Taza Naranja y Canela Chocolate

Yum yum yum. The weather is hot outside but I’m snacking on the latest release from Taza, slated for a December introduction in time for the holidays. The Naranja y Canela dark chocolate wheel is delightful, just as nuanced as their other bars, with a distinctly wintry twist. Featuring vanilla bean, orange oils, cinnamon, cloves and other spices, each bite recalls the warm, spicy flavors of the holiday season.

The flavors in this bar are so nuanced! The banana-hinted chocolate base yields and transitions smoothly to the spices. While the orange isn’t as forward as some dark chocolate orange zest bars I’ve had, there’s a distinctly floral flavor that brings out the bittersweet flavors in the cinnamon bark. It’s delicious, and I love the grainy texture. It’s a very rustic bar, versatile for all functions and needs. I love using these in baking and making hot drinks out of them, too.

porcinipleasuresU: wats up
foodie8910: nm u
porcinipleasuresU: in brn rm of sex er lol confection…u like ur new macbook?
foodie8910: kewl
foodie8910: ya thanx its super
porcinipleasuresU: cummin up with new things 4 us 2 try……new kinds of shrooms
foodie8910: kewl
porcinipleasuresU: u dnt like shrooms ne more?
foodie8910: their okay i guess
foodie8910: cnt relly talk im with a friend
porcinipleasuresU: who r u with??
porcinipleasuresU: hellooooo??
porcinipleasuresU: where did u go???
— foodie8910 is away —
— foodie8910 is back —
— foodie8910 is away —
— foodie8910 is back —
porcinipleasuresU: hey what happened?
foodie8910: sry had 2 pee
foodie8910: with my friend taza naranja y canela
porcinipleasuresU: WHO
biotaza: u can call me orange and cinnamon :-{)D

porcinipleasuresU: wtf is that? and wtf r u doin here? this is a private chat hello!!!!
biotaza: it’s a smiley with a moustache and a beard lol
foodie8910: lol isn’t he funny?
porcinipleasuresU: ummmmmmm, we need to talk, who is this guy?!
biotaza: i’m made of orange oils, cinnamon, vanilla, and organic mexican chocolate. :/)~>
porcinipleasuresU: plz stop making those emoticons
foodie8910: met taza @ the ffs this summer…we totes hit it off n hes comin 2 visit in december to live here 4 good!!!
porcinipleasuresU: o
biotaza: i thi
biotaza: nk we cud all b friends :—D–B
foodie8910: hes all fairtrade organic n he lives in bostonnnnn too
porcinipleasuresU: wtf this is so screwed up
porcinipleasuresU: i bought u this new macbook iphone n blackberry so we cud IM not so u cud meet other chocolates!!!
foodie8910: w/e
porcinipleasuresU: laters baby
porcinipleasuresU: btw i hate u
porcinipleasuresU: btw my audi is a rental
porcinipleasuresU: btw im not really 100% dark chocolate i just said that so ud eat me
porcinipleasuresU: btw im seeing other chix
— porcinipleasuresU has signed off —
biotaza: so what do u wanna do today
biotaza: u wanna cyber?
biotaza: do u have to give back the macbook now?
foodie8910: no
foodie8910: maybe
foodie8910: so do u like to bake?
biotaza: yes ūüėČ

Zotter Mitzi Blue Hemp Plantation Bar

Zotter! The holy grail of chocolate! You have no idea how excited I am to try this for the first time. This falls somewhere between the acquisition of our kitten and my 6th birthday party. A pony was involved. Shit got real pretty fast. It’s also worth noting that I basically have one week left before I officially have to start caring about politics. Many blogs, politically inclined or not, may be mentioning the Healthcare Reform Act, psychotic New York Elmo,¬†or the end of Stolen Valor. Not this guy. I have exactly one more week of blissful apathy. Once I get my LSAT scores, it’ll be time for me to become an informed adult. I’ve heard of those. And soon, I shall become one.
But for now, a little legal relaxation with the new Zotter Mitzi Blue Hemp Plantation Bar, courtesy of Newleaf Chocolates, with hemp nougat, hemp seeds, and milk chocolate. BYOIABADR, if you will, meaning, Bring Your Own Incense and Bong and Drug Rug, but the hemp is here, baby. Delicious, delicious hemp seed. This is also one of the most visually stunning bars I’ve seen in a while. It looks like a minimalist Kit-Kat with the way it’s arranged. I can’t decide if I want to frame it or take a bite out of it.

The flavor is also fantastic. While a little more muted than I anticipated, the milk chocolate provides a solid backup flavor. It’s very caramel-heavy, with a slightly, but not really detectably salty undertone and a distinct milkiness. Due to its richness, the nuttiness of the hemp tends to get lost if you’re not biting into a nougat circle, which happens roughly 2 out of every 3 bites. The circular composition of the bar also guarantees an uneven distribution of toppings. But damn, it’s pretty. The hemp nougat is my favorite part. It tastes like concentrated halvah candy.

Today, on Fifty Shades of Single Origin Hell…our heroine arises from a dark encounter with an even darker bar. No, not 100% from the deepest, darkest forests of Madagascar, but a bolder fear! Porcini mushroom truffles!

