Archive for January, 2009

Christopher Elbow & J Chocolatier

January 26, 2009

Biagio Chocolate Box

Having missed good chocolate while I was in India, I was thrilled to receive this 4-piece box when I returned.  Riley’s sister Meghan picked these pieces at Biagio Fine Chocolate, a store in Washington, D.C.  They carry a range of bars and filled chocolates, and it looks like they host events like chocolate tastings.

The box contained one piece from Christopher Elbow and three pieces from J Chocolatier.

Banana Curry (Christopher Elbow): The chocolate covering was very delicate and smooth.  At first bite, I thought the piece might taste too sweet, but the banana flavor wasn’t overwhelming.  The curry spices came out and tempered the banana.  Nicely done.

Warm Clove (J Chocolatier): Very fragrant.  Tiny flecks of clove in the ganache make the filling a little granier than I would like, but not something that I would dislike.  I tasted black tea.

Ugly Butter (J Chocolatier): I had no idea what this piece would be like.  Based on the name, I guessed that it would contain butter, but I wasn’t sure why it had that bumpy shape.  It looked like it could contain a whole nut, like an almond.  It turned out that it contained a buttery ganache in the center.  Nothing really special, but I like the odd shape.

Fleur de Sel Caramel (J Chocolatier): Flakes of salt on the top of the piece gave it an immediate shock of saltiness.  The caramel within was nice and runny, and melded well with the salt and chocolate shell.  The dark chocolate complemented the caramel and salt.  After eating, the saltiness lingered on the tongue.

I enjoyed all of the pieces, but the ugly butter wasn’t as interesting flavor-wise as the others.  It’s not that a simple ganache isn’t good enough, but the subtle flavor combinations in the three pieces really worked for me.

Christopher Norman Dark Chocolate Blood Orange Bar

January 19, 2009

Christopher Norman Dark Chocolate Blood Orange

Ingredients: Bitter Sweet Chocolate [Cocoa Liquor, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Lecithin, Vanilla], Candied Blood Oranges, Corn Syrup. Min. 64% cocoa content.

Last year I picked up this little bar from Christopher Norman Chocolates, a company based in New York City.  It starts out with the dry, bitter taste of orange rind.  As the chocolate melts, the sweet blood orange tastes develops.  The core of the bar tastes a bit fudgy, but not creamy like a truffle.  Bits of orange peel add to the flavor.  The bar is all right, but something about it turned me off – maybe the fudgy texture.  It doesn’t seem as fresh to me as other chocolate bars.  I do like the orange and chocolate combination, though.

Shaman’s Heart: Organic Dark Chocolate with Ruby Raspberries

January 15, 2009

Shaman's Heart

Ingredients: Organic dark chocolate (organic sugar, organic chocolate liquor [non-alcoholic], organic cocoa butter, soy lecithin*, organic vanilla), and dried raspberries.

After a long, mostly chocolate-free vacation, I can’t wait to dig in to my chocolate stash.  Unfortunately, I’m getting over a cold and cough, and can’t really taste much right now.  I tried this fair trade, organic chocolate bar from Shaman Chocolates late last year.  The company was created by a Huichol shaman and healer, and all profits support Huichol villages in Central America.

At first, I found the bar odd – I’m not sure how to describe the way it melts.  It doesn’t taste really chocolatey, except near the end of the melt.  It’s not creamy exactly, but melts in different globs, and makes me think more of sugar and maybe cocoa butter.  I do like it, though I’m not sure why.  I like the tiny bits of tart raspberry; they remind me of freeze dried fruit, and their size and texture keep the bar from tasting overly sweet.  A pretty good bar, but I’d have to try something else from Shaman Chocolates to get a better sense of their chocolate.