Thursday, May 27, 2010

socola chocolatier

Socola Chocolate TruffleAll photographs ©
Ron Dunlap/Doglight Studios
There are some things you experience that invariably make you smile: a child's giggle, a beautiful sunset or playing with your best furry friend. Socola Chocolatier's truffles have this very same infectious quality from the moment you see their cheery packaging (which is almost too cute to open) to when you savor the last exquisite Socola truffle. Every detail has been carefully thought through all the way down to Harriet, their whimsical winged Alpaca mascot.

Socola Chocolatier offers a carefully curated selection of chocolates made with local and organic ingredients, including the award winning Straus Creamery, butter and cream. Their core offerings are downright ethereal and if you're lucky, you may be able to sample some of their tempting seasonal offerings that include Calmyrna Fig, Earl Grey Tea, Socola Chocolatier Truffle BoxSour Cherry and Pumpkin Caramel - that last one almost makes me drool just thinking about it.

The partners themselves, sisters Susan and Wendy, who are daughters of Vietnamese origin (Socola is chocolate in Vietnamese) are are as delightful as their chocolates. Their success story carries through each chocolate, in which flavors and textures are woven together in a masterful fashion.

Our delightful sampling included Burnt Baby Burnt, Give it to me Guava, Guinness, and Vietnamese Espresso.

Burnt Baby Burnt is Socola Chocolatier's version of burnt and salted caramel. Creamy and decadent, the burnt, smoky caramel flavor lingers on your tongue Socola Chocolatier Boxlong after you've finished off the truffle.

For anyone who favors fruity truffles, Give it to Me Guava is a must. The ganache has a jelly like texture, which, combined with the chocolate couverture, makes you want to do cartwheels after each bite.

Unusual taste combinations can be hit-or-miss. Sometimes they are surprisingly good and sometimes you realize there is a reason why those flavors aren't more mainstream. The Guinness though is a hit. I loved the malty hops flavor combined with the silky chocolate ganache. My idea of heaven would be to take a six-pack of Socola Chocolatier's Guinness truffles, sitting under a shady tree on a sunny day and readiing a good book. OK. Well maybe a twelve-pack would be more in Socola Chocolatier Gift Boxorder.

If you have never had a Vietnamese Coffee or Tea you must stop whatever you are doing, this very instant, and run to your nearest Vietnamese restaurant and try one. This beverage is basically a decadent combination of two vices: coffee and cream, the cream in the form of thick, condensed milk. On a hot day, cold day, or any day for that matter, nothing hits the spot like a Vietnamese Coffee or Tea. This is unfortunate as the beverage has enough calories to take you to next Tuesday. So, if you want to continue fitting into your skinny jeans, Socola Chocolatier offers a superior alternative in what amounts to just a sip of whole drink, and then they add chocolate to the mix. Packed into the Socola little Vietnamese Espresso truffle is a shot of fresh roasted Vietnamese coffee swirled in with rich, organic condensed milk. Of all the Socola chocolates, this particular truffle was hands down the favorite and vanished in milliseconds. Savor one and we guarantee you won't be able to suppress a smile.

socola chocolatier contact information

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

gail ambrosius

Gail Ambrosius TrufflesAll photographs ©
Ron Dunlap/Doglight Studios
If you look at a Gail Ambrosius box of chocolates and exclaim prior to devouring them, "What an exquisite, dazzling box of chocolates! I wonder if they taste as good as they look?", the answer is a resounding yes. Each truffle is enrobed in a silky, rich and sinful chocolate that melts away in your mouth in a silky puddle of bliss and leaves you in Chocolate Nirvana - no matter how bad your day has been. And let's face it, with the economy, there are more days than not for the most of us where we need a pick-me-up. And I ask you, is there any pick-me-up that is better than one covered in artisanal chocolate?

Have you ever asked yourself on one-of-those-days "Am I crazy? Well, sadly the very fact you're asking that question means you probably are but, don't feel too bad because Gail Ambrosius Truffleseveryone else is crazy too. Before you get too philosophical with that thought, there is an easy way to take your mind off the lunatic asylum that is probably is your life. One bite of Lucille's Vanilla, for example, a seemingly unassuming chocolate with a chocolate pudding inspired ganache will make you feel like you are floating on a fluffy white cloud. If congested traffic is bringing you down, a Gail Ambrosius Raspberry truffle that just bursts with berry goodness will transport you to an open, grassy field, warm and golden from the sun. Or surround yourself with sophisticates instead of the inmates that are around you, by sampling an extraordinary Earl Grey that combines orange blossom, bergamot, black tea and a touch of lavender with nothing short of magic.

If it's yachts, diamonds and satin sheets in your Gail Ambrosius Caramel Sprinkled with Grey Salt Truffledreams, try the luxurious Gail Ambrosius Caramel with Grey Salt which is an elegant blend of Madagascar Vanilla with a pinch fleur de sel. Sweet and savory at it's very best.