When I woke, Porcini was standing over me. I arose. Despite that I’d slept on a bed that felt as though it were made of unicorn feathers and the gently harvested tears of orphaned baby giraffes, my body ached from the trials I’d undergone the night before. Suddenly, it all came back to me. Mushrooms. The Brown Room. Oh, my god…

I rushed to my phone. Oh my god. I had no missed phone calls, and no missed texts. Nobody had called to see where I was for the last eight hours and why I didn’t come back to my cat-filled apartment. I furrowed my brow. Nobody had even commented to see why I didn’t add to my¬†20-part¬†feature, 30 Ways to Spice Up Your Relationship with Exotic Spices. (Tip 16: Pepper fight!) It was like they didn’t even care when I missed a day of blogging! I humphed. Suddenly, Porcini was behind me, a peculiar piece of chocolate in their hand.

“Here, try this,” they said, handing it to me. “I grow it in my backyard. I call it Merkwelt.” I took a piece anxiously. After what I’d experienced in the room last night,¬†I didn’t know what to expect. “Eat it,” they said, a domineering opnipotence thundering from their mouthhole. Their voice softened. “Its scientific name is¬†the Zotter Mitzi Blue Hemp Plantation, previously only available in Austria. But I know a guy.” I took some. It was soft, smoother than I’d expected. I coughed.

Porcini laughed. “There are a few seeds in this, but they’re harmless. Be careful, and take small bites.” I took a little more, my palate adjusting to the strange, yet smoky flavors. “It’s really strong,” I said. The chocolate was so intense and smooth, and so beautiful in design. The flavors culminated in a gentle, nutty aftertaste of smooth hemp nougat, delicate and almost grassy in flavor.

Suddenly, I felt a lot better. It was as though my brain had been replaced with a calming, centering oasis, and that oasis had been replaced with a placebo effect! I giggled like someone who had literally never taken anything stronger than a baby aspirin before.¬†Porcini would predictably find my naivete adorable!¬†“Is this bar…is this, like, the same as like, weed?” Porcini smiled broadly. “No, you’re just inexperienced. Hemp is harmless, with the exception that it contains more essential fatty acids than many foods. ” They were so smart! Possibly even the smartest, richest thing alive. They were like a rich, shroomy, young, baby supergenius.

“Come on,” said Porcini. “Let’s go grind in my Audi!” And off we went, unaware of the mortal¬†danger that awaited us in the luxury vehicle…

To be continued…

Bissinger’s Porcini Mushroom Truffles

Porcini mushroom truffles. They were handed to me at the show, five square inches of challenge and cojones wrapped up in brown fluted cups. I knew that if any company could make my arch nemesis, mushrooms, work, it would be Bissinger’s. Coincidentally, I received some porcini and pepita toffee in the mail around the same time, courtesy of Dude, Sweet Chocolate. It was then that I decided that a mushroom pairing was in order.

¬†The verdict? Absolutely delicious and too smooth for its own good. The chocolate is austere, a good thing as there’s plenty of rich ganache, dark chocolate coating, and bitter cacao nibs to enjoy. For all intents and purposes, it would seem like an average, exceptionally tasty and beguiling truffle. But it’s clearly not. Mid-bite, the earthiness, the dirt and smoke flavors of the mushroom kick in. It’s almost meaty, which is why these go so well with a red wine. However, it’s a mild flavor and isn’t overpowering. Trust me, I’d know. The fruitiness of the dark chocolate counters the more savory flavors. It’s a compact, if subtly-flavored treat with a great set of flavors.

 And now, onto the story! 

Porcini was cute, perhaps a little too cute. Square-jawed, with piercing brown eyes and cacao nib dimples when they smiled, which was far and few between. P spent most of the time hanging out with us, but at the last minute, had to leave on their private helicopter-jetski for an important business call, leaving us their good wishes to play nicely.

“Are you sure you’re okay with this?” P asked, pausing briefly before securing their helmet and stepping onto the launch pad. I shrugged, “The contract says that I, the chocoholic, must obey the wishes of the chocolate. And if you will it…” P smiled. “I do. Have a good time, and remember, Jessica Ruby Emerald Hermione Spiderman McCondoms, you must face your fears.” Smiling, P stepped into the chopper. “Breaker 6-4, Cacao to Pricy Airport, airplane lingo, over,” and that was the last I saw of them, the helicopter soaring into the night sky.

Porcini turned to me. “It’s cold out here, isn’t it?” I looked them deep in the eyes, not wanting to back down. Porcini laughed, “Jessica, I’m fully aware that this is a dark path, perhaps even a 72% path, to lead you down, but this is the way I am. It’s the only way we can have any sort of relationship.” Holy crow, I thought to myself. Was this really what I want? As if reading my mind, Porcini smiled. “Tell me what you want. For instance,” they said, shifting their fluted wrapper down a hair, “Right now, as you’re biting your lip, I’m imagining you biting down on me, on my shell.” Stepping closer, I could feel the protrusion of the chocolate pressing into me.

“No!” I stepped back. “I…I don’t know what I want.” Porcini smiled again, moving the fluted wrapper on and gesturing toward the door. “There’s no need to rush. Shall we head back to my place? We could enjoy my collection of Pouilly Fuisse. Or Sauvignon Blanc. Or Chardonnay. I’m a man of many white-wine-based tastes, you know.”

