September 11, 2011

What I have been eating - Chocolates

The origins of the word "chocolate" probably comes from the Classical Nahuatl word xocolatl (meaning "bitter water"), and entered the English language from Spanish.
And for more of that head straight to wikipedia on Chocolate and the History of Chocolates. This post is mainly to review a few chocolates that I have tried over the last couple of years. So plunging right into the 'dark-brown' world.....


Lindt Excellence : Chilli
Tagline: "Fine Dark chocolate with extract of chilli pepper"
Weight:100g
Cost: 235INR
This 100g beast is probably the best chocolate that i have had till date. What i expect from a chocolate is a different salubriuous taste and flavour which blows my head off without me knowing it ;) And this is exaclty what this chocolate had to offer me.

This is a dark bitter chocolate with very nice chilli after taste; which adds a more powerful signature taste to it without being too excessive. This chocolate along with a cup of milk would be an ideal evening drink or can be consumed straight, if you do not mind the slight bitterness. There is a slight heat at the very begining that might go unnoticed but heat in the aftertaste is the winner here. Texture wise, this is a smooth chocolate.

Coming out of the Lindt Excellence stables, this was defintiely a tad appart from the series. I am surprised that despite the unique flavour that his bar had to offer, very few stores sell this - probably, people are not very keen on the chilli flavour and prefer the 'caramel' of the chocolate which is a totally different ball game.


Lindt Excellence : 85% cocoa
Tagline: "Luxuriously smooth : deliciusly intense"
Weight: 100g
Cost  : 235INR
There are three words to describe this one : "DARK" , "SMOOTH" and "BITTER". Am sure most people would not like such an intense bitterness in chocolates, but what they miss is the pure cacoa which comes along with this, and the pure genuineness of the chocolate that would otherwise be never be felt. I agree that this chocolate would probably be the most bitter of all the ones stocked out there, but i think this chocolate is best to be consumed with a glass milk either in the morning(along with your paper) or in the evening(after a heavy day's work). The smoothness does stick to your tongue for sometime and hence the bitterness is felt for an extended period of time, unlike the others from Lindt.

I have been hearing that chocolate with the same percentage of cacoa, that is 85%, can indeed taste different and is dependant on various factors during manufacturing. I am yet to sample other varieties with 85% cacoa.(I also hear that there is a 99% cacoa from Lindt!)
 


STORCK's Riesin : Dark chocolate - chewy toffee (with original gavoa: cacao blend)
Weight: 270g
Cost: 5USD
This was a surprise to me. I stumbled on this chocolate and found that it was a German brand and immediately picked it up. I had never sampled a German chocolate before.  The caramel is sweet but what makes this stand apart is that its not 'sugary-sweet' and the dark chocolate in it blends amazingly well and spreads a beautiful aroma in your mouth. The chocolate sticks to your teeth, but i think thats what it was meant to be - "a chewy tofee" and am sure kids would love this. I bought this at the Cairo Airport and again stumbled on this recently in Duty Free at SriLanka, but i am not sure what happened during the latter, and i totally missed buying this again(loser!).
  
Godiva : Chocolatier Gems : Assorted dark chocolates - caramels, truffles, solids
Weight: 284g
This bag of individually wrapped dark chocolates would be a probable winner, even with those who do not like dark chocolates much.  The caramels taste a lot like Reisin Dark Chocolate(toffee), but are slightly less sweet.The texture is smooth and the caramel lingers around for sometime. The truffles are equally good and are not intense. Overall, though this package is labelled 'Dark', the intensity is medium. The packaging is nice and appealing and individual wrappers are equally well done.


Daim - Smooth Milk Chocolate Bars with a surprisingly crunchy butter almond caramel centre (42% milk choc)
 Weight: 336g [12 bars]
A Swedish chocolate from Kraft, this was so different from what i had expected. The package consists of 12 bars(all are same).   I wanted to eat a good milk chocolate bar and the bar was just right. The bar can be consumed either after refrigeration when the caramel inside it hardens or can be kept out in the open for sometime, so that the chocolate melts a bit. I would like to buy this again for it is simple and crunchy as its advertises itself and probably even exceeds expectations. I hardly felts the almonds, but the smoothness in it and the texture of the caramel when bitten was perfect. Take a bite, and leave it float in your mouth for sometime to 'feel' it. Swiss definitely are pioneers in the field of chocolates.

By the way, this is a 42% milk chocolate(unlike the Americans who call even a 10% to be a milk chocolate).

Munz : Swiss Premium Chocolate
Weight: 300g
I had never stumbled on Munz before and picked this up along with a Lindt to compare the two and i must say that this tastes better than the Lindt Milk. The packaging is very much similar to that of Lindt and so is the texture. I could feel the milk more in here than in the Lindt. The chocolate just dissolves in your mouth and you just do not want to gulp it down fast :)



Lindt Swiss Premium Chocolate (Milk Extra)
Weight: 300g
Cost: 9USD
Like a typical Lindt, this has the almost similar packaging and as i mentioned above for Munz tastes almost similar but Munz takes over this in the sweetness department. Both Munz and Lindt are definite buys.

