Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chocolate and books - Chocolove Almonds & Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate; Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Goji Berry, Pecans & Maca, and with Cherries; and more historical fiction

A shorter title for this post would have been "all the good things". After all, is there a better combination than good chocolate with a good book? I suppose any good food with a good book is wonderful - but chocolate is a strong contender in the 'good' category. Or at least, these American blocks are.


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.

Bliss.

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?

20 comments:

  1. Ha ha. I see we are both on the chocolate and books wavelength even if in slightly different ways. The difference between the almond and pecan chocolates is very marked just on looking at them. I would definitely go for some salted chocolate.

    As for Philippa Gregory, I have never read any of her stuff or really know of her. But I do love some historical fiction. Did you get lots of reading done on your holiday? (I have a proper book post coming up too)

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    1. I got through 3 books on holiday, so not heaps in 3 weeks, but still a good quota :-) As for Philippa Gregory, I discovered her only a few years back, but she is the author of The Other Boleyn Girl which you may have heard of. She has a PhD in history and does a good job with research, but has been criticised for weaving history and fiction in a way that makes it hard to know what is what - I think that is a sign of a good author myself but you do have to be wary you don't 'learn' fictional facts! The other author of this era that I love is Alison Weir and she has written some excellent biographies of Tudor period characters as well as fiction.

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  2. Yep, these are my thoughts too. I tried a lot of Endangered Species during my exchange year at UVA on 07-08, but have never felt the need to retry them. (Actually, from memory the dark chocolate hazelnut toffee was pretty good). Yay Chocolove! xo (Though I'm yet to find a Neruda or cummings poem in one.)

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    1. Wouldn't choosing the Chocolove poems be a brilliant job? I'm sure you'd get unlimited tasting opportunities too. If you ever get tired of your current work jaunts, I'd pursue that...:-)

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  3. Yes!! I just tried that chocolove chocolate too and ADORED it! Then I went to see whether Hannah had tried it and it was the chocolate that spurred her blog. HA! (I also learned that chocolate doesn't ship well in Houston. It will melt. But still just as tasty... haha!)

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    1. Ah, funny! I always check Hannah's blog before posting my own reviews because inevitably she has reviewed at least one of the things I'm reviewing and she always finds more descriptive words than I :-) I'm glad you're enjoying the Chocolove almond/sea salt too - you'll have to transfer from shipping straight to your fridge!

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  4. It's a shame that chocolate didn't have enough 'bits'. I do hate it when you buy chocolate that reports including all these amazing things and then it's like a treasure hunt trying to find them - so disappointing. Those books sound very addictive and great for long haul flights xx

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    1. Yes! I don't need treasure hunts in my chocolate! Disappointing indeed. Thankfully I had some wins in amongst the one slight disappointment :-)

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  5. The chocolove bars are my absolute favorites!! Definitely worth the purchase.

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    1. I'm so glad I did get them :-) We have another flavour too that will appear at some stage!

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  6. I want some of that first chocolate bar!! It sounds amazing :)

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    1. I'd offer you some, but I'm afraid it is disappearing at a rapid rate ;)

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  7. actually it fits in just fine I say. It's always a combination that I'm willing to take on, chocolate and reading that is. I like the packaging on the sea salt one, would have bought it solely on that :-)

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    1. It was a deciding factor in the purchase :-)

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  8. Yum! This post made me hungry.

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  9. I want the chocolove and the poems. I think that's really clever marketing AND you can see the bits. I've read The Other Boleyn Girl but now I want to read the others. Thanks.

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    1. The other books are definitely worth reading - especially the others in the Tudor series if you enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl (as it comes from that series). If you can pair your reading with chocolate with bits, all the better ;)

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  10. I am supremely jealous of your having had access to that amazing-sounding almond and salt chocolate bar. (also: hooray for bits! ooh er ... is my mind ever NOT in the gutter? Me thinks not. ;) ) x

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