Back at his expansive, spacious lair, Porcini strode into the kitchen. “Jeeves von Stereotypen! A glass of the finest Sutter Home for my guest,” eyes twinkling. “Now, tell me,” they said, “In your contract, is there anything you won’t do with mushrooms? You can be honest.” I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. “I’ve…I’ve never had a mushroom before.” Trailing off, Porcini turned away from me, head in hands. Suddenly, they threw the box of Sutter Home across the room. I stared in horror as I watched $7.95 worth of wine crash on the floor.

Porcini grabbed my hand, leading me to the aforementioned Brown Room of Confection. “Come with me,” they growled, and hurled open the door. “I want to show you all of this.” I gasped. The room was filled with mushrooms and chocolate, from wall to ceiling. All the varieties- chanterelles, truffles, fluffy white puffballs, massive porcinis, were all there, a musky scent rising from the floor. “You want me to eat these?!” I said. It seemed so scary, so overwhelming.

“I want you to experience them,” said Porcini. “With me.” Rushing toward me, they plunged a truffle into my mouth, my tongue and teeth singing with sweet chocolate, an underlying muskiness, and the tang of sea salt and bitter cacao nibs echoing in my throat. “Let go, baby. Oh, you’re so responsive!” I moaned around the truffle, swirling it in my mouth and reaching my climax as I splintered into a million pieces under Porcini. I ran around the room, grabbing mushrooms and hunks of dark chocolate, cramming them in my mouth. Porcini’s words undid me. Shoving pieces of Dude Sweet Chocolate’s porcini and pumpkin seed toffee at one minute, moaning over Meiji’s mushroom-shaped chocolates in another. I was out of control. I was completely addicted to shrooms.

When I woke up, it was dark. Melted chocolate was smeared all over my mouth, the taste of fungus still rank on my breath. I smelled like a drug dealer’s basement. I floated downstairs, beckoned by the sound of a wistful piano solo. Porcini sat by the piano, softly playing Yellow Submarine and transitioning to Terrapin Station. It was beautiful. “How long have you been playing?” Porcini smiled sadly. “Since I was six.” I imagined Porcini as an adorable, chocolate-smudged spore, and smiled. “Now, Miss McCondoms, we have a big day ahead of us, so sleep…sleep and dream of mushrooms. And me.” My subconscious, swiftly falling asleep with me, toked up to Harold and Kumar as I drifted to sleep…

To be continued…

Justin’s Nut Butter Peanut Candy Bar

According to my fantastic, made-up demographics, some of you like pie with your coffee, some of you like coffee with your pie, but you don’t like coffee-flavored pie. Likewise, some of you like romance novels, and some of you like food blogging, but some of you also don’t like erotic food-blogging. In the interest of satisfying the tastes all of my dear readers, I have elected to cut down Fifty Shades of Chocolate to a one-week serial. Rest assured, fans, Jessica McLovin’ McDesire McDestiny’s Child McWunderbar will find a partner to call her own. Haters, I’m modifying the chocolate week posts to have the rating before the story. SFW for all and if you want to read it, you can, and if you don’t, you don’t have to.

Today we’re trying Justin’s Nut Butter Candy Bars, a playful counterpart to their take on peanut butter cups. Now they’re getting into Snickers bars, too, and in a pretty decent way. I first tried these at the Fancy Food Show and am now tasting them again. The nice folks at Justin’s gave me a sample of their Milk Chocolate Peanut bar to review, the one I thought would be best as a comparative taster. The bar is advertised as having 25% less sugar, 25% more protein, and 100% more fiber than the leading bar and it tastes that way on all counts.¬†

The bar itself has a less indulgent mouthfeel, but a wholesome, tasty set of ingredients. The marshmallow nougat holds the bar together well but there seems to be a lack of proportion between the caramel and nougat. It has a crumbly texture with a more solid, chewy caramel base. I’m also confused as to where the peanuts come in. The ingredients list both peanut butter and peanuts, but neither showed up very well within the bar’s flavor. It was just sort of bland. For a company whose nut butter is notoriously indulgent, delicious, and savory, I was surprised that this was formulated with such a restrained flavor. It’s straightforward, but unfortunately, crumbles beneath the competition. Perhaps a little more eclectic usage of ingredients would save this one.

“No! Not the FCC requirements and giveaway runoff!” I screamed, running down the hall of infinite darkness. “I don’t want to use stock photos!” As I ran, a large figure came before me, stopping the mommy bloggers and social networking affiliates in their tracks. Was he wearing Timberlands and carrying a Camelbak? Who was this hiking-garbed savior of mine, this creature of light and Luna bars?

I woke up. It was just a dream! After my night with P, it would seem that I was descending into madness. P was dark…perhaps a little too dark. I needed something to refresh myself, a break from all of this sin and desire. Although, I thought to myself, it had been a long time since I’d felt the satisfaction of such a bar. P and I had made plans to see their friend Porcini tomorrow night, an experience I was told I wouldn’t soon forget.

