Friday, July 12, 2013
I went through my list of candies that I haven’t reviewed and wanted to do a little roundup with at least some basic impressions. Today I have a little theme of Figs, since I had four products with fig as an element still sitting in the review queue.
I have a black fig tree in my back yard, this photo shows what was the best harvest of my 15 years in this home way back in 2006. This year I got one delicious fig off the tree, then returned two days later in hopes that the others were ripe only to find that the critters got them all. So I must turn to candy for my fig fix. (Well, that’s not entirely true, I buy fresh figs from time to time and dried ones as well.)
The packaging is mostly utilitarian but did an excellent job of protecting the chocolates inside. They’re not as decadent as some others I’ve had that might be soaked in liquor or filled with ganache. Instead this is the simple pleasure of dark chocolate and a sugary and crunchy whole, dried fig.
They were tasty, I enjoy the leathery and smoky notes of dried figs and chocolate. The chocolate was a little on the sweet side, I like a rather bitter chocolate with my very-sweet dried fruits. The figs were also a bit tough, but I suppose all that chewing just made them last longer.
For some reason I never documented the wrapper on this one, which is too bad. It’s the Dick Taylor Fig bar. It’s made in Arcata, CA, a place I used to live. It’s another bean-to-bar artisan chocolate company.
In this case the bar was beautifully molded and had all the things I liked about the fig/dark chocolate combo. There were lots of fruit and tannic notes, a bit of wood, tobacco and smoke. It was expensive though (I picked up the bar in NYC at The Meadow), I think about $9.00.
I finally found Liddabit in NYC when I was there last year, then a few months later there were places in Los Angeles selling them and a friend gave me this box of Liddabit Sweets Fig Ricotta Caramels.
The pieces are wrapped in wax paper. I wanted to love them, but there was something that wasn’t quite caramelly enough and not quite cheesy enough and lacking in the oomph and power of figs It could be the balsamic vinegar was too much tangy for a sweet. I love Liddabit’s bars, but I find that I’m very picky about caramels, especially when they have so many elements going on.
Little did I realize the extraordinary packaging within. First, the three ounce package has three one ounce bars. Each is individually wrapped in foil, then has a sleeve with a black and white fashion photos (each is different). They’re all tucked into the envelope style paperboard box. (All using recycled packaging.)
Dove and Seeds of Change (both run by Mars) tried this style of packaging a few years ago, but reverted back to the single bar. Personally, I prefer the inner wrapped portions, because I don’t eat a 3 ounce bar in one sitting and don’t have enough friends who can share one ounce portions at the same time. It’s easy to pull one out and toss it in a lunch bar or purse as well.
The chocolate itself is good, it’s quite dark and Seattle Chocolates definitely did well in their sourcing for this assortment of bars. In the line of bars there are a few quirky hipster sort of versions like Agave Quinoa Sesame but others are classic like Veracruz Orange.
I didn’t think there were enough bits of fig and pistachio in there, or maybe they weren’t distributed well. There’s a bit of salt, I think from the pistachios, that again wasn’t distributed well. On the whole it was good, but I only ate one of the three bars. It’s all Kosher and all natural.
On the whole, I want to give this line another try but they’re not a bean to bar company. So I find myself drawn to other bars that are truly unique and am probably missing out on products like the JCoCo line which is more of what I’d call a curated product - where the chocolatier sources finished chocolate and formulates inclusions and flavor combinations themselves.
Though I don’t think I found a new favorite in this series of explorations, all were good. (I think if I were to go buy a fig and chocolate item right now, it would be the Compartes chocolate covered figs.)
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I’ve been sampling their entire line so here’s the first and probably most approachable of the bunch: Perfect Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar with Roasted Peanuts.
The packaging is bold. I’ve had their bars before in the old look and honestly they didn’t impress me much. While some may not like the graphics, color combos and geometric patterns, I love them. They remind me of silk ties and scarves.
While the packaging has changed and the line has expanded, the format is the same.
The bars are a simple molding with four distinct segments. This makes portioning easy and for me half of the bar (two segments) was about 1.25 ounces and a satisfying amount. The dark chocolate is shiny and though I scuffed my bars a bit when bringing them back from the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, they were pristine in the flavor department.
The dark chocolate is rich and buttery with a quick and slick melt on the tongue. The roasted notes of the peanuts bleed through and add to the dark and slightly burnt flavors of the cocoa. It’s mostly a woodsy and earthy bar. The center has a snap to it, but it melts pretty readily. It’s studded with peanut chunks but the base is a peanut butter meltaway. It’s salty and crunchy and basically peanutty.
I enjoyed it thoroughly. It doesn’t satisfy me the same way that a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup does, but the crunches and the far superior chocolate experience makes it something else. Now, if all this sounds a little familiar, you might recognize the bar format as something that Target has in the Choxie line. So if you’re having trouble finding Seattle Chocolates, you can always try some Choxie Truffle Bars, which are about the same price.
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.