I’m a red-blooded American woman, meaning I’ve always liked chocolate. Over the years, my tastes have transitioned from milk chocolate to dark, and now the higher that cacao percentage is, the happier I am. In fact, right now I’m licking my lips from the chocolate frosting on one of our Valentine’s Day featured recipes from Askinosie Chocolate.
We’ve tasted a lot of chocolate over the last couple of weeks as we prepared for February 14. In some cases, the names alone are enticing – like this list from a place in Portland called Sweet Masterpiece, which offers tastings with the tagline “Explorations in Chocolate.”
- Dragonfruit Chocolate
- Blue Cheese Truffle
- Apple Smoked Salted Caramel
- Raspberry Chipotle Truffle
- Chardonnay Oak Salted Caramel
- Cherry Ylang Ylang Bark
And, yes, I tasted them all. Give me the indulgent and expensive taste of truffles, with rich dark chocolate and names that conjure up exotic locations, and I’m yours. Tip: the Blue Cheese Truffle and the Chardonnay Oak Salted Caramel are definitely ones you should put on your own list to try.
We’ve come a long way since penny candy. And, while the hit is bigger to the wallet, so are the taste sensations to the palate. The savory and sweet combinations that are so popular right now are popular for a reason – they work.
We also tasted a variety of chocolates from TCHO. Like Askinosie, they acquire their beans directly from the growers and co-ops in the producing regions. They’ve taken a flavor approach that identifies pure chocolate as “nutty,” “floral,” “earthy” and so on – much like coffee aficionados. In this case, it was the “chocolatey” that rose to the top, although “citrusy” came in second and a few of our tasters were partial to “fruity.”
After so many antioxidants flowing through our systems, we decided to see how the Divvies line of no nuts, no dairy chocolate would stack up. We were all pleasantly pleased to find that flavor wasn’t sacrificed. In this case, the mint bar was favored, in a dark gourmet chocolate – peanut-free, tree nut-free, milk-free and egg-free. All of the varieties were good, and recommended particularly for those with food allergies.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think there is a piece of Dragonfruit Chocolate left.
For another fun blog about Valentine’s chocolate, from our partner 417 Magazine, click here.