Sunday, March 22, 2009
These are a very fancy fun gift from my Super-Awesome Mom, who knows a thing or two about EXCELLENT chocolate! LA BURDICK is one of the top chocolatiers in the USA, possibly the world in my opinion (the owner/creator is Swiss). They are based in Walpole, NH and have another store in Cambridge, MA. They have been producing premium handmade chocolates since 1987, and these mice are their trademark "signature selection". Adorable and tasty, they have dark, milk, or white thin coatings with heavenly soft ganache inside flavored with cinnamon, espresso, or orange juice. Of course the colorful tails and almond ears are the crowning touch. I almost couldn't eat them they are so cute, but alas, the choco-loving cat in me could't resist.....thank you mom, what a treat! (they also make adorable penguins- www.burdickchocolate.com)
The only thing better than eating chocolate is using lotions and soaps with woderful smelling cocoa butter in them- it's VERY good for our skin and has been used for centuries in beauty products. Shown here are many of the latest products I have found with cocoa butter- it's a very expensive ingrediant so it's only a small percent of most lotions (to make sure you are getting REAL cocoa butter, it should say "theobroma cacao") New Suave Cocoa Butter body wash, and the Suave & Vaseline Cocoa Butter hand lotions are nice- both smell delicious, but Vaseline's is stronger. Queen Hellen brand has been making cocoa butter creams for a very long time and are very popular. And cocoa butter soap is ok but this one did not smell like it at all- was more fruity. Then there's a new discovery I made- Bath & Body Works Chocolate Amber spray and body cream, which smells very rich, sexy, and decadent (could be worn by men or women, reminds me of Calvin Klein Obsession), but contains no cocoa butter- it's more of a chocolate "top note". If you're interested it's a discontinued scent and only available now at www.CreativeNotions.net (at discount rates)- Highly recommended!
For anyone who loves nuts, you know macadamias with chocolate is one of the most perfect unions ever created. I recently came across these heavenly Mac nut treats and just had to post them all together- 1 from the very well known Mauna Loa co. and 2 from Hawaiian Host, both produced on the gorgeous island of Hawaii. WOW- toffee, caramel, chocolate AND mac nuts?!? Absolute pure bliss.....thank you Hawaii!!
Sunday, March 8, 2009
My wonderful sweet Brazilian friend's dad brought me these all the way from Brazil- a super fun mixed box of what she said is their most popular brand of local chocolates- LACTA! There are all kinds of flavors here- all of them milk except one dark bar and 2 white choc bars. As you can see there are all shapes/sizes/ flavors and even some that are a lot like M&Ms - so fun! Thank you SOOOO much Adriana, I absolutley adore this taste of your beautiful country!
My super awesome globe-trotting friend Linda brought this back from Costa Rica for me! Britt is their largest coffee producer who also has a small chocolate/ cocoa division. They grow and process all the cocoa on site and the result is heaven- this is some of the richest most delicious cocoa Ive ever had, and the tin is a collectible for sure! Love Love Love it- Thanx Linda!
Ok I'll admit again that the packaging really sold me here- it really is a beautiful presentation. But then I saw who makes them- Turin- and I was wary. They make several popular liquor flavored chocolates you see a lot in duty-free stores, and frankly, the chocolate is bad. It's good enough for the average joe who doesn't know the difference, but just like for these Coldstone flavors, the choc shell is weak and pale and whimpy and waxy- I doubt there is even 10% cocoa content. The fillings are not much better- fake pasty peanut butter flavored goo (you will really appreciate the REAL peanut butter in Reese's after these)! Maybe that's why these were on clearance? WAY overpriced for starters.....
As you can see, it's really all in the packaging- yes it's seductive and Im a total sucker for great wrappings. But the insides count too, and I am very impressed with Dove's line of "fancy" chocolates, and quite like their mix of flavors. I LOVE the Bananas Foster, a flavor not often available outside of gourmet restaurants, and actually their entire line of individually wrapped caramels is distinctive and very tasty- with a little Dove note wrapped inside each one. And the large choc bars have 3 seperate sections wrapped inside- for better freshness and portion control. Dove has done it right- they are different and stand out- not to mention really affordable and makes a great gift!
These both popped out at me recently, and both happen to be Nestle. The gorgeous yellow bar is their new line of baking chocolate, a trend started by Ghiradelli and found in the grocery baking aisle. They also have a darker 72% bar and also chocolate chips in this line. Very nice quality but hard not to eat before you get to baking with 'em! The red bar is just new fun packaging on their standard milk choc BIG bar- quite good if plain milk choc is your thing...I personally need dark and/or some nuts and things mixed in.