Thursday, April 30, 2015

Beauty and the Grotesque: Morbid Anatomy Art in Chocolate

image courtesy of Annabel de Vetten via kickstarter

It's not exactly like I look at Annabel de Vetten's (aka Annabel Lecter's) incredible chocolate creations and get hungry. However, I am swept away in her dark and sumptuous Victorian vision of morbid anatomy and the grotesque. These chocolate sculptures and cakes are absolutely incredible feats of reproduction, especially given that they are 100% chocolate. I'm utterly wowed. 

image courtesy of Annabel de Vetten via kickstarter

To support Annabel's kickstarter campaign to fund her business, Conjurer's Kitchen, click here.

To read more about Annabel's chocolate art via, click here

To visit the Conjurer's Kitchen website, click here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Parisian Chocolates: Jacques Genin Fondeur en Chocolat

Delivered straight from the Paris shop, these Jacques Genin Fondeur en Chocolat truffles were really intense. I was especially taken with the fantastic metal boxes housing the truffles- like antique cigarette cases or jewelry boxes that promise treasures inside. Each dense dark chocolate center focuses on the high-end chocolate base that is infused with very intriguing yet subtle flavors such as Basil. Frankly, I couldn't identify any of the infusions- "It tastes green and herb-y" was a more likely pronouncement than, "Oh my, the essence of basil!" Each bite makes you stop and consider what you're eating and these truffles are so rich that you can't eat more than one or two at a time. Thanks for sharing, Amy!

Brazilian Candy Fest: Damazonia Chocolates and Garoti Chocolates

These little dark chocolate foil-wrapped bonbons by Damazonia Chocolate consist of three unique flavors- Brazil Nut, Cupuacu, and Acai. The Brazil Nut is tasty but unsurprising-the mellow flavor and large size of the nuts cuts the bitterness of the dark chocolate.

The acai bonbon is filled with a firm not-too-processed fruit jelly. You can taste the strong sweet and sour of the acai fruit bursting from the mini bite. It tastes fresh, far more natural than your average American fruit jelly or filling.  The Cupuacu is an entirely new taste to me, resembling an extra-fruity fig. I liked it but need to taste the real fruit to wrap my head around it.

The Garoto Bonbon Assortment contains all kinds of unique cool candy combos and flavors, too. They're all tasty, but there are a few that warrant a special shout-out.

Serenata de Amor- Cashew-Nut Cream Filling with Crunchy Wafer. Wow, Why aren't there more cashew-based creams in the candy world? Like peanut butter but mellow and delicate. I love this.

Surreal- Peanut Butter Cream Filling with Crunchy Wafer

Serenata de Branco- White with Crunchy Wafer and Cashew-Nut Cream Filling

Caribe- Banana Filling. This is another flavor I've never experienced in the candy realm. Most banana-based flavors are so artificial and don't even resemble real banana. Instead, the Caribe tastes more like a banana-fruit paste, true to taste and uniquely celebrating banana as a candy element. These are amazing.

Gingerbread Flavored. Another great one! The center of this bonbon has the consistency and taste of gingerbread cookie dough. Amazing. Inspiring!

It Coco- Coconut Filling

Crocante- Peanut and Caramel Crunch Filling. A crunchy, light and buttery brittle!

Opereta- White with Cashew Nut.

Mundy- Chocolate Mousse Filling

Ao Leite- Milk Chocolate

Milk Chocolate Stick

Thank you for sharing these Brazilian travel treats, Jennifer and Clarissa!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Japanese Candies: Milky Strawberry Milk Chews

These Milky Strawberry Milk Chews by Japanese candy company Peko are visually irresistable.  I'm in it for the packaging-they look like folded paper cherry blossoms to me. They're a nice little mellow chew, too- firm milk-flavored taffy with a strawberry cream center. Nothing to write home about, nothing that will blow your mind, but these chews constitute a pleasant after-dinner sweet bite.

Score (packaging): 5
Score (flavor experience): 3

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Icelandic Banana Chocolate Bar: Sirius Pipp Med Bananabragdi

First let's all acknowledge how cool the packaging is for this Pipp Med Bananabragdi bar by Icelandic candy  company, Sirius. As I tore open the foil I started considering the lack of banana flavor employed in the candy world. I mean, basically all other fruits are fair game but bananas are ignored in fruit gummies and chews or mixed with chocolate bars. Bananas and chocolate combine beautifully in banana splits, which leads me to believe that the combo has some good possibilities.

Unfortunately, this banana chocolate bar is not a very good manifestation of the flavor combo. It's really nice melty milk chocolate but the banana filling tastes super artificial- basically not at all like banana. It tastes very sugary and strangely soapy. I imagine a light whipped cream filling infused with a more natural banana taste would taste far better. Add in a layer of peanut butter and it might become my favorite candy bar on earth. But that's merely a digression into fantasy. In the meantime, this banana chocolate bar from Iceland shows great potential but fails in execution. Thanks for finding this, Zach!

Score: 2

Friday, April 10, 2015

Rochef Chocolatier Milk Chocolate with Maple Sugar

I'm nuts for anything maple (read past declarations of maple love here) so I was excited to try this milk chocolate with maple sugar bar by Rochef Chocolatier in Quebec, Canada. The milk chocolate base of this bar is really intense- this is high end chocolate with a lot more depth and complexity of flavor than your drugstore Hershey Bar. There's not the abundance of sugar in the chocolate base and the chunks of crystalized maple sugar are bright bursts of warm mellow flavor to balance out the overall taste. They add a nice little crunch, too. Thanks, Ben!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Dracula in Denmark: Dracula Classic and Dracula Blood Salty Licorice Pastilles

Wow, I was not prepared for these Dracula Classic and Dracula Blood Licorice Pastilles from Denmark. They are a unique and popular form of salty licorice popular in Denmark, Norway, Germany and Iceland. This isn't licorice with salt, though. It's known as salmiak or salmiakki, which is licorice flavored with ammonium chloride, which makes the candy so salty and acidic that it vaguely numbs or stings the tongue. It's an acquired taste and I think because I did not grow up with this form of "candy," the non-sweet super-salty super-"stingy" taste is not pleasant. In fact, I spit them out, which is a real rarity. I loved the packaging, though, and the little pink pastilles of the Dracula Blood are beautiful. Glad to have tried it; never again. Thanks for finding these, Tara!

Score (taste): 1
Score (packaging & aesthetics): 4

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Kahiltna Gold Alaska Gold Nuggets: Birch Cream Caramels Straight From the Source

I've tasted birch beer before but never really thought about the source material of what I was sampling. Recently, though, I was lucky enough to sample Kahiltna Gold's Alaska Gold Nuggets Birch Cream Caramels and got up close and personal with birch syrup based sweets. It's somewhat hard to describe- like a mix between molasses and honey. Birch imbues a distinctive pleasant flavor to the creamy caramels that I've never encountered before. And now I want more. In the same way that I constantly seek out maple syrup based goods, now birch will be added to the list. New York City is not exactly a hotbed of birch activity but I plan to seek it out- somewhere in gourmet Brooklyn there must be more of this stuff to be found! Thanks, Jennifer!