Saturday, February 3, 2018

You Need Chocolate, Chocolate, and More Chocolate for Valentine's Day

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Valentine Boxes
Our first feature article of our Year-Long Celebration of Publication of The Chocolate Cult looks at two Valentine's Day themed chocolate boxes from the very first company to entrust us to reveal their creations to the world, a company aptly and deliciously named Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate. If they don't know what they sale from that name, I can't help you more than this and four other feature articles we'll be sharing with you in the future. Today we're going to look at their Valentine Collection and a box of their Peanut Butter Hearts. These two products are half of the Valentine's Day gifts you could buy from Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate. Both boxes were sent to us for free by Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate in exchange for a fair and honest review here on our blog; no other form of compensation was received.

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Peanut Butter Hearts
The first box we will look at is the Peanut Butter Hearts with heart-shaped treats made with milk chocolate covered peanut butter centers. The hearts come 7 to a box, all individually stored in paper and plastic to protect them. Each is a medium brown color and has diagonal grooves along the entire top of the heart.  The hearts have a light chocolate fragrance as well as a light peanut scent before I even bite into one. Biting one in half does not make a sound. The inside is very thick peanut butter that is sweet, creamy, and peanut tasting. The milk chocolate blends immediately with it so I manage to pull out the other half of the filling so I can just taste both ingredients separately. The peanut butter filling is indeed creamy and sweet, the peanut flavor has a roasted quality to them and they are not salty at all. The milk chocolate is creamy and sweet but the chocolate builds up a bit with each chew. Together they make a good treat of the chocolate and peanut butter lover in your life who does not like dark chocolates of any degree.

The second box is the Valentine's Day Collection also with 7-pieces but these are 5 different varieties of chocolates. There are two of the peanut butter hearts we already looked. There is both milk chocolate and dark chocolate pieces that I will lay out one at a time for you to look at. First, this shot of the entire 7 pieces in the box. I took these out of the box but I copies the layout of the chocolates that was inside the box, just moved them a bit closer and put them in a non-brown background so you could see them a clearly. On the back of the box it lists Liquid Caramel Truffle that would be in white chocolate but inside my box was two different sea salt caramels... I'm fine with that because I'm not a huge fan of white chocolate but I know that given the ingredients this would have been a real white chocolate and it would have been nice to share what Chocolate Chocolate Chocolates version of that type of our sacred substance is like. So many companies add oils and fats beyond cocoa butter and that makes it white candy versus white chocolate; this brand is creating real white chocolate.

We'll start with the upper left and work out way through the layout of chocolate you saw above. This time I used a white background to give you a different look at each piece which is important because of the red sheen or red drizzle or swirl on some of them.

First is a Sea Salt Caramel in Milk Chocolate that has a line of the salt over the top of the light brown chocolate. From the top the salt dominate the fragrance but bottom has more chocolate scent with a hint of sweet to it. I bite it in half and the milk chocolate flavor quickly fade into a tangy, buttery caramel followed by a hint of the salt. The caramel is thick and slightly sticky but not too much particularly if you let it melt on your tongue. The amount of salt on the top really impacts the overall flavor and I prefer a bit less with milk chocolate.

The Raspberry Truffle I had our raspberry expert test for me. This piece is slightly larger than the others and very round except for the flat bottom. It is a very dark brown and had a deep read swirl around the top of it. Our tester's words are in italics and I transcribed him live while he ate this. It smells like dark chocolate with a hint of raspberry; from the bottom it has a stronger raspberry fragrance. It snaps well when I bite it in half. (tester makes yum sounds) The chocolate raspberry filling is very smooth, both dark chocolate and raspberry, very well blended together. (the center was) also not gritty which raspberry chocolates often have seeds, this does not. The chocolate shell is very thick. It melts in my fingers as I enjoy the first half. The second half is just as good as the first half. Biting it in half let me see how thick it is. It is very solid. The raspberry is sweet. The dark chocolate shell was also sweet. Tasted both raspberry and dark chocolate at the same time, neither dominated, neither lingered longer. I would buy these!

Between the two peanut butter hearts was a Sea Salt Caramel in Dark Chocolate. This has sprinkled salt on top and is dark brown in color. My camera did not like this piece for some reason. I had to return it a few times to get it to clearer so it does look different from the other photos. This has less salt across the top so I should be able to taste more of the chocolate and caramel. It has a good chocolate fragrance, more from the bottom than the top for obvious salt crystal reasons. I bite off half of it and as expected the dark chocolate makes a sound when I do so but it isn't hard to bite. I get a darker chocolate flavor first followed by the buttery and sweet caramel then a bit of the salt; it all blends very well together. The caramel is very thick, for some reason it feels thicker than it did with the milk chocolate version. I love this one!

Red Velvet Cake Truffle is a milk chocolate primarily round piece with drizzled red lines over the top. When I bring this to my nose and take in a bit whiff I get only light chocolate scent. I bite it in half and am very surprised when it makes a loud snap; the milk chocolate is very thick and I soon feel why as a thick liquidity center spills out into my mouth. That liquid has the sweet flavor that does remind me of red velvet cake when it is done well so you taste the chocolate and sugar not the dye. Some of that filling spills out and I see that it is dark brown in color. It is very sweet but the milk chocolate is strong when I eat the second half. I think a red velvet lover would really enjoy this.

The Strawberry Cheesecake Truffle looks like a jewel, doesn't it? It has a red sheen to it and is faceted like a jewel might be but the bottom is flat. Sadly I'm not getting most of a scent from this piece; perhaps the sheen is covering it up. The bottom of this makes a loud snap when I bite the truffle in half. I immediately get a sweet flavor that has strawberry  and cheesecake flavors to it. The center is not as liquidity as the Red Velvet Cake truffle nor as thick as the caramels. It has two layers; the bottom is a pink color and the top is a light yellow color. With each chew the chocolate reveals itself to be dark chocolate and it builds in intensity yet never completes takes over until it is the last lingering flavor on my tongue. I like this one a lot, too, and it is difficult to chose between it and the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel.

With a name like Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate this Saint Louis company must attract a lot of attention. A company has to go beyond initial name grabbing to be worthy in our eyes. Their ingredients are 20% or more certified Fair Trade by Fair Trade U.S.A., a 501 non-profit that wants to "promote sustainable livelihoods for farmers and workers and protect the environment". Among the ingredients in these two boxes that are certified are cane sugar, cocoa butter, and chocolate liquor. There is good information about allergens for anyone who needs that. The palm fruit and palm kernel oil in the peanut butter filling does not affect the milk chocolate itself plus these but it may be of concern to some environmentalist; it is a matter of how it is farmed and whether or not rainforests are being destroyed but some manufacturer have earned favorable ratings from environmental groups, too.

Ultimately Sacrament status comes down to the chocolate and how well it blends with other flavors. The Peanut Butter Hearts are Sacrament worthy and appeal to those milk chocolate and peanut butter lovers in your life that really dislike darker chocolate. The Valentine Collection is more of a mixed bag which is often the case with a variety box of any food item.

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