April 19, 2008

A Spanish Treat for Mother's Day

bonbons.jpgStill looking for a sweet but unique Mother's Day gift? How about some Spanish chocolate truffles or bon bons by Delaviuda, the celebrated candy makers of ancient Toledo, Spain?

First is the Gourmet Chocolate Bon Bon Gift Box. It comes in a beautiful black candy box, topped with a nice red bow - so you don't even have to wrap it! Each piece is a hand-made dark chocolate shell, with almond, hazelnut, coffee bean or truffle on a praline filling. Wow.

Or if your mom would like something a little less bad for her, there's always the Sugar Free Milk Chocolate Trufas. These individually wrapped, gourmet milk chocolate truffles are rich enough that you'll forget they are 100% sugar-free.

Click here to see all the Spanish chocolates at La Tienda. Or if you need more ideas, check out Candy Snob's Mother's Day Gift Guide.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

April 18, 2008

Review: Ethel's Chocolates Pudding Pie (Dark)

pudding pie.gifWe really looked forward to this tasting, chocolate pudding seemed decadent yet jovial. The Pudding Pie is a dark chocolate piece found in Ethel's American Pop Collection. Flavor-wise, the filling tasted like really good chocolate Jello-o pudding, which hit a nostalgic nerve was not quite as noteworthy as I'd hoped. In addition, the filling was thicker that I would have thought - I would have expected pudding to be much thinner. Overall, there is really nothing wrong with the Pudding Pie, it is a completely enjoyable, delicious candy. But I had raised the bar pretty high in my own mind, which I think caused it to fall a bit short.

Read more about Ethel's Chocolates on Candy Snob:
Review: Ethel's Chocolate - Peanut Better truffle

Review: Ethel's Chocolate - Gingerbread Spice Truffle
Review: Ethel's Chocolate - Classic Cabernet Truffle
Review: Ethel's Chocolate - Chewy Caramel with Dark Chocolate
Easter Selections from Ethel's Chocolate
Review: Ethel's Chocolates Espresso Truffle (Dark)
Review: Ethel's Chocolates Creme Brulee (Milk)

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

April 17, 2008

Fine and Raw Chocolates - Artisan, Sustainable & Healthy

fineandraw2.jpgCool Hunting posted about these eco-friendly, guilt-free treats. The ingredients are sustainable, and they are choc (no pun intended) full of health stuff because of the raw preparation. The post says they have a "creamy soft consistency on par with the normal stuff."

Here are the vitals:


  • Made using artisan low heat techniques to preserve raw vitality.

  • Made from sustainably-produced shade grown raw cacao harvested from the Ecuadorian rainforest

  • No sugar, dairy or additives

  • Loaded with anti-oxidants, magnesium and other nutrients

  • Made with the finest Blue Agave Nectar (a low gylcemic sweetener with fewer calories than sugar), coconut oil and lots of electrolytes.

  • They contain Himalayan Sea Salt contains all the minerals and trace elements that comprise the human body.

It appears these are only available in the greater NYC area (hey, send us some samples Fine and Raw!), and cost about $7.

Thanks go to Cool Hunting for this find.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

Review: Starbucks Vanilla Bean Truffles

chocolateTruffles.jpgWe waded into the Starbucks chocolate waters recently, with one of their new grocery items - Vanilla Bean Truffles. Let's start with the packaging. As to be expected with Starbucks, the packaging is a well-designed triangular box with really attractive pics of the truffle on the outside. But like many grocery store items, the package never holds as much as you'd like - I believe it had 9 truffles.

The truffles are pretty small, but beautiful. Each comes wrapped in gold foil, twisted at the top. Inside is a conical truffle that's 1/2 perfectly smooth dark chocolate and 1/2 pinstriped. Its a really nice looking piece of candy.

The package says "Sweet and dreamy vanilla from Madagascar meets exquisite dark chocolate in a lovely pairing." My mouth started to water just thinking about it. But here's the deal, the chocolate is quite good and flavorful. The problem is with the pairing - the chocolate overwhelms the vanilla, rendering it nearly indistinguishable. Don't get me wrong, its a tasty treat for sure, but it is does not have the vanilla pop I hoped for, leaving me a little disappointed.

Overall, if I were giving this a rating, I might rate it a solid 6 or 7, because it is beautiful and the texture is solid. If they can figure out the right balance between the dark chocolate and vanilla bean, this would be a killer piece of candy.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

April 16, 2008

80% Cacao Dark Chocolate by Blanxart

80 dark blanxart.jpgFor the dark chocolate connoisseur. This bar is made of 80% premium dark Ghanain cacao, and is then mixed with real cane sugar and authentic vanilla for a deep, rich, mellow flavor. Why Ghanain chocolate? Because after conducting a survey of all of their chocolate sources, the chocolate makers at Blanxart concluded that the chocolate from Ghana was superior.

Read more about this bar.

Other Candy Snob posts on Blanxart:

Blanxart Dark Chocolate Duet from Spain
Dark Chocolate with Orange by Blanxart

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

April 15, 2008

Review: Ethel's Chocolates Key Lime Limbo (Dark)

Thumbnail image for key lime.gifToday's Ethel's installment comes to us from their Fruit Collection, straight from the Florida Keys - the Key Lime Limbo. Visually, this is a stunning chocolate. It is spray painted in green, but its on a gradient, so it get gradually lighter as it moves up the chocolate. Like many of Ethel's chocolates, this is a piece of art.