I shivered at the thought. Shortly after we’d consummated our appetites, P had made me sign a contract, a nondisclosure agreement stating that I would never eat another non-organic candy bar, or eat empty calories when I could be pleasuring and receiving pleasure from a delicious, organic, all-natural piece of chocolate. It was all so new and scary to me. I needed a break, a walk in the fresh air.

Walking along the hallways of my local Whole Foods, I breathed in the heady aroma of roasted chicken, salad bars, and hippie musk. It was so perfect here, and the last place I knew P would find me. Turning a corner, I collided with a buff, stout bar, nearly knocking it off the shelf. Taking a glance at its ingredients, I jerked my hand back, as though burnt. Snickers. The child-labor ambiguity, the fairtrade contracts…it was forbidden on the contract, the chocolate sauce signature fresh in my mind on the piece of luxurious paper. Sadly, I turned, walking to brighter pastures of quinoa and Puffin cereal.

“I’m not a Snickers, you know,” I whirled around, looking at the bar beneath me. “I’m made by Justin’s Nut Butter. They call me Peanut…I’m similar to a Snickers, but without all that junk.” I gasped. It was the bar from my dreams last night! “You’re…organic?” I whispered, not daring to believe what I saw in front of me. “I’m organic, ethically sourced, and I’m really delicious, too. Plus, I have 25% more protein than the leading bar,” it said, lowering its tone. “For more energy where it counts.” I almost swooned. It was too good to be true. Surely P wouldn’t mind or notice?

“There’s a loading elevator in the back, near the goat cheese and salted butter. Let’s go. We don’t have long.” I grabbed Peanut, feeling the weight and warmth in my hands, as we descended the aisle to the elevator. It smelled like air freshener and patchouli, but it didn’t matter. Unsheathing Peanut from its white hemp wrapper, I raised it to my lips. Peanut yielded quickly, but it was too late. “You’re…where are your peanuts?” I couldn’t seem to find the huge, globular roasted pieces of peanut I knew and loved. Peanut snarled at me, rearing back and crinkling the wrapper over its chocolate shell. “What do you mean, where are the peanuts? Not all chocolate bars have huge nuts, you know. Haven’t you ever had a Butterfinger? It’s about the flavor. Whatever.” I reared back. Peanut had an attitude. “Well, your caramel is crumbly and you’re not sweet at all!” I shouted, but it was gone, back to the freezer aisle, yelling behind it, “I’m going back to Nutella…they know how to treat nuts!”

I knew that straying from P was the wrong thing to do, and that they would find out in short notice. I couldn’t let that cloud my judgment, though, and I walked out of the Whole Foods, brushing chocolate off my hands and lips. Only P could satisfy me now, and I would have to trust them to deliver. I shivered to myself, thinking about Porcini. What would become of me in their Brown Room of Confection?

To be continued…

SNACKDOWN: Chocolove Pretzel in Milk Chocolate vs. Zoe’s Pretzel Bar

Fifty Shades of Single Origin Hell (Part 2 of 13) 
Erotic chick-on-choc action in the style of E.L James
By Winterbottom Foodeater

¬†They were on my table, unwrapped. In my dreams, it was like eating a Snickers bar, but better. I didn’t quite know how to express it, but it was more wholesome, more elevating. The deep, thick milk chocolate coating a barely contained layer of silky, chewy nougat, caramel, and crunchy roasted peanuts. It was almost too much for me to bear. I picked the bar up and turned it around in my hands, admiring the contours and weight of it, before I lifted it to my lips and–

A knock rapped at the door, urgently, interrupting me from my thoughts. Who could that be? I wasn’t expecting any guests. My dear, wonderful father lived a few states away, fishing and grunting in his endearing, monosyllabic way after mom died last year. And as an internet famous, notoriously funny food blogger, my company was spent with only my cats and my computer as companionship.

I opened the door to find Chocolove, the pretzel candy bar I’d been lusting over for the last few weeks! Oh my god…they looked so lost, so vulnerable, the chocolate coating slightly melting in the sun. I just wanted to hug it like I hugged and cuddled my best gay friends.(AN: Love you Zack and Ross! Let’s get married tomorrow.)

“Chocolove…what are you doing here?” I put my hands on my hips to convey the impression that maybe I was a little mad, but I mainly wasn’t, because seeing Chocolove in a place like this was so awe-inspiring, so beautiful, so jaw-dropping. It was like seeing a Monet in a gas station bathroom.

“I came to tell you that I…I…” Chocolove, so normally composed and brilliant, always handy with a note or love poem, was at a loss for words. “I love you, Jessica Jasmine Isabella Marysue Hershey Omnipotent McProm-Wedding!” For a moment, I paused, struggling to comprehend the gravity of those eleven incredible words. America’s most eligible, romantic, wealthy, pretzel-studded bachelor loved…me!? But we couldn’t be any more different! I, the lowly food blogger, and Chocolove…a household name!

It was almost too much to bear, so I stopped thinking and started doing, my inner goddess cheering and grinding against my temporal lobe, and I let Chocolove enrobe me. “Chocolove, your pretzel pieces are rock-hard!” Chocolove murmured against my ear, “And they’re salted, too.” I groaned and took another bite. The pieces, so small and yet, so infused with the salinity and crunch of tinny pretzels, were melting within me, overpowered by the sweet, sweet chocolate.

