Sunday, November 28, 2010

Komforte Chockolates: French Toast

My friend Molly told me about Komforte Chockolates, a company in Orange, CA. I have never encountered these in stores, and I've had a lot of encounters in a lot of stores. These bars seem to be sold only in California, Oregon, Washington, and of course online. I bought this one on Amazon for about $5 and the shipping costs doubled the price but -- French Toast! It was worth it.

Komforte Chockolates: French Toast
Cocoa content: Unlisted (estimate 33%)
Notable ingredients: "french toast"
Origin: n/a

A lot of people gave me shit for choosing this bar over some of Komforte's other wackier flavors: Ramen Noodle and Tortilla with Lime. I love ramen noodles, but I imagine that bar just has crunchy dried noodles tangled within the chocolate, like packaged "ramen" before you've put it in boiled water, and that just didn't interest me. Plus, I was very curious about how french toast -- which I generally think of as sort of soggy and fluffy -- would be incorporated into the chocolate bar. Would it be eggy? Powdered with confectioner's sugar? Moist?

No, no, no. Actually, the second ingredient listed on the back of this bar (after milk chocolate) is -- get ready -- bagel chips! What? What do bagel chips and french toast have to do with one another? Are bagel chips even an ingredient? Aren't bagel chips just stale pieces of bagel? Obviously not, because these bagel chips have molasses in them. And natural beta carotene. What are bagel chips? What is french toast? When shall the twain meet?

But -- you know what -- I'm not really here to ask questions. This bar was so tasty. It tasted like honey-comb flavored bagel chips (go with it) embedded in creamy, appropriately salted milk chocolate. I had a really good time getting to know this bar and then -- in the blink of an eye, 2.5 ounces later, it was gone. Ramen noodles might be next, because who knows what will REALLY be in that bar. A-.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Starbucks: Dark Chocolate with Via

So I told you: I had something decidedly non-anonymous planned. I bought this bar in the Starbucks in Bronxville, NY, because I needed to go online and I thought I had to buy something to get a wireless code. Not so -- apparently you can get free wireless in all Starbucks locations now. But anyway, I ended up with this bar and apparently they had just been released. This has been my first introduction to Via coffee, Starbucks's new instant coffee product.

Starbucks: Dark Chocolate with Via
Cocoa content: Unlisted (my guess: 75%)
Notable ingredients: instant microground coffee
Origin: n/a

This is a tiny bar, 1.2 oz., which I guess is the size of most of those little chocolate bars they have up at the counter. "Via" and "Readybrew" are imprinted on the bar -- it's cute. It baffles me that Starbucks has such stale, dried-out pastries because they actually have really smart chocolate partnership: they sell TCHO and Santander bars in the stores. I think the chocolate for this Via bar was made by Santander, which is a really good foreign chocolate maker.

It tasted ok -- I'm generally not a big fan of coffee flavored things, but I have found that I enjoy a coffee flavor if its with a sweeter, lighter chocolate. This chocolate is actually quite dark and suffers from being a little acidic. The coffee is thankfully not grainy, and also not too strong. I guess it would be nice to enjoy with a cup of coffee.

I will probably not eat this again, but it wasn't bad. B.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tikras Sokoladas: Mystery Bar

This week was interesting because this week I ate a mystery chocolate bar. This will be an un-traditional entry because I'm working with very little information. Here's a list of the facts I do know:

1. My friend Dan brought it back from Lithuania for me.
2. It comes from a store called Tikras Sokoladas.
3. It is dark.

This gigantic bar, wrapped simply in plastic and a dark red ribbon, weighed probably close to 10 oz. I would guess that it had a cocoa content of about 72%, but it's hard to know for sure -- when I tried googling "Tikras Sokoladas," I got a scary list of Lithuanian Yelp-equivalents. There's no information about this bar online because it's not really a chocolate bar packaged as such -- obviously there's no label -- it's just a bar shaped package of this store's product.

It's very good! It's deceptively good. The snap is decent, the texture looks very inconsistent and air bubbly, but the taste is great: creamy, rich, and full of that roasted nib flavor.

The sticker on the bar has the address of the store: Vytauto g.4, Trakai (Trakai is the name of a town in Lithuania.) I used Google Maps to see the surroundings, and it looks like the store is right by a big lake -- Lentvario ez. Again, I tried googling the name of the shop and clicked on a blogspot link and asked Google to translate it to English for me. Once the page had loaded, there was no (translated) mention of Tikras Sokoladas -- only a curious blog entry titled "Hot Chocolate Cocoa Does Not Really."

So, this was a great find about which I still know very little. Stay tuned for next week, when I'll feature a decidedly un-mysterious chocolate bar. B+.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Winnipesaukee Chocolates: Madame Chiang

Madame Chiang Kai-Shek discovered Lake Winnipesaukee, smack-dab in the middle of the State of New Hampshire (thanks, Sherlock Kai-Shek,) in 1908. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe when they say (on the back of this bar) that she discovered the lake, they mean she came across it, not having known about it before. It's actually absurd to think that a woman from Shanghai could possibly have discovered Lake Winnipesaukee in 1908--while attending summer school nearby. I guess this packaging is just badly written. Anyway:

Winnipesaukee Chocolates: Madame Chiang
Cocoa content: Unlisted (my guess 65%)
Notable ingredients: crystallized ginger
Origin: n/a

So anyway--Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, former First Lady of the Republic of China, was walking in the woods in New Hampshire one day and came across Lake Winnipesaukee, as any normal person might if he or she were walking in the woods in New Hampshire--eventually--that's a pretty small state. To honor the day she happened upon the biggest lake in the state of New Hampshire, Winnipesaukee Chocolates created the Madame Chiang bar, which consists of dark chocolate with crystallized ginger. Sounds a little bit racist to me. Discuss.

This bar was kind of a dud, which is disappointing because the last Winnipesaukee bar I tried--Sally's Gut--was pretty nice. This bar was just way too thick and the ginger was dispersed too scarcely. The chocolate was kind of inconsistent in texture: unpleasantly grainy, with a lot of air bubbles, and very dried out. No melt or creaminess to speak of. And, on top of that, the bar was almost impossible to break. They should stretch these 3 oz. bars out so that they're half as thick--that would go a long way.

So, this bar certainly wasn't disgusting, but after eating it for two nights I wanted nothing to do with it. On to the next. C.