If the exotic appeals to you, Gail Ambrosius offers an alluring selection that will tantalize and bewitch your taste buds. Cinnamon/Cayenne mixes the sweetness of cinnamon with the fire of roasted chilies and Sweet Curry with Saffron is a symphony of fragrant spices: coriander, tumeric, cumin, cardamom and saffron- the most expensive spice in the world. The Coconut, a special edition truffle offered in the spring has a rich, coconut center with crunchy coconut flakes that made me feel as though I were on a tropical island beach Gail Ambrosius Boxwith a clear blue ocean lapping at my feet. My favorites were flavored with ginger. The Cognac, a blend of cognac and candied ginger and the Lemongrass with Ginger, a fusion of lemon grass, coconut pureed ginger pulp and topped with candied lemon peel are guaranteed to take you far, far away from your troubles .

gail ambrosius contact information

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

mo's fudge factor

All photographs ©
Ron Dunlap/Doglight Studios
If I were King, if there would be such a thing in the United States and if I technically didn't have to be a Queen because I am a girl (because I would prefer to be King) I would make sure everyone had some fudge every morning and that would guarantee the world would be a much better place. And if that fudge were Mo's Fudge Factor fudge, the world would be a much, much better place.

Have you ever noticed nothing ever goes wrong when you're eating fudge? For example, you lose your keys in the morning, you are late for your appointment, you step in a puddle, it causes the toe strap on your new, designer, very cute strappy sandals break off (and if you know anything about strappy sandals, you can no longer walk with them once the toe strap snaps off. They just dangle foolishly from your ankle.) You feel frustrated, not to mention not as cute as you were hoping to look when you put your outfit together in the morning, and if you were Charlie Brown, you would have a black cloud drawn over your head. But then you sit down and cut yourself a nice thick slice of fudge because you truly deserve it for your terrible day and then the clouds part revealing a sunny, bright blue sky, fluffy, billowy clouds and there are flowers blooming everywhere. That what is was like to bite into a slice Mo's Fudge Factor fudge.

Mo's Fudge Factor fudge will bring you back to your childhood, you know, when you whined and manipulated your parents until they broke down and bought you some fudge on the boardwalk, not that you needed any more sugar in your system because you were already driving them crazy and making them wonder why they even had children in the first place. The only thing is that Mo's Fudge Factor is even better than seashore fudge, even without the ocean in the background because it's made with the finest cocoa, fresh, all-natural ingredients and flavorings and no preservatives. Plus all the fudge is made in small artisanal, mouth-watering batches.

Each flavor of Mo's Fudge Factor fudge is rich, dense with a perfect fudgy texture and a tiny amount of sugar crunch between your teeth. The Chocolate is wonderfully creamy and if you like walnuts, you must try the Chocolate Walnut, which has plump, flavorful, Walnuts sprinkled on top. For some creative mix and matching try the Maple Walnut: a genius blend of real maple syrup with buttery fudge; Peanut Butter: smooth and creamy with an exceptional peanut butter taste or the extraordinary Cappuccino fudge which will stop you in your tracks, in-between your Mo's Fudge Factor Chocolate Fudge bites - just to make sure you get your cocoa fix of course. Whatever you do though, we guarantee you'll end up with a smile on your face.

mo's fudge factor contact information

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

emergency chocolate at whole foods

whole foods theo chocolateAll photographs ©
Ron Dunlap/Doglight Studios
Gourmet chocolate, the really good stuff is often hard to find, or requires a trip and sometimes even a special order where waiting for your treat to arrive requires the patience of a saint. Yet sometimes, if you are like me, you find yourself having a gourmet chocolate emergency. This is the time, when you absolutely need to cram your mouth full of rich, creamy, high quality chocolate or something undesirable like a chocolate homicide may occur in your immediate vicinity.

Fear not. There is a solution: your friendly, neighborhood Whole Foods grocery store. Each Whole Foods offers a different gourmet chocolate selection depending on where you live as their buying is “decentralized.” This basically means, each buyer purchases the best chocolates available in their region for their customers.

Our recent sampling included these luscious Whole Foods offerings:

The 365 Whole Foods, Organic Dark Chocolate with Almonds is simply nosh worthy. The chocolate is smooth, dark, and each bite delivers a satisfying amount of toasted crushed almonds. This is the kind of chocolate bar where you can savor each bite or mindlessly devour.

For a nuanced and elegant chocolate, look no further than the Kallari 70% single source, organic chocolate. This chocolate bar delivers on everything you might imagine with an artisanal chocolate. The chocolate is rich, silky, robust and followed by a surprisingly subtle vanilla aftertaste.

Delicately and glamorously swirled with a creamy ribbon of cherry, cherry and chocolate fans are sure to fall head over heels in love with the Bissingers All Natural Cherry Chocolate Bar. Our bar was inhaled by such a fan in a matter of seconds while our tester kept exclaiming “what a wonderful cherry taste” or at least that’s what we think he was saying because his mouth was full of chocolate.

What’s also wonderful about the Whole Foods selection is that they offer a broad range of smaller artisanal chocolate bars so you can afford to be adventurous and try something you might normally not try as evidenced in the Dolphin Dark Pink Peppercorns from Brazil. While you don’t usually think of peppercorns and chocolate, this is an thoroughly addictive and creative combination. The dark chocolate melts on your tongue and then the pink peppercorns bloom like a flower in your mouth - a highly unusual but desirous sensation.

My favorite of the chocolates was the Theo Bread and Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Bar. When we opened the bar we were disappointed as we were hoping to see large chunks of bread. Then we took our first bite and our disappointment vanished as quickly as the bar did. We were rewarded with crunchy sourdough bread crumbs mixed with an extraordinary smooth dark chocolate. A divine experience that that clearly affirmed Whole Foods as a dependable emergency chocolate destination.

whole foods store locations

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