I nearly didn't buy this Chocolove Almonds & Sea Salt chocolate block. After all, almonds and sea salt aren't that uncommon in chocolate. I confess to wondering if the block really deserved precious luggage space.
The short answer to that question is - yes. Yes, it did. I love this block. Adore it, even. With a short ingredient list (cocoa liquor, sugar, almonds, cocoa butter, sea salt, soy lecithin, vanilla) and 55% cocoa, it packs a surprising flavour punch. Plus, the blocks come with love poems inside. Clearly, Chocolove supports the chocolate and reading mix.
This block glistens in a way that suits the shiny gold wrapping. It snaps crisply, it is full of bits (and I love my chocolate full of bits), and it blends almonds and salt in perfect harmony (if you're not sure about salt in chocolate - try this block). There are caramel notes, and yet it isn't too sweet.
I will say again: I adore this bar.
|See the bits!|
I had less adoring reactions to the Endangered Species Chocolate blocks, although I do adore the fact that 10% of profits go to organisations that support species, habitats and humanity. Surely we can all agree that we want to support species, habitats and humanity - and if chocolate is thrown in, surely we all win.
I expected to love the Goji Berry, Pecans and Maca bar, and perhaps that was an error - setting high expectations and all that. I did like it, but found the block a little dry. Despite being in what I call the 'moderate' cocoa range (70%), it was also bittersweet and not in a way that endeared it to me.
|Goji Berry, Pecans and Maca bar|
In addition, there were not enough bits! I am sure pecans were in there, but they weren't there in detectable pieces. It did have satisfying crunch, and the chocolate was enjoyable, but it was not awe-inspiring.
|Sadly lacking in detectable pecans or goji berries.|
Happily, I liked the Cherry block more. Again, this was one I deliberated on buying - we have cherry chocolate in Australia. In a rush of Whole Foods excitement, I threw it in my basket anyway, and I don't regret doing so.
Despite having a slightly higher cocoa percentage than the Goji/Pecan/Maca version, this 72% block is sweeter and lighter in its flavours. The dryness was gone, and there were studs of cherries in sufficient quantities to please me.
|Cherry chocolate on top; Goji/Pecan/Maca below.|
And what about the books? Well, dear readers, I have returned to Historical Fiction with a vengeance. After enjoying Tudor period writings last year, I have gone to the era before the Tudors, the time of the Cousin's War ('War of the Roses') that saw the York and Lancaster branches of the Plantagenet family fight for the crown. I have also gone forwards in time, to Mary Queen of Scots and her role in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
I seem to have set a private goal of reading all of Philippa Gregory's novels, and I would happily recommend the same goal to you. Preferably, with a side of chocolate thrown in.
For another positive review of Chocolove's Almond and Sea Salt dark chocolate, see Hannah's 2012 review on Wayfaring Chocolate.
How does the chocolate / books combination fit into your definition of bliss?