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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Chocolate

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Poco Dolce Chocolates

For a special Father‘s Day gift, any chocolate lover will love you for sending him Poco Dolce—a two-time NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.

the chocolate-covered salted caramels, chocolate tiles, toffee, flavored chocolate bars, peanut brittle and special whiskey-infused truffles are sublime.

The flavors include “original” (we’d never call them “plain”) plus Almond, Almond Coconut, Aztec, Burnt Caramel, Ginger, Mint Toffee, Nuts, Sesame Toffee and others, depending on the particular item.

The chocolates start at $10.00 for six salted caramels (great party favor!). Most are $18.00-$24, with gift baskets from $65.00 to $180.00.

Read the full review; then head to Poco Dolce to place your order.

FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE
GOURMET CHOCOLATE GIFTS.

 

Luscious chocolate truffles infused with Irish whiskey. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

 

  

Comments

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Gourmet Chocolate Bars From Jcoco

Just in time for Mother’s Day gift-giving comes a new line of gourmet chocolate bars. They’re made by an old hand in the industry, the founder of Seattle Chocolate.

It’s the best thing the company has done to date, a new degree of sophistication and elegance from a popular regional chocolatier.

Every detail, from the velvety feel of the recycled paper box to the photography on the three one-ounce bars inside, is first class.

And then there’s the chocolate. Made of fine Belgian couverture, it delights in three flavors plus plain (but hardly plain!) milk and dark chocolate. We urge you to try the:

  • Black Fig Pistachio Chocolate Bar, chewy nuggets of fruit with crunchy nuts in dark chocolate.
  • Edamame Sea Salt Chocolate Bar, a perfect pairing of nutty roasted soybeans, sea salt and a touch of soy sauce in milk chocolate.
  • Veracruz Orange Chocolate Bar, one of the best things to happen to white chocolate.
  •  

    Chic packaging is just the beginning with these delicious chocolate bars. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    The Edamame milk chocolate bar and Veracruz white chocolate bar have entered the pantheon of our favorite chocolate bars.

    For Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or general gifting, tie a ribbon around the stack of five bars. For party favors, individual bars will be a hit. Although it’s early in the year, we’ve already earmarked Jcoco for this year’s stocking stuffers.

    Read the full review and order a large amount!

    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE CHOCOLATES & GOURMET CHOCOLATE BARS.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Chocolate Ganache Pups

    If you know a mom who loves chocolate and dogs, is there a better Mother’s Day gift than these chocolate pup bonbons?

    Made by hand by Gearhearts Chocolates, the milk chocolate bonbons are filled with silky chocolate ganache, which is lightly infused with handmade peanut butter.

    And they’re guilt-free: Five percent of sales of Peanut Butter Pups is donated to Companions for Heroes, a not-for-profit organization that matches rescue pets as companion animals to our nation’s wounded veterans.

    Read the full review and order yours today.
     

    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE CHOCOLATES &
    EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT
    CHOCOLATE.

     

    Who can resist these chocolate peanut butter pups? Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

      

    Comments

    EASTER: Jelly Bean Chocolate Bar

    Why make a decision when you can have both, our favorite thinking goes.

    Edward Marc Chocolatier is obviously of the same mind, with this jelly bean chocolate bar. It’s $3.50 for a 2.5-ounce bar at EdwardMarc.com.

    If you want to create your own jelly bean bar, head to Chocomize.com. For $4.75, you can make a 3.5-ounce jelly bean bar in dark, milk or white chocolate.

    You can add scores of other ingredients, too, including dried fruits, herbs, nuts, seeds, spices and specialty Easter decorations.

    Peter Cottontail would approve.

     

    An Easter chocolate bar. Photo courtesy Edward Marc Chocolatier.

     

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Blue Bandana Chocolate Bars

    New artisan chocolate bars. Photo courtesy Lake Champlain Chocolates.

     

    Looking for an Easter gift for a chocolate connoisseur?

    Check out Blue Bandana chocolate bars from Lake Champlain Chocolates, one of our favorite producers of fine chocolate candies.

    Third-generation chocolatier Eric Lampman developed the bean-to-bar chocolate, using single origin cacao beans from Guatemala and Madagascar.

    In what may be a first in artisan chocolate bars, one of the Madagascar bars is flavored with voatsiperifery, a wild peppercorn called known to grow only in Madagascar.

    he 3.5-ounce bars are $7.00 apiece. How to they taste? Read the full review.