“Jessica…you shouldn’t,” Chocolove said, pulling away with a tortured glance. “I’m no good for you.” I gasped. “Chocolove, don’t say that…I’ve seen the articles and the reviews. You’re made with premium beans- you’re even certified kosher by the Scroll K Kashruth! You’re completely free of GMO’s! Please, don’t say that…I love you, too.” My lips shuddering and my stomach growling- damn it, I needed Chocolove now to satisfy my hunger, I moved closer, caressing the delicately embossed milk chocolate as we…

“Am I interrupting something?” Chocolove and I tore apart, breaking off like pieces of a Kit-Kat and turned to face my neighbor, Zoe’s Pretzel Bar. Zoe and I had been neighbors in the apartment complex for years, and I’d always sensed a tantric connection, a chemistry, between us. Life was so hard! Wasn’t there anyone around here who didn’t want me to eat them!? YOLO, I thought to myself sadly, YOLO. Chocolove backed away, the milk chocolate darkening at least 15% as they left in the elevator.

“I have to go,” I tore myself from my computer, pausing the episode of Grey’s Anatomy I’d been watching. “Chocolove, no!” But it was too late, and I could see the doors shut on the bronze-wrapped demigod I had loved for so long, too late, but too sweet for my affections. I turned to Zoe, or P, as I called them. “P, you shouldn’t have done that,” I said. P came toward me, dark chocolate up front and bold in my face.

“Don’t you see? I had to. That Chocolove is no good. Jessica, you could do better. I’m artisanal. I’m sophisticated. I locally source my pretzels.” P’s aromatic dark chocolate glistened in the sun as they lowered their voice. “Do you know how Chocolove gets those pretzels?” Smiling, they turned toward me. “I’m more cost-effective and I’m wrapped in an aesthetically pleasing, brown paper casing.” I took another look at P, realizing that its dark chocolate was alluring. It did have more pretzels per bite than Chocolove, and a slightly saltier, much darker flavor, an exotic flair hinting of smoke and lavender wrapped up in its imported dark chocolate. Turning once back to see Chocolove leave, I gazed into the dark soul of P, realizing that I never really did like Robert Browning’s poetry anyway, and my lips fell open in arousal as I licked the chocolate slowly, but surely. P was the winner, sure as I was of anything in my life, including my love of romance novels and baby squirrels.

“Come,” said P, “I can show you things far darker than that,” and we turned, entering the apartment to explore places heretofore unknown, and I knew my 120 days of chocolate were to commence…

To be continued…

Chuao Ravishing Rocky Road Bar

Fifty Shades of Single Origin Hell (Part 1 of 13) 
Erotic chick-on-choc action in the style of E.L James
By Winterbottom Foodeater

I’m not perfect. Far from it, in fact. I scowl at myself in the mirror daily. Damn my hair. Damn my life. Both so omnipresent, so flowing and golden, and yet, so unruly and stubborn at the same time. It was like my hair was trying to tell me not to meet with Chuao that day.

“But hair, I have to,” I said, trying to tame the tangled, golden locks of gossamer silk unicorn hair with a unicorn-bone hairbrush. “Don’t you know that Chuao has a new chocolate bar out today? Chuao, the impossibly young, successful company taking the world by storm?” I could do little to quell my anticipation, the rise of anxiety in my stomach. There were rumors about Chuao. That they dabbled in…different flavors, like bacon and maple, and toasted breadcrumbs. But there was no time for that. I had to interview Chuao for my scrappy, up-and-coming food blog, and this was my only chance to do so. Chuao’s time was so very, very precious.

I glanced around the office. I didn’t belong here, I thought to myself as I looked at the polished, recently redesigned white labels. White, white, everything was white, with a bold typeface and the sensual oozing of ordinary foods on the packages. “Raising ordinary to the…unordinary,” I murmured to myself.

“Isn’t it?” I gasped. I had hardly heard Chuao step into the room, so soft was its footfall. Turning around, I was surprised to see an impeccably clad bar, head-to-toe in steel grey, my favorite color, with only a white tie to break the single-colored harmony of the entire outfit. “Chuao,” I said, stepping forward, my world tilting and my voice cracking. How did it have such a power over me? How was it able to make me swoon like this? It was almost as though they’d conducted extensive marketing research, discovering the ways to make girls like me fall under their power.

“Please,” they said, “Call me Rocky. Ravishing Rocky Road, but just Rocky is fine,” they said, slipping off the grey suit and tie to reveal an intricate milk chocolate base, studded with marshmallows and salted, caramelized almonds. I could barely look away. It was so attractive…so…appetizing.

“Well, then,” I said, trying to ignore the tingling in my stomach. They were so attractive! “Let’s get started with our interview. I read in your press release that you have all-natural, vegan marshmallows. Why vegan?” Chuao smiled, and it was then that I noticed how glossy and smooth its milk chocolate base was, tightly coating the toppings with an elaborate, leafy pattern on top. It must have cost a fortune. “Well, Miss…may I call you Jessica?” The way they pronounced my name was so much more exotic than I’d ever heard it before. I was dying to hear them say my full name, Jessica Miraculous Sexy Bootylicious Diana Artemis Snookie God McJesuserson, just so that I could hear them pronounce all of those words, too. Hearing them speak was like music to my ears.

