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Posts Tagged ‘white chocolate’

Note: The closing date for the Snubbr Cookbook giveaway has been extended to July 26th, Northern Hemisphere time. If you have a mailing address in the US or Canada, get thee to this post and enter!

Although my horrific treatment of raspberries in yesterday’s post might beg to differ, I truly love the little ruby fellas. I remember fondly my visit to Boston in 2008, during which time I ate entire punnets of raspberries every day, for five days straight. They were only $2.50 apiece. Here in Canberra? We’re lucky to get in-season raspberries for less than $9 a punnet. That makes me sad inside.

Anyhoo, today I desperately needed something raspberry-tinged to smooth away the memory of yesterday’s icky-icky rice pudding. Bovetti offered me just the ticket… or, to be more precise, the chocolate-ticket.

Bovetti White Chocolate with Raspberry Sugar

Bovetti White Chocolate with Raspberry Sugar

My first experience with Bovetti, the Dark Chocolate with Espelette Peppers, was a positive one. However, it could be argued that today’s chocolate is the antithesis of that bar and that, as a result, I shouldn’t necessarily have been expecting  greatness. With white chocolate replacing dark, and a topping more akin to candy than a well-regarded-yet-somewhat-niche spice, I was bracing myself for a markedly different Bovetti taste sensation. Just in case.

Bovetti white chocolate with raspberry sugar

In terms of appearance, this white chocolate was less white than creamy pale yellow. In my experience, creamy colours in white chocolate tend to indicate higher quality, and so Bovetti already had a tick in my mental positives column. The aroma wasn’t forthcoming in the way of Valrhona’s Guanaja or TCHO’s Nutty, for example, but the raspberry sugar-studded side did put me in mind of the Ye Olde Lolly Shops. You know, the kind that pop up in little country towns in Australia, the kind that I used to search for when we drove around the country on family holidays. (From memory, Tilba Tilba had a good’un, but I’m sure whisperinggums will correct me if I’m wrong.)

When I placed a portion of this into my mouth, chocolate-not-sugar-side-down, the flavour spectrum at first seemed rather limited. Milk notes, cream notes, sugar notes… pretty standard, to be honest. But then! But then! Custard, dear readers o’ mine, custard. I’ve eaten a fair few white chocolates in my time, but never before have I come across the taste of sweet, delicious custard – let alone in such a strong and evocative way.

Bovetti white chocolate with raspberry sugar

This chocolate lacked the cream cheese tang that I associate with average white chocolates, and instead became synonymous in my mind with decadent, silky, can-stand-alone-as-a-dessert homemade custard. In my family, custard is a thick, egg yolk-enriched, nutmeg-flecked bowl of delight that must be spooned out, rather than that insipid-watery-pouring-congealed-milkish stuff you get in a carton at the supermarket. So when I say custard, I mean awesome custard.

Oh, and before I forget , the raspberry sugar was rather lovely too. Definitely more “sugar” than “raspberry”, with each speckle of pink tasting just like Ye Olde raspberry boiled lollies from Ye Olde lolly shops. And that was okay by me. Sure, the sugar lacked the tartness of real raspberries, but at the same time it didn’t taste too artificial.

Ooooh! Perhaps I should make my mother’s/grandmother’s custard and sprinkle it with crushed raspberry sweets instead of nutmeg? Genius! I shall have pretty photos for my blog and everyone will love me, hurrah, etc etc!

Wait. That’s precisely the kind of thinking that got me into yesterday’s kerfuffle, isn’t it? Hmm.

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Warning: This post contains low-level coarse language and adult themes. Reader discretion is advised.

If you’ve popped by this blog at all in the past month, you’re likely aware of Smurf Kitchen and the happiness it brings to my life. What you may not know, however, is that the awesomeness of Smurf Kitchen has had an inverse relationship with the awfulness of the Wayfaring Chocolate Bedroom.

To put it simply, I looked like a squatter. I ordered a new bed from Freedom Furniture before moving into Smurf Kitchen Home, but it took several weeks to be delivered. As a result, I’ve spent the past two weeks sleeping on a mattress on the floor, with most of my belongings still in boxes around me. It’s been a little unpleasant.

Yesterday, my bed arrived. Or, more correctly, the fifty-seven billion pieces of my bed arrived. And with a confronting realisation I ascertained that, all my life, I’ve been pronouncing the store’s name wrong.

It’s not Freedom Furniture. It’s Freedamn Furniture. And I hate Freedamn Furniture with a fiery passion.

