willandmegan

"Stuart rose from the ditch, climbed into his car, and started up the road that led toward the north…. As he peeked ahead into the great land that stretched before him, the way seemed long. But the sky was bright, and he somehow felt he was headed in the right direction." (from Stuart Little by E.B. White)


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Intoxicating – Chocolate tasting with liqueur and whiskey

germ choc arrangement

 

Last Saturday afternoon Megan and I set up a relaxing back porch chocolate tasting. As she labored in the kitchen preparing a cauliflower/curry dish I took out coffee beans, cacao beans and picked up a bottle of Wild Turkey Rare Breed Whiskey.

 

In order to prepare these aesthetically pleasing arrangements we often become manic and focus on color, quality, form factor, lighting etc. We included relevant ingredients such as vanilla, ginger and whiskey. Yes, you heard right. These bars are made using whiskey and egg liqueur. This is our first tasting of chocolate made by an Austrian company called Zotter. Meg managed to pick these up in Germany as they are found in other European countries.

 

Fur Lang edit

 

für langschläfer (50% min cocoa)

 

The name of this bar actually translates to “for late risers” in English. The reason being that is contains coffee beans and whiskey. The overall taste is a classic malt flavor with the inner consistency of truffle creme. It contains subtle hints of oak and bourbon with notes of sweet, honey graham cracker. The lack of coffee flavor and texture was a bit disappointing, but overall this bar was quite satisfying.

 

eiertanz edit

 

Eirtanz (40% min cocoa)

 

The name of this bar translates to “egg dance” in English. Why egg dance? Well this bar is made with egg liqueur and chili. It is creamy and has both the inner appearance and consistency of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. However, the overall quality is higher containing less artificial and more natural certified fair trade ingredients. The initial satisfaction of flavors come from unique cinnamon undertones and overall sweet milk chocolate flavor. The experience increases with intensity as a strong chili kick emerges and remains until the end.

Hasenjagd edit

 

Hasenjagd (46% cocoa)

 

The name of this bar translates to “hare hunting” in English. Does it contain rabbit meat? No! The additional ingredients include apples, carrots, ginger and brandy. This bar transforms the typical smooth chocolate experience to a subtly tangy one. Notes of buckwheat honey can be tasted beneath the zest of light lemon. Small chunks of fibrous fruit pieces (likely dehydrated) creates additional flavors and texture throughout.

 

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SHAKE IT UP – Organic Shamrock Shake Recipe

shamrock presentation edit

On Saturday March 9th we spent the day still basking in the pride of a successful homemade wine tasting from the night before. By one o’clock our hunger brought us to Wegmans for food items, mint leaves and coconuts. After the sadness of realizing organic coffee was $11.00 finally subsided, we decided to pass on that purchase. With the fridge stocked heavily Meg and I brushed off the lack of french press and became excited for the preplanned frozen treat that was in store.

Items you will need:

dye. flavor. ice cream

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup Organic Almond Milk
  • 1 cup Organic Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoonNatural Mint Extract
  • Tru Whip Natural Whipped Topping (optional)
  • 4 drops Green Food Coloring (optional)
  • Alter Eco Mint Chocolate Bar (optional)
  • Mint Leaf Garnish (optional)
  • Organic Cane Sugar (optional for rim of glass)

Directions:

1- Prepare rim of glass ahead of time by dipping in water and then in a bowl of green colored sugar. Wait for milkshake.

2- Mix ice cream, milk, extract, and green food coloring in blender. (1/2 a bar of Alter Ego Dark Mint Chocolate for delicious, crunchy affect).  Mix until creamy.

3- Pour into glass carefully to avoid ruining the rim

4-Place a few dollops of whip cream in the center.

5-Shave off a fair amount of Alter Ego Dark Mint Chocolate on top of the whip cream.