I do it for the kids, Jessica. The vegan kids without parents. Let’s just put it this way. Squeeze my marshmallow.” I reeled back, caught off guard. “Wh…what?” “Squeeze it, right there. Feel how soft and plush it is. It’s all natural, Jessica.” I put my hand out and felt the plush, chewy candy, a boozy vanilla scent emanating from its core. It felt so smooth, so luxurious, that I couldn’t help but delicately brush my fingers over the craggy, toned almonds, jutting from the bar like perfectly exercised muscles. They were so salty and masculine, so rugged in comparison to the smooth, silky mallows and chocolate, pausing at a jagged crack. “You’re broken,” I whispered. “Who did this to you?” Chuao’s eyes darkened and they pushed back the chair, our eyes blazing in tandem, each refusing to back down. The ultimate contrast. The ultimate surrender.

“I…I have to go!” I rose from my chair and sprinted out of the factory, my thoughts lightyears and miles ahead of me. The bar was so well-composed, but so deep in its flavors and salted nuances. Could it be that Chuao had a darker side? A troubled, more deep, darker side, like in the ocean with sharks and anglerfish? I knew I couldn’t find out, for fear that I’d fall in love with Chuao- no! with Rocky any longer…

To be continued…

Hagensborg Truffle Pig Bubble Gum Bar

Fifty Shades of Single Origin Chocolate Hell! Shameless fanfiction! Well-written reviews! All of these are things you can not expect to see during our two-week chocolate feature here on Foodette Reviews. However, these things are all superfluous. Who says you need to write well to have a blog, anyway? Let’s get this show on the road, or as they say in America’s current one-handed read of choice, let’s step right into the Red Room of Pain.

I’d seen them from across the room. Every time our eyes met, I could feel my heart stop, not unlike a person having a heart attack, and the blood would rush to my face as I nervously brushed my tongue across my dry, quivering lips.


The very name evoked exoticism, power, and Canadian excellence in chocolate manufacturing. When they spoke, I could feel my body light aflame. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine they’d approach me, unassuming, naive, blogger Jessica Anastasia Me’er Sapphire Push McDonough Potter, a blogger raised on the suburban comforts of Ghiradelli and Lindt.

“Have you ever tasted bubblegum chocolate?” I could feel my hands start to shake as I processed each individual word they said, a smile radiating in the inner core of my brain. I think it was the Lady Antebellum part, near the frontal lobe. I don’t know, I’m a modest English major. Have I ever tasted bubblegum chocolate? To even assume so would be to imply a more worldly palate, impossible as evidenced by my bookish manner and plaintive gaze.

“No,” I said, my inner goddess taking a cold chicken leg from the refrigerator, gnawing on it to her satisfaction and belching loudly, “I’ve…never really had flavored chocolate before.” Hagensborg reared up, its winsome, yet regal logo proud and taught across its package…ing. I could feel it unwrapping before my eyes, trusting me, unveiling itself, a creamy, white thickness emblazoned with little pigs, proud and tall, waiting to reveal the pink fondant goo inside.

“Wait…the bubblegum…the bar,” I faltered, teetering on the precipice of my old life, a life condemned to flavors bound by the constraints of sugar-free and cacao percentages, and this extension of grace from Hagensborg. Peanut butter and jelly in a chocolate? Mint chocolate chip? How did that even work? There were so many things I was an infant to, and yet, so much to risk. “Is it dangerous?”

Hagensborg snorted, the magnificent bar between us like a vast, sweet landscape. “No, my love, it’s a confection. It can’t hurt you.” And with that, I plunged the truffle pig into my mouth, white chocolate and gummy fondant trickling down my chin. It was sweeter than I expected, but not overly sweet. I groaned in pleasure as I felt the creaminess of the chocolate mingling with the sweet, citrus-tinged sensuality of the bubblegum.

I gazed at Hagensborg with pleading eyes as my tongue encountered something small, a foreign object, and Hagensborg chuckled as I discovered what it was. Bubblegum! This powerful company, this misunderstood genius had placed bubblegum inside the bar for it was the intention of Hagensborg to woo me all along, to take me back to a blissful, carefree childhood with bubblegum, bubbles, My Little Pony, and the 90’s, am I right, guys? They really did love me! Providing a sweet crunch and brilliant contrast to the smooth, seductive chocolate base, I chewed and swallowed, dazed with satisfaction and internalized validation. Such a masterful technique, such precise textures and flavors.
The bar was so sweet and vibrant, a lush pink, that I had to ask something that had been nagging at me since I’d laid eyes on Hagensborg. “Is it…” I stumbled, and they answered for me, “Yes, my sweet, it’s all natural,” gazing at the bar between us, and I groaned in ecstasy. It was at that very moment that I knew I would be back to sample more of Hagensborg, more of this tortured and intelligent figure in my life, and I could sense that my fate and future would be inextricably changed for the better…no…for the chocolate….

To be continued…¬†

Give your worst grilling story, win $25 to Quizno’s!

What’s your worst grilling story? Ever lit something on fire? Have you accidentally served up hamburgers at a vegan barbecue? If your story is picked, you could win one of three $25 gift cards to Quizno’s!

