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March 31, 2005

Review: ChocoSoy

ChocoSoy Soy-Milk Chocolates

So, this isn't in my normal line of reviews for this blog, but serendipity rules. My co-worker, who writes the VegBlog, got some of the ChocoSoy Soy-Milk chocolates to review and we decided to both do reviews. Besides, I was intrigued by the concept of milk chocolate for vegans, using soy milk, especially considering how closely people tend to associate milk and chocolate.

The chocolates are packaged in a nice little container that is made from buriti palm, which their site says is environmentally-friendly and sustainable. The knot in the packaging is a little hard to open, but that's what scissors are for. Each package contains 5 pieces, weighs 1.76 oz. and costs about $1.79 per pack. Each piece has about 50 calories in it with only 3 grams of fat.

So, I unwrapped the first piece from its foil and popped it into my mouth. The pieces were just about the right size, small enough to fit in your mouth and big enough to satisfy. The very first taste I got from the chocolate was that of soy. The soy flavor was very evident throughout the whole experience. That, however, was to be expected. What was not expected was that the chocolate flavor was almost non-existent. This, coming from a chocolate-centered universe as I do, was disturbing. While I did realize that the soy-milk would change the flavor of the milk chocolate, I also expected the chocolate to contain a decent amount of cacao. If it does, I couldn't taste it. I would be interested to know what percent of the chocolate was cacao powder. The ingredients only mention "chocolate flavorings", which is vague and implies that there wasn't much cacao being used.

I do think that ChocoSoy has potential but for me to enjoy it as a chocolate product, it does need to increase the amount of chocolate/cocoa (not cocoa butter!!) it uses. And while they were doing that, it would be nice if they used FTC and organic cocoa. :-)

Full Disclosure: I'm not a vegan. However, I do enjoy soy in various things and drink quite a lot of soy milk. To get a vegan's view of ChocoSoy, go read the review at VegBlog.

March 27, 2005

Domori's Chocolate Tasting Guide

I recently came across Domori's tasting guide to chocolate. They classify the differences in chocolate by the 5 Senses (sorta): Sight, Sound, Aroma, Taste and Texture. Some of it is pretty easy to discern. For example, in the Sound category, they mention that the chocolate should make a clear sound when broken (i.e. a "snap"). This is easy enough to observe.

However, in the Aroma category, they talk about secondary aromas like berries, nuts, spices, etc. Most of the time, my nose (or palate) is not sensitive enough to tease out the secondary smells and tastes. I have found that it's easier to classify chocolates in such categories if you have multiple different chocolates to compare and contrast. Anyone find it easy to spot these secondary aromas and tastes in chocolates?

March 17, 2005

Review: Moonstruck Mexican Hot Chocolate

Moonstruck Mexican Hot Chocolate
Overall: **1/2

This is a very mellow drink, unlike what you would expect from its name. The main flavors that come through are that of vanilla and cinnamon. The cacao, when apparent, is more of a background taste. Unfortunately, the aftertaste is simply one of sugar. This really disappointed me since I liked the various hot cocoa drinks that they prepare at the Moonstruck Chocolate Cafes.

Recipe used: 4 tablespoons of the mix with 8oz of milk, as recommended.

March 05, 2005

Vosges Black Pearl Layer Cake

Having loved the Vosges Black Pearl Chocolate Bar, I was thrilled to find a recipe for a cake with the same ingredients on Epicurious. The recipe came from Katrina Markoff, founder of Vosges and had appeared in the January 2005 Bon Apétit magazine.

Now I'm off to find wasabi powder. Hopefully, I can get it at the local Wegman's.

Update: I got sidetracked into making another cake. However, check out "In My Kitchen's" description of making this cake.

March 04, 2005

Cardamom Hot Chocolate

So, after tasting cardamom hot chocolate as part of a dessert at Indebleu, I decided to make it at home. This was especially appealing to me since it was in accord with my need for simplicity and minimalism (*cough* laziness *cough*). The idea was simple and elegant: add cardamom to my hot chocolate. So, I did and the result was highly satisfying.

The short recipe:

  1. Prepare your hot chocolate as you normally would. Use plain hot chocolate. No flavored ones, please.
  2. Towards the end of the heating period, add 1/4 tsp. of finely powdered cardamom to the hot chocolate. If you microwave your hot chocolate, I don't want to know about it.

The more complete Viren recipe:

  1. Measure 1 cup of milk (preferably 2%) and pour into pot.
  2. Slowly heat up the milk on a medium low setting.
  3. As soon as vapors start rising from the milk, slowly mix in 3 tablespoons of Dagoba Hot Chocolate mix into the milk. Ensure that the milk never boils.
  4. Keep stirring slowly the entire time that the milk is being heated.
  5. Just before removing the hot chocolate from the stovetop, add 1/4 teaspoon of finely ground cardamom powder. I sometimes add a little more cardamom depending on my mood, but more than 1/3 tsp. would be a bit much.
  6. Froth up the hot chocolate either with a molinillo or a hand blender.
  7. Pour into a big mug -- the better to wrap your hands around.
  8. Go stand outside in the cold.
  9. Drink!