Baker's Delight White Chocolate and Passionfruit Scone

Passion, did you say? What about passionfruit? Or Baker’s Delight’s new White Chocolate and Passionfruit Scone, which I won a voucher for?

Before I go any further, I need to make a few things clear.  My housemate is a furniture-put-togetherer extraordinaire. She had her own IKEA bed assembled in less than 20 minutes, and is well-versed in the art of instruction-manual reading. Furthermore, she and I are not stupid, we had no blonde moments, and we worked steadily and not-slowly from the minute we began cutting open the bed-piece-containing boxes until the second we pushed the mattress into place.

There were, admittedly, two tricky moments in which we were flummoxed by the bed’s instructions. One of these moments led to a swift retracing of steps, but even that only set us back five minutes.

So you’ve got my drift, right? We worked well. We worked quite speedily. We had no arguments, no freak-out time-outs, no moments of “this is impossible, I can’t go on, please tell my mother she can have all the spices in my pantry”.

Baker's Delight White Chocolate and Passionfruit Scone

Sadly, I really, really, really didn’t like this Baker’s Delight scone. It was insanely sweet with an odd sticky, dense texture, and had only the vaguest hint of passionfruit. It also clearly used lots of preservatives, as it made my tongue tingle in the way only preservatives do. Luckily for Baker’s Delight, the rye sourdough and white hi-fibre rolls I bought with the rest of the voucher were fantastic.

Would you like to know how long it took us to assemble my brand-spanking-new bed?

Almost. Five. Expletive. Hours.

I don’t know which is worse: that this was such an horrifically complicated piece of furniture that two people working conscientiously took almost as long to assemble it as they’d spend watching Titanic twice over, or that the blasted thing looks like it’s the most simple piece of construction in the world. To wit: the headboard looks like a single piece, yet it involved no less than 12 different parts (not including the screws and dowels and rubber backing). And that’s just a taste of what we went through.

Skank Bed

Ta-daa!

Instead of continuing on with my griping and risking boring you all with furniture-not-food, I’ll finish up by completing the sentence that is this blog post’s title.

The best companion for a Smurf Kitchen is a Skank Bed.

Because there’s no other word for something that requires 88 separate screws before it’ll let you go to sleep.

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Some days, I’m all about the thrill of the new. Sure, most of the chocolates in my post-travel stash are technically new, seeing as I haven’t opened them, but they’ve been in my company for so long that they feel familiar. Imagine you work at a coffee shop patronised by regular customers. Then imagine it’s a spring-time Saturday, and you’re bopping away to a free concert at the Botanical Gardens. Suddenly, you spot one of the regular [coffee] customers, and you start smiling as if you’re great friends. But, of course, you quickly remember that you don’t know each other at all. Imagine that sense of the banal-known-yet-actually-unknown. I feel that way about some of my long-stashed chocolates.

So it was with an unjustified (in terms of my usual dark-leaning tastes) amount of glee that I discovered, via the stupendous Kath, that Lindt has recently released four new chocolates to the Australian market.

Of these four, one piqued my interest. (Plain milk, milk with whole hazelnuts, and milk fruit and nut – I abjure you*.)

Lindt Swiss Gold White Chocolate with Almonds

Lindt Swiss Gold White Chocolate with Almonds

Chocolate I can do. Snow-covered mountains and skiing? Not so much.

I realise that I’ve only blogged one other white chocolate here so far: the wondrous Vestri’s White Chocolate with Pistachios. I’m not anti-white chocolate on principle, but there simply aren’t enough quality (or bizarrely-flavoured) white chocolates out there for me to do tasty, tasty battle with. (That said, El Rey’s Icoa, Askinosie’s whites, and Vosges’ d’Olivia are well worth going a round or two with.)

If Lindt’s white chocolate had merely incorporated whole almonds, I would have said thanks but no thanks. Plain nuts with plain chocolate bores me. Luckily for Lindt, for me, and for you, this chocolate is peppered not only with whole roasted almonds, but with almond brittle. Behold:

Lindt Swiss Gold White Chocolate with Almonds

Those ain't no poison ivy marks, them's spots of sweet brittle goodness! (Nope, I have no idea what dialect I'm going for there. Do you?)

Lindt’s Swiss Gold White Chocolate with Almonds has a clean and crisp aroma of fresh cream, tempered with subtle hints of roasted nuts (funny, that). I was pleased to see that the brittle was evenly dispersed throughout the chocolate, as were the browned and thereby well-roasted whole almonds (see photo below).