6-Add mint leaf for garnish.

alter eco mint display edit

Cheers,

willandmegan


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Dandelion Small – Batch Chocolate Tasting

Yesterday afternoon we both had the pleasure of sampling three wonderful chocolate bars from Dandelion Small-Batch Chocolate. They are a new factory located in the Mission District of San Francisco and took honors as a Good Food Award finalist for 2012. As a fresh business with an awesome bean-to-bar approach, they won our taste buds over in the past and we couldn’t pass up a side by side sampling.

dandelion bundle edit

Our first observation upon splaying out the bars was evidence of lustrous and elegant wrapping. The appearance of delicate gold-foil like designs create the impression of an antique gift. The next examination we made was based on a clear presentation of cacao origin. Included as a part of the packaging text was also a note of recognizable flavor characteristics made by the roasters from Dandelion. Personalized initials on the back side really emphasized the sense of Small – Batch as it erased the possibility of mass production. In this we concluded that comparatively it felt more intimate to be tasting chocolate from a young company with smaller output vs. an international company such as Lindt, Godiva who mass produce their “chocolate”.

3 bar series edit

dandelion vertical edit

dandelion package edit

dandelion bar edit

So, let’s talk taste! While Will & I definitely have very different interpretations of the chocolate during our tasting experience, I will share them all. (Note that mine are probably less refined and slightly more obnoxious) 🙂

Rio Caribe-

Aromatics-cane, oats, mud

Flavor-pine needles, smoke, s’mores, cedar, woodoil, bread

Elvesia-

Aromatics-soil

Flavor-fruit punch, sour patch kids, cheap wine coolers, plum, raisan, tangy finish

Ambanja-

Aromatics-N/A

Flavor-malts, beer, dates, fig

These, honestly, were the most incredible chocolates we have ever had. The intense spectrum of flavors challenged our ability to define taste using specific raw foods we had experienced. We were sad to see them slowly (not really) disappear. So, grab some online. It’s WORTH IT!

http://www.dandelionchocolate.com/store/

 

 


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Cacao and Coffee – Who Can Boast About Their Roast?

Through the end of summer and into the fall, Meg and I have taken on many late night tastings. Our most recent being a selection of five chocolate bars infused with coffee. Now that we are wrapped up in full time work schedules and grad school, these cute adventures don’t occur so regularly. With a whole slew of costuming and wine making ideas the ol’ taste buds have surely taken a back seat. In fact, I had obtained these little chocolate wonders two weeks before Meg and I ever got around to consuming them. The addictive qualities of cacao for myself is similar to kryptonite for superman. I spent many a night glaring at those 5 bars like a psychiatric patient reasoning with himself.

Much like previous tastings we chose a high quality organic/fairtrade selection. Apparently, the pairing of coffee and cacao is in high demand. America has the desire for a bittersweet kick of caffeine (in bar form). This tasting differed from the previous in that we carried out a blind portion to ensure no biased opinions based on brand, appearance, 1st impressions etc. It was a success!

Below are our results. Each bar/brand is rated 15. 1 being the best and 5 being the worst.

# 1: Equal Exchange Espresso Bean (55% Cacao)

  • Details / florals, tiny crystallized texture, successfully incorporates the coffee through balanced texture and flavor. Rich taste from start to finish.

# 2: endangered species natural DARK CHOCOLATE WITH ESPRESSO BEANS (72% Cocoa)

  • Details / aroma is similar to cheap Easter chocolate, coconut undertones, moist, chocolate cake overtones, fresh flavors in textured beans.

# 3: Salazon Chocolate Co.Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Crushed Organic Coffee (57% Dark Chocolate)

  • Details / salt, butterscotch, liqu0r richness, no coffee chunks or texture, consistency similar to truffle with the sweet flavors of toffee and molasses. Very little evidence of coffee. Unique landscape image on bar.

# 4: medecasse CHOCOLATEarabica coffee (44% cocoa) with arabica coffee nibs

  • Details / brown sugar and caramel flavors, textured pieces are rough, dry and stale tasting. Milkiness is evident through creamy consistency. Outer appearance looks crackled, mulch like etc.

# 5 – Green & Black’s OrganicEspresso Dark Chocolate infused with fine Arabica coffee beans (70% Cocoa Content)

  • Details / aroma of old diner coffee, burnt Keureg scent, campfire, smoky, stale cigarette, pine, lasting dryness. Overbearing flavors hide existence of cocoa.