Saturday, January 19, 2008
Here’s something you probably didn’t know about me. I like science fiction. I like good scifi and bad scifi, doesn’t matter. I can quote passages from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I know what a Tasp is, I have a complete set of the original Stainless Steel Rat comic book adaptation ... I even read the novelization of Star Wars when I was 10. All that’s missing is actually writing science fiction novels. Oh, and I’ve seen every episode of Star Treks ... all the Star Treks (TOS, TAS, TNG, DS9, VOY & ENT).
So when I got a lovely box of chocolates from my co-workers for my birthday, my first thought when I saw them was, “My stars! They look like different foreheads of aliens on Star Trek. Seriously, look ... a Klingon ridge! Ferengi ear! Cardassian neck skin! (I know, it must be very hard to give me gifts.)
It’s not just the textures, it’s the dusting of food-safe iridescent powder that make me think of fantastic humanoid creatures from other planets. Perhaps they’re missing out on a marketing angle ... mm, Denobulan Spiced Chocolate!
The chocolates actually are lovely and tasty. They’re from Boule, who I go back and forth about. I love their Kalamansi fruit jellies and their ice cream. But sometimes the chocolates are a little, I don’t know, off to my tastes. Mostly I’m unhappy with their little button ones, which are molded. I seem to be happier with enrobed or dipped chocolates, which is happily what these were. Plus they’re expensive. But the best kind of fine chocolates you can get are fine chocolates as a gift.
(I think what might have pushed me to be so flippant with them was that there was no key for the chocolates. They were hand-picked, so we had the list that Patrice in my office made, but no guide as to which was which. So Patrice ended up calling them back and making them describe each and every one. I’m not sure if Boule has noticed, but they have a website and it wouldn’t be too difficult to put some little photos and descriptions up there.)
The fun part was that after photographing them, I shared them and I didn’t look at what they should have been or were supposed to be. I just ate them.
There you go, no review. I just ate some chocolates. And enjoyed them.
The aliens in clockwise order from upper left to lower right are (click the numbers to see the original images):
Hmm, did I miss any? Or do you disagree with my associations? (Okay, I also probably had way too much fun making my first Candy Blog Animated gif.)
Thursday, February 08, 2007
There are quite a few small confectioners based in LA and one that I’ve visited (and reviewed) before is Boule. They have great ice cream (I love the banana) and sorbets as well as caramels, nougats and of course chocolates. Of all the things I’ve had there, the one that blew me away was the Pate de Fruit in Calamansi flavor.
Imagine my delight when one of my fellow bloggers, Joz, handed off this awesome hatbox from Boule courtesy of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The box contained quite a few treats, including some cookies, a package of chocolate covered almonds rolled in cocoa, a box of the Pate de Fruit (which I opened and devoured the Calamansi before offering the other pieces around to my husband and neighors) and a wee little purse/box with some caramels. There were also two small boxes (6 pieces each) of Truffles.
The chocolates themselves look more like coat buttons than confections, with stripes and splashes of color and in some cases edible irridescent dustings.
While I find that attractive in a pair of earrings or beads, I don’t really find it that enticing as chocolate. No matter, they were still tasty.
As much as I admire the flavor combinations in theory, they just didn’t thrill me in practice. Some were kind of muddy and most of all they didn’t have a big chocolate boost to them - the chocolate shells were more of a delivery device for the novelty of the colors and exotic names.
I’ll continue to vist Boule for a special treat, but I’m probably going to stick to the pate and perhaps a little dish of ice cream every now and then. I have to, the retail value on this little hat box? $85.00. If you’re looking to dazzle someone for Valentine’s Day, the hatboxes are certainly splashy looking, but make sure that everything in the assortment would be appealing, otherwise it’s a waste of money. Ordering a la carte may be the way to go to assure that whatever you pick out there is exactly what you want. (If you live in the Los Angeles area they do offer local delivery with more ordering options, and I’m sure if you call them they can help you pick out a real custom fit.)
As a whole gift, this one gets a 6 out of 10.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Name: Chocolate Truffles
I know, I’ve said it before but I truly believe that candy is for the masses. I’m not sure if this counts as candy - it might be edible art or perhaps just some sort of upscale “proof of exclusivity.” They’re just chocolates, so why are they so damn expensive?
I only bought four, because they were so dang expensive. They are, from left to right - Bronte: Raspberry & Earl Grey; Maya: Espresso; Veda: Ginger and Jade: Green Tea. (I think they all had chic names.)
The raspberry & earl grey was my first try - it was definitely the one that I was most interested in. We’d started our visit with some caramel ice cream and another scoop of their black tea ice cream. These folks know how to work with botanicals. The raspberry flavoring is in an ultra-soft and creamy bittersweet chocolate center. After that melts onto the tongue, a dryness is noticeable and then the bergamot of the Earl Grey really shines. I could have used more chocolate taste though.
The green tea was next and didn’t really thrill me. The texture at first was beautifully smooth. The center on this one is a creamy, well, cream, no chocolate there. The green tea gave it a woodsy flavor but also a bit of a chalkiness (I’m guessing they used matcha instead of an essence).
Espesso was definitely coffee-ish. Predictable - but dependable. Smooth, woodsy, strong and with a slight smokey quality and a caffeinated charge with bits of espresso beans on the top.
The only milk chocolate choice I made was the ginger one (which the woman at the counter said was her personal favorite). Upon biting into it, the ginger was wonderfully fragrant. It didn’t smell like powdered ginger, it was fresh and zesty. The milk chocolate is a great foundation for this.
All the centers were a bit too buttery for me - they needed a bit more of the cocoa solids or something for it to not feel like I was eating a stick of butter.
So there you have it, my two favorites are Veda and Bronte with Maya making a good showing. Will I buy them again? Unlikely. But if someone were to give them to me as a gift, well, I’d tsk, tsk and protest that you shouldn’t have and then probably give you a kiss.
Name: Fruit Pate
The other purchase, which was much more affordable were the slabs of fruit pate. Think fruit jellies and then jam twice as much flavor in them and you’ve got fruit pate. I picked up three of these flavors:
Raspberry, Blood Orange and something called Calamansi which is a Philippino citrus similar to a lime.
These are more flavorful and a bit fresher feeling that those Sunkist fruit gems (which I also enjoy). Of course no one’s going to mass produce uncommon flavors like calamansi so you have to go to one of these places to get that kind of stuff. In fact, the calamansi was divine. It was zesty, tart and sweet. It was like lime but also had some grapefruit notes to it. I’m definitely going to keep my eye out for this fruit in other forms. The raspberry was really flavorful, like distilled jam but the blood orange was a little bland after all that. I’d definitely buy these again and would look for some more exotic tea/botanical essences.
Ratings - Chocolate Truffles - 7 out of 10 (for $2.50 each, they should do the dishes or wash my car)
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.