The taste of this chocolate isn’t particularly complex, but there’s something endearing about its simplicity. The flavours consistently call to mind fresh cream and milk, yet not in the sense of any overwhelming fattiness or thickness in the mouth. Instead, this chocolate tastes like fresh, cold, crisp, and naturally sweet milk, and like cream lightly whipped with a dusting of icing sugar (this is me disregarding, for the moment, that I don’t like token cream splotches on my desserts.)

Lindt Swiss Gold White Chocolate with Almonds

Surprise! That's where the whole almonds were hiding. On the bottom.

The almond brittle provides crunchy textural contrast and bursts of toffee sweetness, while the whole roasted almonds are almost enough to make me rethink my plain-nuts-in-chocolate aversion. Spectacularly crisp and full-flavoured, the tending-towards-savoury roasted almonds work as a great foil to the sweet chocolate. In fact, the almonds somewhat overwhelm the white chocolate’s subtlety, but no matter. I quite enjoyed the respite from unwavering milky sweetness.

White chocolate, in any form, will never replace my super-dark chocolate love (did I mention I have a Lindt 99% in my stash?), but this version certainly placated my desire for novelty.

Also, my wonderful father bought this for me. Dad? Thank you muchly.

* Darn tootin’ that’s a Sookie Stackhouse reference. But just so you know, I’m also halfway through Bleak House. Take that, high/low culture divide.

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As I have mentioned previously, I am not being altogether successful with posting my adventures in the correct order. In keeping with this, I have a huge backlog of chocolates to review yet absolutely cannot wait to post about the deliciousness of [one of] last night’s chocolates. 

Vestri Girone dei Golosi – Bianco Pistacchi: White Chocolate Bar with Pistachios

Vestri Girone dei Golosi, White Chocolate with Pistachios

Vestri Girone dei Golosi: White Chocolate with Pistachios

Oh. My. Heavens. Look, you all know by now that I’m a dark chocolate person. But when I do want something sweeter, I usually crave white rather than milk chocolate. In addition, I am helpless when faced with any intriguingly-flavoured or crazy-sounding chocolate bar, regardless of its base chocolate type. 

I am also unable to resist anything with pistachios, yet I rarely come across a treat that allows the pistachio flavour to truly shine. More often than not, I’ll pick up a pistachio nougat, marzipan, or ice cream and be disappointed to taste little more than bland sweet with vague nuttiness. 

Vestri Vestri Girone dei Golosi, White Chocolate with Pistachios

The magic begins... 😀

This chocolate, my friends, this Girone dei Golosi/Bianco Pistacchi/White Chocolate with Pistachios (a mouthful in more ways than one) is another story. In fact, it’s the Anna Karenina to generic pistachio nougat’s Gossip Girl novels; it’s The Book Thief to fluoro-green pistachio ice cream’s LA Candy. I mean, just look at the colour of the chocolate, and the plethora of whole roasted pistachios studded throughout: 

Vestri Girone dei Golosi, White Chocolate with Pistachios

It's like a pistachio party, and everyone's invited.

The muted green-beige colour comes from the inclusion of not only whole pistachios in the bar but pistachio paste in the chocolate itself. As soon as the aroma hits, you know you’re in for the essence, the epitome, of pistachio, and from the first nibble the complex blend of sweet chocolate offset by roasted, nutty, almost savoury pistachios is amazing. Yes, I’m pulling out the superlatives here, but it really was that good. Just look! 

Vestri Girone dei Golosi, White Chocolate with Pistachios

Noms ahoy!

The texture is softer than pure chocolate, presumably from the pistachio paste. Good choice, Vestri. It melts in the mouth, almost like a cross between fudge and butter – at least until you hit (and you will hit, constantly) a roasted pistachio. These pistachios are very, very roasted – in fact, I think they’ve been taken absolutely as far as they could go before hitting the bitter stage, but this simply plays against the sweetness of white chocolate flawlessly. 

Tasting this, I think the best and most accessible description I can come up with for the flavour is of Gianduja or Nutella made with pistachio and white chocolate instead of hazelnut and milk chocolate. The chocolate has some honey and spice notes, but let’s be honest here: it’s all about the pistachios… 

Vestri Girone dei Golosi, White Chocolate with Pistachios

The last food porn shot, I promise.

It’s also about the please-don’t-end.

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