    Lake Champlain chocolates are certified kosher by Star-K.

     

    KNOW YOUR CHOCOLATE TERMS

    Bean to bar. Gourmet chocolate. Single origin chocolate. What do these terms mean?

    Discover the language of chocolate—all the chocolate terms you need to know—in our Chocolate Glossary.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Lindt Wasabi Chocolate Bar

    Imagine being the master chocolatier for the world’s largest prestige chocolate company. Management is always looking for something new and different.

    You already have chocolate bars in Blackcurrant, Chili, Coconut, Cranberry, Orange, Passionfruit, Sea Salt, plus traditional flavors like Almond, Mint and Toffee and plain chocolate bars in a range of cacao intensities.

    What do you do next?

    Americans love chocolate, and we love sushi with wasabi; so how about wasabi—Japanese horseradish—and chocolate?

    It may not sound intuitive, but another hot spice, chili, is a natural with chocolate.

    And wasabi works, too!

    The Lindt Excellence Dark Wasabi bar is a surprising and delicious flavor experience. Silky smooth dark chocolate is subtly spiced with a touch of wasabi flavor.

     

    Lindt’s new Excellence Wasabi Chocolate Bar. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    While the label says “artificial flavors,” to us it tastes like wasabi powder has added to the chocolate—with charming results.

    So, bring some wasabi chocolate bars to the sushi bar. Give one as a gift to your sushi chef and enjoy a square or two after a delicious sushi dinner.

    Consider them as Easter gifts—let everyone else bring the chocolate bunnies and eggs. And on any occasion when you need a little something with big impact, wasabi chocolate is it.

    If you can’t find them locally, you can buy Lindt Wasabi Chocolate Bars on Amazon.com, $3.99 for a 3.5-ounce bar.

    While it gets a bit lost in the wasabi news, Lindt has also released a new Strawberry chocolate bar along with Wasbi. It’s not a daring surprise, but it reads the script beautifully.

    Read our review of Lindt Excellence chocolate bars.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Sarments de Médoc, Chocolate Twigs

    In French, a sarment is the graceful, slender shoot of the grapevine. The Médoc region of Bordeaux knows all about them: It’s perhaps the most prestigious area of the most prestigious wine-growing region in the world. The Médoc is home to four of the five “first growth” Bordeaux wines: Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Latour, Château Margaux and Château Mouton Rothschild.

    So what better homage than chocolate versions of those lovely vine shoots?

    A chocolatier in the town of Margaux accidentally created these chocolate “twigs”* when a machine that made classic French chocolate sticks (chocolatines) became clogged. The results looked like vine shoots and the inspired chocolatier refined the “accidents” into thin chocolate twig confections. The next innovation was to make raspberry- and mint-flavored variations. Today they are available in:

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Dark Chocolate Mint
  • Dark Chocolate Orange
  • Dark Chocolate Rasberry
  • Milk Chocolate Caramel
  • Milk Chocolate Pear
  • They are an instant garnish of beauty, and a gourmet chocolate treat of wonderful flavor.

     

    A glamour garnish for desserts and cocktails. Photo courtesy Mademoiselle de Margaux.

     

    Enjoy them from the box with a cup of
    coffee, or as an elaborate dessert garnish. Photo courtesy Mademoiselle de Margaux.

     

    HOW TO ENJOY CHOCOLATE TWIGS

    These elegant chocolate twigs can be nibbled as a chocolate treat, from the box or on petit-fours/mignardises plate. But first and foremost, they are a stunning garnish:

  • Cocktail garnishes
  • Dessert garnishes
  •  
    Just one twig is stunning. A group of twigs, as shown with the mousse photo above, is a dish of beauty and wonder…and deliciousness.
     

    Look for Sarments de Médoc in specialty chocolate shops or online at Amazon.com.

    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE CHOCOLATE TREATS IN OUR GOURMET CHOCOLATE SECTION.

     

    *As noted previously, sarments are shoots, not twigs; but “chocolate shoots” isn’t too meaningful in English.

      

    Comments

    VALENTINE GIFT: Sixth Course Chocolates

    At a fine restaurant, after a five course dinner, including dessert, the sixth course is a dish of chocolates or mignardises with coffee.

    The founders of Sixth Course Artisan Confections describe them selves as “good pastry chefs [gone] rogue.”

