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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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.


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Upcycled Burlap Beanie

Burlap, flannel shirt scraps, thread, plastic co2 filter “button”

If you’re into upcycled clothing and fashion, consider burlap the next time you start a new project. Many of these plant based fibers contain rich, unique text and designs embedded in the material. Jute and hemp (often the woven material that makes up a burlap sack) are also naturally biodegradable. Check out our TEXTILES, WOOD AND RECLAIMED CRAFT section for more burlap projects like this one.