Butlers - A selection of chocolate caramels and pralines
Weight: 125g
Butlers! Oh Butlers! I think this selection of caramels and Pralines is probably the best amongst its peers. The pralines are so darn nice and smooth. Am at loss of words when it comes to Butler's as almost all their chocolates are so nice and wakes up the kid inside you. The caramels in this box are equally great and the sweetness is just right. Simply "Go For It" when you see it in the stores.


Ghirardelli - Masterpieces collection
Ghirardelli is from USA.This was an assortment of chocolates, primarily of truffles and caramels.
It consists of Milk Caramel Chew,  White Gourmet Truffle, Milk Pecan Caramel Classic, Dark Raspberry Gem, Milk creamy white heart,  Dark ORange Gourmet Truffle and Milk Gourmet Truffle. The Dark Raspberry Gem was the best among this collection of chocolates. It had a sharp distinctive flavour and the raspberry filled core when pinched/pierced fills the mouth with this taste. The last time when i had a Raspberry chocolate was the Butler's Raspberry Milk chocolate which was and is still the best milk chocolate that i had till date.




 



Absolutely Divine - Creamy Milk Chocolate Squares (30% cacoa)
Weight:128g
This set of individually wrapped milk chocolates is definitely one of the most simple milk chocolates. Its pretty smooth and sticks around for sometime, and i feel that just one square would not be enough to actually 'taste' the chocolate in it. The cacoa does not stand out and the chocolate is pretty much a minimalist. Having said this, i would definitely like to try out the "Intense Dark Chocolate" from their stables and see how it ranks when compared with its peers.





Hershey's Pot of Gold : Fine confections
Tagline : "Premium collection of truffles,nut clusters, caramels, and other fine confections"
Weight: 283g
This would probably be a good cheap collection of confections which introduces one to different varieties of 'collection' chocolates. Most of that in this collection are very simple and nothing stands out. My complaint with Hershey's is that i find an increasing amount of peanut and hazelnut aftertaste in most of their chocolates which destroys the very aspect of cocoa. Nevertheless, i guess this would be a very good gift for the entire family especially pleasing younger ones during any celebration.


Frey : Chocolate Noir
Tagline: "Fine Dark Chocolate with almond-honey-nougat"
Weight: 100g
Cost: 2.5 USD
Frey claims that they are the "Swiss Premium Chocolate maker since 1887", but i am not sure why the word "premium" is attached in here. The chocolate is simple and nutty. Dark is probably a misnomer here, as it tastes more like a milk-chocolate. The outward texture is simple and smooth but a bite shows the chunks of almonds. The packaging is simple and this would be a good snack. This chocolate is more fudge-like than a simple dark chocolate which leaves the cacoa after taste. I havent sampled much from Frey's but am sure that they must have some other confections which are definitely a winner.

ION Milk chocolate
Weight:85g
Cost: 1.5USD
I never knew Greeks made chocolates; atleast i never knew that they had an International brand and this curiosity made me buy a bar in the Cairo Duty Free shop. The chocolate was somehow just not upto the mark. I mean, if you are looking for gourmet taste, then this definitely does not rank anywhere close to it or aspiring to be of one the best. It is an ordinary looking no-brainer with a very sweet taste and with no chunks. This is just a simple milk chocolate which you might even forget after the bite.


Maestro : Vochelle Hazelnuts in Dairy Milk Chocolate
Weight: 50g
Avoid is the best word that would come to your mind if you see this in the store. I did not find anything unique or tasty about this piece. I probably survived as the bar was small and did not cost me much. I think this chocolate is pretty famous in Malaysia, as i stumbled on mainly Malaysian stores when i wanted to Google and try to find more about this company and the product. Nevertheless, you can always try any other brand like Dairy Milk or 5Star for a better taste. I think this is one of those chocolates which is popular because it might be a fast seller because of the price, but definitely i wouldnt even buy then.



Kravour : Sinfull Chocolates
Weight:35g
Cost:30INR
This chocolate had bloomed(and i hate it). The package was bad(probably that explains the blooming?) and i am not sure why i actually picked it up.

 
Remember, choosing a "Chocolate" that suits your tastebuds is very much dependant on you. The choice varies from person to person, and is not like 'masala dosa' which is liked by all. Since there are so many variants to chocolates, one has to sample the various different varieties (which itself would take a lifetime) and then if time-permits, form an allegience with a brand or make. I always think that the journey is more important than the destination and in the World of Chocolates, i am sure that this is all the more valid.

(I collect the wrappers of the chocolates that i eat; i think its a nice hobby and it feels great when you browse through it on a lazy Sunday afternoon :) )
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