Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentines Day Gift

There's chocolates, and then there's CHOCOLATE!!!!!!!!; and this stuff definitely falls into the latter category.

This was my valentines day present to my honey; 38% - 78% chocolate solids drinking chocolate. In case you didnt know, "hot chocolate" is to drinking chocolate as Mad Dog 20/20 is to The MacAllan 25 year old fine oak.

Instead of some powdered sugar, condensed milk, and cheap synthesized cocoa powder, this is essentially drinking liquid chocolate mixed with hot milk. If you want a similar flavor, go to Starbucks and order a "chantico". This is MUCH MUCH better, but the richness is similar.

Oh, and so are the calories, and about 400 per serving, 200 of them from fat. When I said this was drinking melted chocloate, I wasn't kidding. You are basically drinking a really good german chocolate bar.

I specify German chocolate for a reason. American chocolate has, if you are lucky, about 20% chocolate solids, and if you are buying Hersheys, under 10%. The chocolate we use tends to be more bitter, grainier, and chalkier than the chocolates common in europe, where 25%-40% chocolate solids are more common (and in some cases required by law), and you can get confections with up to 70% chocolate solids.

Here in the U.S. the balance of most chocolates are made up with condensed milk, milk sugar, artificial vanilla flavor, whey protein and soy lecithin; whereas in a fine european chocolate you basically get cocoa solids, cocoa butter, natural vanilla, cream or milk, and sugar (although most drinking chocolate perparations also include the lecithin to help emulsify the chocolate). Also in a good chocolate all the fat should be provided by the milk and cocoa butter; but in cheaper chocolates they often use hydrogenated coconut or palm oil.

Basically, a hershey bar isn't even in the same category as a Lindt couverture (just as an example).

The difference in flavor and mouth feel is HUGE. Those used to european chocolate tend to take abite, and then stop eating out of disappointment. Of course on the other hand that means if you are used to Hersheys, having some real chocolate is going to be an entirely new, and quite tasty experience for you. I HIGHLY recommend doing so as soon as is humanly possible.

Yes, my honey and I are chocolate lovers of the first order, and we stocked up on this stuff. No we didnt buy the whole package above, but we did get five of them, plus the cocoa powder.

The cost... well it's not cheap. Each tin is about $17 (including shipping), and makes eight 8 oz servings of drinking chocolate, so it's a bit more than $2 a cup; and it's worth every penny.

It's soooo much better than some plain old box of chocolates; and we can both enjoy this together (and have several times so far. We'll definitely be buying more of this), plus none of those icky green fruit flavored ones, or weird raspbery syrup filling.

Mel wants to get their baking chocolate, and make some brownies with it. Sure they'd cost like $4 a brownie, but they'd be worth every penny.