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Posts Tagged ‘Chocolove’

Before we get onto the chocolate, I’d just like to say thank you to everyone for the lovely comments on yesterday’s post. I always feel a bit nervous posting stories that are simply my life/thoughts/giggles, for fear they come across as self-indulgent and/or dull. And gosh, maybe they do, but thank you all for chatting with me anyway. If I could send each one of you chocolate, I would.

For the moment, though, I’ll have to settle for sending you chocolate-love. In other words, Chocolove. (Segue win!)

Chocolove Coffee Crunch in Dark Chocolate

Chocolove Coffee Crunch in Dark Chocolate

Whenever I see Chocolove's packaging, Elvis' Return to Sender starts jingling through my head. ("No such number... no such zone")

So far on this blog, Chocolove’s Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate has received a rave review (and tiny pictures! Oh, the early blog days…) and its Peppermint in Dark Chocolate was described as nice but boring. I just realised that those two, plus this Coffee Crunch, make up the trifecta of Chocolove’s newest flavours, and yet none of them appear on the website. I can’t help thinking this is a bit lazy, as these bars have been on [American] shelves for at least a year.

Time to see if such laziness translates into the flavour, then. (What? Lazy chocolate? Yep, I don’t really know what I mean either.)

Chocolove Coffee Crunch in Dark Chocolate

Bumpy beans!

Heralded as being the equivalent of three cups of coffee, I wasn’t surprised when this bar greeted me with an intense coffee (nay, espresso) aroma. Add in the plethora of coffee bean fragments clearly visible on the bar’s underside, and this chocolate was definitely establishing itself as a potential winner for a coffee-flavour-lover such as myself.

And hurrah! It was! To be perfectly honest, I’d still pick Michel Cluizel’s Noir au Cafe bar over Chocolove’s version in a pinch (for the former’s slightly more intense chocolate base), but I don’t normally engage in low-key violence whilst choosing my chocolate. So I think we’re golden.

Chocolove Coffee Crunch in Dark Chocolate

White space. To make the other parts more striking, don't'cha know.

The initial burst of flavour in this chocolate is absolutely coffee, and an assertive espresso coffee at that, but almost immediately the honey-sweet dark chocolate slides in like an undercurrent. These two contrasting flavour notes sing well together, with the strong (yet not at all bitter) coffee playing off the sweet richness of the chocolate symphonically*.

I was pleased with the lack of burnt or acidic flavours in the coffee bean and chocolate components, and while I’d opt for a less-sweet chocolate were I eating it on its own, I agree with Chocolove’s choice to use a sweet blend here. The smooth melt of the chocolate also marries well with the crispy jolts of coffee bean, making this chocolate bar a study in pleasant contrasts.

Oh, and my decaf-lovin’ self wasn’t at all affected by eating half of this at once, but I’m pretty sure my high level of chocolate consumption has steeled me somewhat against the Crazy Caffeine Tizzies.

* All these musical metaphors have reminded me that my clarinet is no longer holding up a shelf in my room and that, therefore, it’s about time I dusted the old boy off. Especially as my parents are still refusing to give me the family piano#. Wouldn’t you say the piano is rightfully mine, seeing as I’m the only one who plays it.

# I’m also still waiting on my pony.

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My world briefly shuddered on its axis today. For a few hours, I seriously considered trading in my chocolate habit. I thought that perhaps one does not really need super dark or intriguingly flavoured chocolate to create daily sparkles of happiness, but simply regular hour-long massages at spa salons.

And cucumber water. Oh, the cucumber water.

Luckily for you (and, realistically, my bank account), I came to my senses once Asheville’s freezing air had cleared my mind of “Alive” essential oils. Thus, I present to you:

Chocolove Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate

Chocolove Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate

Didn't anyone ever tell Chocolove's design team that Less Is More?

Chocolove‘s chocolates tend to slot into the part of my mental comestibles catalogue entitled “pleasant, but not necessarily worth hunting for”. I do enjoy the Chillies and Cherries in Dark Chocolate and think the Extra Strong Dark 77% is lovely and smooth, but for some reason I’ve started passing over Chocolove when I’m wandering around a store’s chocolate aisle.

All this changed, though, when I chanced upon Chocolove’s new Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate bar, which is in fact so new that it is not yet listed on the website. Despite being only 55%, and therefore a far sweeter chocolate base than I’d usually pick, I adore this chocolate.

Chocolove Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate

Lookee all the almonds! Roasty salty scrumptiousness!

The chocolate is sweet, yes, but it is also rich, silky, and slightly woodsy. The almonds are whole and incredibly crispy from being roasted, and in each of the two bars I ate (take note – I rarely buy the same chocolate twice when travelling), never once did I come across a stale or bad nut. Ooh, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory flashback.

The salt seems predominantly attached to the almonds, yet as the almonds are so plentiful it is rare to get a bite without a salt crystal lending its special contrasting magic to the experience. The salt contributes to the bar’s aroma of chocolatey butter-caramel popcorn (yep, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it), and does its enhancing trick of making the chocolate seem richer, chocolatier and deeper, and the almonds nuttier and butterier. You know how most dessert recipes recommend adding a pinch of salt? That’s because salt is magical in sweets. Kind of like how The Ballad of Czolgosz is magical when it comes in at the end of the Gun Song in Assassins, or how Jack’s mother line “the slotted spoon can catch the potato” is magical as the first line in the Finale of Into the Woods. (Sondheim mood, anyone?)

Chocolove Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate

Did I mention these come with excerpts from love poems in the wrapper? I'm still waiting to find one by Pablo Neruda in there.

Anyway, to get back to the topic at hand, Chocolove’s Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate bar filled me with the aforementioned sparkly happiness, and caused my tasting notes to be filled with words such as “fantastical” and “salty buttery heaven yum”.

Which, despite my brief infatuation, is more than I can say for iced cucumber water.

(In all honesty, though, I can highly recommend Spa Theology on College Street in Asheville. A chocolate when you change into your robe, heated toilet seats [flashback to Japan!], raspberry iced tea and roasted nuts when you sit in the lounge afterwards with a heatpack around your neck – lovely. And if you get a massage, ask for Ben.)

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