Friday, October 29, 2010

Noi Sirius: 33%

Happy Halloween! I was thinking about ways to make this entry spooky, but it's super hard to be scary in a blog entry so I have decided instead to write about this bar, the 33% milk chocolate bar by the Icelandic chocolate maker Sirius, because it is scary good. Also, it's scary big, scary inexpensive, and any kid would be lucky to receive it in his or her Halloween bag -- although it's highly unlikely that anyone will.

Noi Sirius: 33%
Cocoa content: 33%
Notable ingredients: n/a
Origin: n/a

Noi Sirius is the leading confectionery company in Iceland -- they were established in 1920 and have been using the same minimal packaging since 1933! The company makes all kinds of candy products including chocolate eggs, pastilles, and licorice. They also emphasize that the product is really good for baking -- I can attest to that, as I used the remainder of the 56% bar to make chocolate chip cookies two summers ago.

Everything about this bar, fittingly, was highly serious. It's enormous at 7.05 oz., and it consists of two heavy planks of milk chocolate, stacked one on top of the other and then wrapped cleanly in white parchment paper. It cost only about $4, which is less than some bars half its size. I have already been eating it for a week and I've only finished one of the planks. The chocolate itself is intensely rich and creamy, but not overly sweet. Noi Sirius uses "Icelandic quality milk," which I know very little about but which is apparently delicious. According to Noi Sirius's website, the only US vendor is Whole Foods, and they keep the price really low -- I can recommend this one and also the 56% variety.

Overall, this was and continues to be delicious! Noi Sirius may be one of the best chocolate companies I have Known. A.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Theo: Toasted Coconut

Have you ever seen anything that looks more like a present for a baby girl? Nor I -- though you're probably not supposed to give chocolate to babies. Or is that just dogs? In any case, if you were going to give a chocolate bar to a baby, you probably wouldn't give it something that costs $5 and bills itself as fair trade and organic. Baby girls don't care about that! You're wasting your money. This bar is part of Theo's Classic Collection line. I got it at a Whole Foods in New Jersey.

Theo: Toasted Coconut
Cocoa content: 70%
Notable ingredients: toasted coconut
Origin: n/a

Theo is one of my favorite domestic chocolate companies, even though I haven't always loved the Theo bars that I've blogged about here. The company is based in Seattle, WA. I like them for their well-made, balanced chocolate, their packaging, their partnership with Jane Goodall, and their excellent Fantasy Flavors line, that includes bars like "Fig Fennel & Almond" and "Bread and Chocolate" (the latter as seen on this blog.)

Coconut -- I want to say it is a crude confection. I want to say an inelegant-- what is a coconut? My sources say the coconut is a member of the palm family, and, I quote, "the only accepted member in the genus Cocos." What kind of wacky tree-dropping -- let's be honest, it's a tree nut -- gets its own genus in the plant kingdom? I want to say that coconut doesn't deserve it -- it's a tacky tree nut. But I've always really liked coconut confections. Almond Joy bars, in particular. So I bought this bar kind of as a guilty pleasure, expecting that my craving would be satisfied.

This bar tasted very good, but it didn't taste like coconut. Everyone I shared it with said the same thing. The lone member of the Cocos genus didn't show up. The texture of coconut was definitely present, but I absolutely didn't taste coconut once. Kind of a disappointment, although the bar was pretty good anyway. If someone could point me in the direction of a better coconut bar for next time, I'd be very appreciative.

For its goodness, unfulfilled promise of coconut aside, this bar gets a B.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Frey: Sogni de Caffe

I've been bad -- I should have updated days ago, but I was traveling in another city and was busy dealing with some other desserts. Having found all of them delicious but none of them blog-appropriate, I'm back to discuss -- in brief -- another bar from my friend Dan, who plays music and has an eye for chocolate.

Frey is a 120(!)-year-old Swiss chocolate company with an adorable website that takes you on a simulated tour of a city square in Switzerland. Try it -- it's actually really fun. There's also a section on the website for chocolate advertisements, with a video archive dating back to 1969! And, believe it or not, this company is also owned by Migros, the Swiss supermarket chain.

So I'm not going to do the usual statement of facts about this bar because I left the wrapper in another state. There were two different cocoa contents going on because the bar consisted of a thick layer of milk chocolate on top of a thinner, dark layer strewn with ground coffee beans. I'm not typically crazy about coffee-flavored confections, and this was a pleasant surprise -- good, but not amazing. I found that the flavors worked but the little shards of coffee bean were too inconsistent.

That's all for now. Thanks, everyone, for reading my blog. I hope to come back next week with something closer to home. B.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Jelina Chocolatier: Nougat au Miel

I purchased this extremely exciting bar at the Food Emporium Chocolate Shop on 68th and 3rd Avenue -- right near where Grandpa used to live, and I still have a reason to visit the neighborhood. The Chocolate Shop just started carrying Jelina Chocolatier products, and there is virtually no information about this company on the web so it's all kind of very mysterious and nougaty. This was an exceptional find.

Jelina Chocolatier: Nougat au Miel
Cocoa content: 36%
Notable ingredients: honey, nougat
Origin: n/a

Wowee Zowee -- both my reaction to this bar and the name of an album by Pavement, the greatest band of all time basically whom I saw perform in Central Park on the very same day that I bought this bar, thus rendering that day one of the very best of my life. Wowee Zowee -- this was delicious. Basically, we have a lot of little squares of decadent chocolate absolutely saturated with little shards of honey nougat, at once crunchy and chewy and sweet and nutty.

If you put a square of this in your mouth and let it melt, you're left with a solid conglomeration of tiny nougat pieces, which then slowly disintegrate, getting stuck in your teeth here and there, always delicious.

This was a near perfect bar. I am so lucky to have encountered this little chocolatier from Montreal, about which I know very little but whose packaging and product I certainly admire. A.