The Key Lime Limbo is a dark chocolate piece, which frankly intrigued me at first, I wasn't sure how dark chocolate would work with key lime. But as you taste it, it is the key lime pie flavor that is dominant. There is a hint of chocolate - which adds a touch of creaminess and depth. But its this flavor ratio that I think makes it work, and work well. If it were equally key lime and chocolate, I'm not sure it would have tasted as good.

Read more about Ethel's Chocolates on Candy Snob:
Review: Ethel's Chocolate - Peanut Better truffle

Review: Ethel's Chocolate - Gingerbread Spice Truffle
Review: Ethel's Chocolate - Classic Cabernet Truffle
Review: Ethel's Chocolate - Chewy Caramel with Dark Chocolate
Easter Selections from Ethel's Chocolate
Review: Ethel's Chocolates Espresso Truffle (Dark)
Review: Ethel's Chocolates Creme Brulee (Milk)

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

April 11, 2008

Review: Ethel's Chocolates Pecan Toffee Crisp (Milk)

pecan toffee crisp.gifI risk hyperbole with this review. My tasting notes say things like "OMG" and "Good S#$%" so that gives you an idea about what we thought. The Pecan Toffee Crisp is the perfect salty-sweet combo - which we all know makes one's taste buds stand up and take notice. The combo is extremely well-balanced. It is quite salty to start, but then the creamy, milky chocolate kicks in, leading into the crumbly and sugary nuts inside. The crumbly nature of the nuts, and the piece in general, is what really puts this over the top. With many toffees, brittles and similar confections, they are more crunchy than crumbly, they are harder overall. Plus, you often get pieces stuck in your teeth. Ethel's Pecan Toffee Crisp is not like that at all, it soesn't stick to your teeth, it has the perfect texture, and a great balance of flavors.

Read more about Ethel's Chocolates on Candy Snob:
Review: Ethel's Chocolate - Peanut Better truffle

Review: Ethel's Chocolate - Gingerbread Spice Truffle
Review: Ethel's Chocolate - Classic Cabernet Truffle
Review: Ethel's Chocolate - Chewy Caramel with Dark Chocolate
Easter Selections from Ethel's Chocolate
Review: Ethel's Chocolates Espresso Truffle (Dark)
Review: Ethel's Chocolates Creme Brulee (Milk)

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

April 10, 2008

Blanxart Milk Chocolate Duet - 1 Plain Bar & 1 w/ Hazelnuts

choco duet.jpgYou may remember a little bit ago we covered the Blanxart's Dark Chocolates (Blanxart Dark Chocolate Duet from Spain). They have expanded past traditional Spanish dark chocolate with this milk chocolate "duet." One is just creamy milk chocolate, one takes that chocolate and mixes it with hazelnuts, giving it a distinctive Continental flavor.

A little Blanxart history: "A chocolate maestro in Barcelona, after working for all the best cake and chocolate shops in the city, decided to leave his prestigious job and open his own business joining four partners. They started what is now, one of the most celebrated artisan chocolate factories in Europe."

Check it out at La Tienda.

History from La Tienda

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

April 8, 2008

Review: Ethel's Chocolates Creme Brulee (Milk)

creme brulee.gifHard to say whether this chocolate from Ethel's will be available much longer, its in their "Seasonal Collection," but we've not seen that change too often. The Creme Brulee is a milk chocolate piece, that will make anyone with a strong sweet tooth quite happy. It might be too much for those who like their chocolates a little less sweet and more complex. There are nutty undertones, which were appreciated and added a little depth. However, you don't really get the creme brulee flavor. If you didn't know that was the flavor of the chocolate by the beautiful painted shell, you might not know. Regardless of whether it lives up to its name, the vanilla and nuttiness come through, which make this quite an enjoyable chocolate if you like your chocolates super sweet.

Read more about Ethel's Chocolates on Candy Snob:
Review: Ethel's Chocolate - Peanut Better truffle

Review: Ethel's Chocolate - Gingerbread Spice Truffle
Review: Ethel's Chocolate - Classic Cabernet Truffle
Review: Ethel's Chocolate - Chewy Caramel with Dark Chocolate
Easter Selections from Ethel's Chocolate
Review: Ethel's Chocolates Espresso Truffle (Dark)

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

April 7, 2008

More Spring Offerings from Hotel Chocolat

bag for season.jpgAs if good chocolates weren't enough fun, Hotel Chocolat has some and downright light-hearted offerings this Spring. The first is called "Exuberantly Fruity". All fillings are real fruit, which provides a natural tanginess when you bite through the shell. 30 chocolates in all, the flavors include some really fascinating combinations, something we've come to expect from Hotel Chocolat: blueberry & blackcurrant bombes, ganaches with peach, raspberry, cognac & orange, cherry pannacotta, mandarins and raspberries soaked in alcohol on a bed of vanilla ganache and strawberries & black pepper.

Accurately named "Goody Bag for Every Season" this package has all you need for a perfect chocolate gift-giving experience: a Raspberry Creme mini slab, 6 truffles, a Milk Rocky Road Slab, a bag of caramel canapes and a milk chocolate dipper to stir into a hot drink. C'mon...what more do you need!

Well, I suppose the answer to my last question could be the
Discovery Bag
- which is actually more of a chocolate-tasting adventure, not for the faint of chocolate heart: Rabot Estate 72% dark chocolate, chocolate gemstones, single origin 200g log and our Macho Milk Chocolate mini iconic slab.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

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