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For every one of those tasks completed, you’ll receive an entry. Winners will be drawn on Sunday, July 1st!

DiGiorno Three Meat Pizza Dipping Strips

I like my food to be interactive. Of course, there’s only so many ways you can jazz up lift food, insert in mouth, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t tried to make it more exciting. I blame it on my parents, whose authentic airline-related commentary while flying the fork plane into my mouth as an infant would have made any TSA agent proud. So these days, where a spoon would suffice, I’ll stick a straw in. I like arranging plates to have as many condiments and dips as there are items on the plate itself, and a dinner just isn’t a dinner unless it has at least one experimental cocktail.

DiGiorno sent over some of their pizzas last week, in a bizarrely paradoxical “is it delivery or is it DiGiorno” situation. In this case, it was both, which seems to defy the laws of time and space, but whatever. Funny story: sometimes the press kits companies send over can be very convincing. In this case, I got a text from Miss Love while on my way home from work. “digiorno sent 1 pizza just put in freezer.” Curious to hear more, I called her, and we both expressed our confusion at having received one pizza in what she said was such a large box.

I came home later and found this in the freezer, with these inside.

Yup, they made their press kit so convincing that it fooled my poor girlfriend. Shit is crazy like a Foxwoods, I tell you. Luckily, thumbdrives can take a licking, so despite the fact that these were frozen, they turned out just fine. I also need to point out that this is one of the most impressive press kits I’ve recently received. They made a thumbdrive that’s meant to resemble a Dipping Strip. The operative word here is “meant,” as it errs more toward the side of skin disease demonstrative display (“Pepperonitis Simplica”) but it’s still freaking awesome.

I ran to the store and grabbed the Three Meat pizza for my first test. Maybe I’m just used to the slender, compostable Amy’s boxes we usually get, but this pizza was hefty. I swear I saw my triceps cry when I lifted it out of the freezer case. The Three Meat Pizza is topped with pepperoni, sausage, and beef, and comes with two tubes of garlic and marinara dipping sauce. I can understand the former, which seeks to deliver a certain pizza restaurant’s certain magical sauce to a certain masses, the likes of which rhymes with “Ploppa Han,” but the latter baffles me ever so slightly. I’ve never known anyone to add extra sauce to a pizza.

I’ve always liked DiGiorno’s pizzas, and this one was no exception. While I find the crust a little too thick and dense, the flavor is tasty without being oversalted and the toppings are generous. The execution of the dipping strips is a little unwieldy, though. The cheese extends and separates in a net-like form, leaving small pieces of beef and sausage in its wake like the children of divorced parents. As the cheese breaks off, they ultimately fall by the wayside until you plop them back on the pizza. The toppings are fairly nondescript- the pepperoni is gamey and fatty, distinctly reminiscent of packaged Hormel sausage or the cold slices you’d get in a Lunchable, and the sausage and beef are virtually indistinguishable. But still, meat toppings FTW. The real fun is in the dipping.

Both sauces feature easy-to-tear pouches and a slightly greasy exterior as well as the heady implications of explosion should you microwave them. Once again, I’m reminded of Lunchables. This pizza feels more and more like the adult version of the deep-dish pizza creator you were jealous about in the 4th grade. You know, the one with cold cheese and an animal-based crust that you’d have given a kidney for. Now it comes in 1 lb increments and has garlic sauce. You’re all grown up, baby. The marinara sauce was surprisingly, my favorite condiment, likely because it served as a zesty lubricant for the craggy pizza strips. The garlic sauce was congealed with oil and it had a thin, watery texture. It had a salty, non-garlicky texture and I ended up throwing it out.

This is a pretty successful frozen pizza, and it’s definitely a fun, easy way to portion out food. Many an argument has broken out chez nous over the last slice of pizza, and this way you can divide up your strips as evenly as we divided up land back in the 1800’s. While I’d love to see a thinner crust and some more diverse toppings and dips, it’s delicious, moderately nutritious, and better than the DIY version we had as kids.
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2012 Summer Fancy Food Show Top 15 Sweet and Savory Foods

The spork has been thrown- to wrap up our third Fancy Food Show, here are our top fifteen sweet foods and top fifteen salty favorites. If we missed something that you think was incredible, tell us in the comments! What were your favorite products and companies?
Top 15 Savories
1. American Spoon Whole Seed Mustard: This was nominated for a gold sofi award and received a silver award, and for good reason. A briny, sweet condiment that perfectly mimicked the silky popping texture of caviar, but with an acidic twist.
2. First Field Ketchup: Sophisticated and sweet and from New Jersey? Consider my mind blown. A delicious, flavorful condiment for any manner of burger.
3. Jelly Belly Tabasco: You heard correctly. It’s hot sauce meets beloved candy in one of the most awesome collaborations yet. Quick, somebody get me a Jelly Belly Tomato and we’ll do brunch.
4. Coedo Brewery Beniaka Sweet Potato Lager: Japanese sweet potato microbrew! The only one in the world, too. With a crisp, malty flavor and deliciously clean finish, this was one of our favorite beverages.
5. Needo Designs Salsabol: I can finally shop at Brooks Brothers again without fearing the dreaded salsa splatter! This ingenious bowl features curved edges (for his and her pleasure) to prevent spillage and splatter.
6. Robinhood Free Meetinghouse Triple Ginger Biscuits: These straddle the line between sweet and savory, but ultimately won a place on this list because visions of fried chicken and ginger biscuits kept dancing through my head. YUM.

