'm back in Iowa I can pop in to take some video and introduce you again to Judy, the candy artist who makes all this happen.

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