Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Stainer: Peru & Bianco

Stainer PackagingStainer is an Italian chocolate maker based in Pontremoli. They’re known for their vast collection of chocolate bars that range from traditional to single origin to alcohol infused to organic and even a line of six different chili infused bars. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Stainer is moving into the North American market, so you can expect to see these more often at high end grocers and chocolate shops.

They come in smart little boxes with 50 gram bars tucked into orange-tinted cellophane wrappers.

Stainer Peruvian Chocolate

I wanted to taste what Stainer’s dark chocolate was like without any other additions. I was drawn to this lovely box with a little hummingbird on the front. 65% Cacao Peru says it’s intenso & fruttato which I translated as cognates to mean intense and fruity.

The back of the box has no purple prose setting the stage for the tasting, it’s just the ingredients in four different languages (Italian, English, Spanish and German).

The bar is lovely. It’s rather thick, with easy to break domed segments. The color is a bit on the red side of brown. The scent is woodsy and sweet.

It has a slightly chalky bite, it has a very distinct snap. But it’s quite smooth and melts easily. The first notes are fruity, like figs and raisins. Later it becomes more woodsy, like cedar with some light coffee notes. Not sweet, but pleasant, there’s a light bitter tone over the finish but very little dryness.

Though it gives the regional origin of the beans, it doesn’t mention the types of beans in the bar or where in Peru they’re from, so I’m hesitant to call it a single origin bar.

Stainer White Chocolate with Vanilla & Chili

I’ve had quite a bit of chili infused chocolate over the past couple of years, but this may be the first time I’ve had a white chocolate with pepper.

This bar, Cioccolato Bianco Peperoncino e Vaniglia Bourbon features red chili and bourbon vanilla (in case you couldn’t figure that out from the name). It has a 30% cacao content, and since this is white chocolate that means all that cacao is just cacao fat. (The king of vegetable fats.)

The squares are dotted with chili bits and vanilla seeds. It smells less sweet than many white chocolates, a little milky and kind of cheesy.

It’s also not terribly soft to bite, so it has a nice temper and breaks easily instead of bending like some heavily milky white chocolates do.

The first taste, however, is overwhelmingly hot. The burn of the chili comes out right away, then a smooth and creamy sweetness with a touch of vanilla, then a throat searing heat. Letting it melt instead of chewing it up a bit seems to mellow out the heat, but it’s still a lot hotter than I expected.

I don’t think it’s really my thing, I tempered it with some pretzels and almonds just to get through half the bar. I liked it, but it was kind of throat choking at times. (I must admit that I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to anything that’s hotter than “medium” in the chili family, I do great with curries & wasabi/horseradish, but pepper really gets me).

The boxes are compelling and I want to cute them apart and make the fronts into trading cards or something. But at about $8 for a 50 gram bar, it’s among the most expensive chocolate bars I’ve bought to date ... I won’t be making a habit of it. I do plan to try a few more of the vast collection before I make a final determination about them. I picked these up at Chocolate Covered in San Francisco’s Noe Valley. I haven’t seen them at any of my regular chocolate suppliers (but they may be coming soon as chocolate weather returns this fall).

Here are some other thoughts on Stainer’s bars: Chocablog tasted Curry & White Chocolate and Honey & Ginseng Dark, Talkalota Chocolate has Scotchbonnet Pepper and Rum & Masai Spice and finally, Lissbliss tried the 100% Venezuela.

Related Candies

  1. Domori Cru
  2. Frey Supreme: White, Lemon & Lime and Citron & Poivre
  3. Peruvian Candies
  4. Dagoba Single Origin
  5. Green and Black’s White Chocolate
  6. Vosges Exotic Candy Bars
Name: Peru 65% Cacao & White Chocolate with Chili & Bourbon Vanilla
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Stainer Chocolate
Place Purchased: Chocolate Covered (San Francisco)
Price: I can't remember, I think $8 each
Size: 1.76 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, White Chocolate, Italy

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:31 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. Sounds absolutely exquisite. I do love white chocolate—done well it’s fantastic—but I’ve never tried anything like this.

    Comment by Linda R. Moore on 7/02/08 at 2:22 pm #
  2. interesting!  i’ll be on the lookout for the second bar especially.  have you tried a chocolate bar from bonajuto (sicily)?  now that is different.  http://feistync.wordpress.com/2007/11/16/sicily-wine-and-chocolate/

    Comment by feisty tourist on 7/03/08 at 8:00 am #
  3. I`m interested in finding out about international chocolates. I tried peruvian chocolate and they do taste rich. Brands like Sublme, Motta ans Don`ofrio. Brought me fond memories.

    Comment by Anna Carrion on 7/04/08 at 9:43 am #
  4. Ooh that Bourbon and chilli bar reminds me of this Montezuma’s bar I reviewed called “spice it up” which also combined vanilla white chocolate and chilli….by the sounds of it this was alot more intense though.

    Comment by Jim on 7/05/08 at 1:51 pm #
  5. That sound absulutaly DESCUSTING, but then again its is my opinion on the candy.

    Comment by Candy Lover on 7/10/08 at 5:25 am #
  6. Wow, spicy white chocolate? I have a pretty high tolerance for spicy food, so I really want to try that…

    Comment by Debby on 8/29/08 at 2:39 am #
  7. Thanks to finding your website I was able to order (from a place in Florida) more of Helena’s Tejas candies.  My neighbors who just returned from Peru brought me a box and they are delicious!!!  Have you tried them?

    I don’t understand all the grumpy people who post on your blog.  For pete’s sake you are writing about your opinion and candy!!! They need to sweeten up a bit.

    Many thanks
    Charlotte

    Comment by charlotte on 4/11/09 at 10:58 am #

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