Trying to avoid refined sugars? Ha! Forget it!
I had the pleasure of being one of the judges for the 1st Annual Boston Luxury Chocolate Salon. Judges were sent a huge package filled with various artisanal chocolates from chocolatiers all around the US. We then judged on various aspects such as best flavor, most luxurious, most delicious ingredient combinations, and so on.
I was amazed at the level of artistry that went into some of these chocolates, such as the beautiful gems you see pictured above by William Dean Chocolate.
I know you can't lick the screen, but I can at least give you a visual tour, and maybe a few descriptions of what we thought of these chocolates. 🙂
From left to right:PB&J chocolate, crème brule custard, fig, orange, and cheesecake
These were my favorite in terms of artistry, WOW factor, and all around presentation. Each chocolate truffle looked hand painted. The box itself was sturdy, shiny, and resembled an expensive jewelry box. Indeed, they were filled with edible jewels inside! Truly beautiful works of art.
I also loved their fancied PB&J bar, which was made with high quality peanut butter and dark chocolate.
I think these were overall my favorite chocolates. They weren't quite as dramatically beautiful as the William Dean chocolates, but they had more refined, sophisticated flavors (and they are still beautiful!). We had rose tea with raspberry in dark chocolate, purple yam in white chocolate, and a chevre (goat cheese) chocolate. I actually didn't like the chevre one (it tasted a bit stinky to me), but I loved the rose tea with raspberry and really enjoyed the purple yam in white chocolate as well.
The chocolates from Dean's Sweets have interesting unique flavors that work really well. We tried lemon apricot chevre (very nice!), coffee, and Maine sea salt caramel.
I like Dolce Bella's philosophy of trying to preserve the "just-picked" fruit flavor. They pick their ingredients fresh off the plant and process them into chocolate within an hour of harvest. I have to say that the just-picked flavors were really nice and bright. We tried "just picked raspberry," "just picked chocolate mint," and "peppered rosemary orange" (which I actually did not like). I loved how the mint actually tasted like fresh mint leaves, not just mint oil.
Dolce Bella's Almond Toffee
This tasted like regular toffee -nothing particularly special, though solid.
The Chocolate Truffle
This company makes more "normal" traditional chocolates, such as chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate covered cookies, and PB&J bars reminiscent of the sandwiches you ate growing up. I thought the chocolates tasted fine, although they seemed a bit less refined than some of the other artisanal chocolates we had tried. This is comfort chocolate at its finest.
Similarly, The Chocolate Truffle's Cranberry Caramel Turtles were reasonably good, but nothing made them stand out above the rest.
These truffles from The Chocolate Truffle were HUGE and we were already getting a little tired of chocolate! In general, we thought these truffles were too big and too sweet.
We then tried some creative flavors from Aphrodite: matcha green tea (pretty good but a bit too sweet), Scotland cream (love the shot of alcohol inside!), cherry croquant (really enjoyed how the outside is crunchy, though it was a bit too sour), and cappuccino (nice flavors, but a bit too sweet).
Amano makes various hand-crafted chocolate bars with different, unique origins. Here, we have chocolate from Venezuela (smoky, toasted, almost woodsy), Madagascar (fruiter, creamy, less interesting), and Chuao (fruity).
Dark Chocolate Quinoa
The only Eco bar in my batch, this quinoa bar was "interesting." Here are some quotes from my fellow tasters.
“I like Nestles Crunch Better.”
“The chocolate is pretty good.”
“The rice is lacking . . .needs more crunch.”
“Kind of soggy.”
So there you have it. It was probably the most chocolate I have ever consumed in two sittings (we tried but we really really couldn't bring ourselves to finish it in one sitting!!).
Final awards will be announced in August! Stay tuned.
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