7. Queen City Cookies Bacon Schnecken: Is it breakfast or dessert? Sweet or savory? This bold pastry was crammed with crispy bacon, so we’re calling it savory. Besides, you could do worse than eat one of these for dinner.

8. Cypress Grove Sgt. Pepper Goat Cheese: A peppery, sweet and spicy delight, this creamy goat cheese was great on bread, on meat, and just eaten out of the package by itself.
9. Skillet Foods Fennel and Black Pepper Bacon Jam: This was the tweak that the original bacon jam needed. This version is fresh, fruity, and has a killer kick, making it perfect for pasta.

 10. Lord Nut Levington Bloody Mary Peanuts: Bar nuts who? This Lord of the Nuts makes an amazing cocktail snack, with fresh herb and tomato zest abound.
11. Lillie’s Q E.N.C Sauce: This tangy treat woke us up at the beginning of the show, and its minimal label design and wax-sealed top kept us intrigued.¬†
12. Junior Merino Atomic Cocktails Verde Fresco: Freaking genius. A salsa verde-inspired cocktail in a portable spray bottle straight out of 1999?! With avocado oil, agave, tequila, marmalade, cilantro, and cucumber, this was one of my favorite drinks of the show.
13. Sauces ‘n’ Love Cilantro Chimichurri and Bacon Alfredo: Couldn’t pick one, so we dipped our bread in both! Creamy meets acidic and does a little dance. So, so smooth.
14. Original Juan Most Wanted Sriracha Sauce: Sriracha’s sweeter cousin still crams in a ton of flavor with this honey-tinged garlic sauce.

15. O Olive Oil Meyer Lemon Picholine Olive Champagne Vinegar Tapenade: Also the product with the longest name, this medley of delicate ingredients packed a powerful punch. Easily versatile on sandwiches or salads, this had a clean, floral flavor and sweet aftertaste.
Top 15 Sweets
1. Black and Blanco Marzipan Rye Cookie: Rye flour in a cookie sounds bizarre, but the flavor is gravitating and curious. The marzipan’s sweet nuttiness helped round out the cookie in a beautiful way.
2. Chuao Salted Chocolate Crunch Bar: The bar formerly known as Panko has been given new garb and a saltier bite. So tasty.
3. Bissinger’s Maple Bacon Caramel: With a salty crust and lingering porcine flavor, this dark chocolate enrobed truffle added a touch of sweetness to the classic flavor. Breakfast, anyone?
4. Spindrift Raspberry Lime Water: A new line of waters from one of our favorite companies brings a light, crisp alternative to soda. Raspberry lime was a thirst-quenching, quintessentially nostalgic version of a beloved beverage.

5. Fresh Ginger Ale Jasmine Green Tea Ginger Soda: Delicious and fresh, with a floral, light body and effervescence.
6. Happy Goat Coconut Lime Caramels: Smooth and chewy, creamy and dreamy, and distinctly tropical caramels with a tangy, goaty edge.

7. Steve’s Ice Cream Southern Banana Pudding: Flavorful and fresh, with huge chunks of graham cookie.
8. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Oatmeal Creme Pie: Move over, Little Debbie, the queen of snack cakes has been recrowned. Jeni’s has done it again with this creamy sweet delight.

9. Taffy Town Maple Bacon Taffy: Maple bacon, frosted cupcake, tangerine, chocolate chip, and candy corn all sound like funky cupcake flavors in a trendy shop, but they’re really the newest flavors from Taffy Town, an artisanal saltwater taffy company.
10. Lark Fine Foods Fennel and Burnt Sugar Cookies: These sophisticated cookies with notes of anise and caramel would be perfect as a miniature dessert or alongside cocktails at a party.

11. Hagensborg White Chocolate Bubblegum Bar: You got chocolate in my bubblegum! You got bubblegum in my chocolate! Rest assured, though, the combination is magnificent.
12. Chozen Vegan Halvah Ice Cream: This ice cream was enough to make me flirt with the idea of veganism if only to eat pints and pints of this dessert. Nutty, gummy, and smooth.
13. Moorenko’s White Chocolate Mint Ice Cream: For a mint fan, it’s a dream. Mint skeptics can rejoice, too- the fresh, herbaceous flavor has some seriously creamy backup from the white chocolate base.
14. High Road Craft Ice Cream Mango-Chili Sorbet: Frozen foods were clearly in our favor this year, and this creamy, spicy delight was no exception. Imagine a frozen mango lassi with a hot kick.

15. Haribo Lemon Ginger Gummies: Fresh, soothing, fruit and spice…in a gummy? The flavor is currently only available in bulk but if enough consumers demand it, they’ll package it for the regular market. It’s a fresh take on a cold-weather combination.

That concludes our wrap-up of the 2012 Summer Fancy Food Show. We’ll be posting photos of our afterparties and dinners on Facebook throughout the week, as well as a huge review of Rogue24 sometime soon! Thanks for reading!