Friday, March 16, 2007

Charles Chocolates Bars

Charles Chocolates not only makes one of the few marzipans I like, they also have their own line of chocolate bars. They come in sweet looking retro boxes with little line drawings on them. The boxes protect the thick bars very well and allow them to be rewrapped in their foil if you don’t finish them all at once (and at 3.4 ounces, you probably won’t unless you’re sharing).

(for those of you reading via feed, I’m using a flash slideshow for the photos today)

Mocha Java Pieces in 65% Bittersweet Chocolate (blue label) - this is a powerful bar. I’ve been keeping my chocolate bars in a little igloo cooler in my studio (because it protects it from temperature changes, and the dog can’t get to it) and every time I open it up I could smell the coffee in this bar. The 65% cacao dark chocolate is rich but still wonderfully buttery. The bar has plenty of whole espresso beans in it too which dotted the bottom of the bar (and explain why it’s a little titled in the picture). As a personal choice, I don’t like to eat coffee beans, but in this case they worked well in the bar and are paired with the right kind of chocolate.

Caramelized Crisped Rice in 41% Milk Chocolate (red label on caramel) - this bar smells like caramel but tastes like Sugar Pops and chocolate. The milk chocolate is smooth and super creamy and the crisped rice has a deep caramelized flavor with some malty tones to it. The only thing that I had a problem with was the integration of the crisped rice ... it wasn’t in the bottom of the bar, just the top. Sometimes I wanted more crisped rice with my chocolate. But then sometimes I liked finding a spot where it was naked of chocolate and could see it glistening in its coat of caramelized sugar and flick my tongue on it to get just those flavors and textures ... then I’d come across the chocolate, which would melt around it all over again.

Caramelized Crisped Rice in 65% Bittersweet Chocolate (red label on brown) - this bar is quite the opposite of its dairy infused sibling. Instead of being chatty and available, this one was rather standoffish and even elusive. The chocolate is creamy but with a strong astringency that seemed to give it some more vegetable flavors than fruit. This in turn made the crisped rice more reminiscent of pilaf than breakfast. Still, the textures were so wonderful, the chocolate melted easily and the caramelized sugar shatters on crunching, revealing that wonderful malted rice taste.

Crystallized Ginger Pieces in 65% Bittersweet Chocolate (yellow label) - again, a really creamy 65% dark chocolate, it just descends into a delicious fatty chocolate syrup in the mouth. The ginger’s earthy/rooty flavors come forward immediately. They bring a bit of a citrus tang and make the chocolate itself seem a little acidic, but the grainy sugar of the crystallized ginger also dissolves and mitigates that just in time.

Hazelnut and Candied Orange Peel in 65% Bittersweet Chocolate (green label) - this was the first bar I tried and the first bar I finished. Fab-u-lous.  The chocolate is creamy and quick to melt. It’s not too sweet and sets off the candied orange rind ... the flavor of the orange zest permeates parts of the bar and then the crushed hazelnuts give a crunch and nutty texture to the whole thing. It’s not a common combination of flavors, which is one of the reasons you might want to seek this bar out.

Charles Chocolates just opened their new retail store in the same building as their kitchen/factory. They offer free samples (see the schedule). For those who can’t find them in store they also have a webstore. Retail vendors are also listed on the site (basically high-end chocolate shops & Whole Foods). See DessertFirst’s visit to Charles Chocolates. Here’s my previous review of some other products in his line.

Name: Charles Chocolates Bars
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Charles Chocolates
Place Purchased: samples from Charles Chocolates
Price: $4.50 each
Size: 3.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 137-151
Categories: Chocolate, Cookie, Ginger, Coffee, Nuts, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:21 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. just wondering if you’ve ever tried Bendicks of Mayfair chocolates? http://www.bendicks.co.uk/

    Comment by tettora on 3/17/07 at 9:26 am #
  2. The one with the candied orange peel sounds divine. I’m definitely stopping there when I visit SF next month.

    Comment by g on 3/17/07 at 1:11 pm #
  3. Cybele's avatar

    g - I’d love to hear a report if you get to the store! (You should also visit Scharffen Berger for their factory tour and if you have time toodle out to Fairfield for Jelly Belly.)

    tettora - they’re on my list now, thanks for the recommendation. (Tesco is coming to Southern California, hopefully they’ll carry UK sweets.)

    Comment by Cybele on 3/20/07 at 8:39 am #

Name:

Email:
(not published)

Location:
(not published - please don't put your address in there)

URL:

Comments may be held for moderation to prevent spam and other violations of the Candy Blog Comment Policy

Submit the word you see below:


Remember me!

Get updates to comments on this post?

Next entry: All Easter Week 2007

Previous entry: Mentos Berry Mix




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT

FEEDS

CONTACT

  • .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
  • Here are some frequently asked questions emailed to me you might want to read first.

EMAIL DIGEST

    For a daily update of Candy Blog reviews, enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

CANDY RATINGS

TYPE

BRAND

COUNTRY

ARCHIVES

Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

 

 

 

 

Facebook IconTwitter IconTumblr IconRSS Feed IconEmail Icon

COUNTDOWN.

Halloween Candy Season Ends

-50 days

Read previous coverage

 

 

Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
  •   Valentine's Day
  •   Easter

 

image

ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Dandelion Chocolate

• Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

 

 

image