    The Bay Area confectioners used Guittard couverture chocolate, made in San Francisco, along with local dairy and Start with two talented pastry chefs: Borganic herbs, then chose sustainable, recycled packaging

    The results are superb. While there’s no heart-shaped gift box, if your Valentine craves the finest couverture and exciting flavors, head to SixthCourse.com to partake of these lovelies.

  • Chef’s Choice boxes, shown in the photo, are made in Caramels, Sampler and Wine & Spirits Sampler. One of each would be just perfect for this chocolate lover.
  •  

    Chef’s Choice is a sampling of the superb
    bonbons, caramels and truffles; but you can
    also have one of everything. Photo courtesy
    SixthCourse.com.

     

    Caramels for your Valentine: Passion Fruit Habanero and Cayenne. Photo courtesy Sixth Course.

     
  • Individual flavors can be hand-selected. Current flavors include Baileys & Cream, Brandied Cherry, Cayenne Caramel, Ceylon Cinnamon Caramel, Chai Tea Caramel, Champagne Fizz, Coconut Rum, Earl Grey & Candied Meyer Lemon, Grand Marnier Twist, Hazelnut Praline, Honey & Fennel Pollen, Milk Chocolate Malt Crunch, Passion Fruit Caramel, Passion Fruit Habanero Crunch, Raspberry Cosmopolitan, Rosemary Caramel, Sage & Brown Butter Caramel, Smoked Salt Caramel and Whiskey Neat Truffles. Hungry yet?
  • Heart Shaped Caramels. For Valentine’s Day, six Passion Fruit Habanero Caramels and six Cayenne Caramels are packaged in a sustainable, reusable wood box.
  •  

    OK, Valentine: You know what we want. Send lots!

      

    Comments

    VALENTINE GIFT: Twice The Vice Chocolates With Alcohol

    Top shelf alcohol infuses the ganaches in
    these bonbons. Photo courtesy Twice The
    Vice.

     

    We love Twice The Vice, “spirited” chocolates filled with ganaches that are beautifully infused with premium alcohol.

    But not everyone can get them. Due to their high alcohol content, the chocolates can only be mailed to adults in the 19 states that allow purchase of alcohol by mail (AZ, CA, CO, FL, HI, IL, KY, LA, MA, MD, MN, MO, NJ, NH, NV, NY, TX, VA, WA). If your state isn’t listed, petition your legislators: Twice The Vice is worth the effort.

    We’ve enjoyed other brands of alcohol-filled chocolates. But chocolatier Craig Boreth has created the superior winning line: redolent of the flavor of fine spirits while not overwhelmed by them.

    While the regular collections are superb, the Spirits of Romance Collection is de rigeur for Valentine gifting.

    The box contains 16 bonbons in Champagne, Chocolate Martini, 18-Year Scotch and Hazelnut Liqueur. It’s $44 and worth it, for both the taste sensation and the long-lasting memories.

    Head to the online store at TwiceTheVice.com.

     

      

    Comments

    VALENTINE GIFT: Honey Chocolates

    How about some honey-sweetened chocolates for your honey…or for anyone who doesn’t like refined sugar?

    One of our favorite booths at a particular trade show is Queen Bee Gardens, which makes delicious honey-sweetened chocolates and other confections.

    The older, homespun couple at the booth differ from the trendy staff at other booths. But their chocolates are always a welcome respite on the tasting trail. We always stop for a sample, passing by many other booths with “been there, had that, pass ‘em by” chocolates.

    In northern Wyoming, in a valley at the foot of the Rocky Mountains just east of Yellowstone National Park, sits the small farm where Clarence and Bessie Zeller raised a family of six. To support the family, they produced honey.

    The hives were started from angry wild bees Clarence’s father found along the Shoshone River.

    In 1976, the Zellers decided to expand into honey candy, using an old family recipe from Bessie’s ancestors in Scotland.

     

    Queen Bee Gardens chocolate contains no sugar, just honey. Photo courtesy RealFoodTraveler.com.

     

    More recipes were developed. Pecan Pearls are melt-in-your-mouth honey pecan pralines. Truffles, English toffee and other mouthwatering confections also delight.

    A red heart-shaped box of chocolate truffles is $25.17. The Queen Bee Gardens website is very plain, but these farm folks know how to make confections that are anything but plain.

      

    Comments

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