Friday, May 31, 2013

June 2013 Chocolate Fun Holidays

Let your Chocolate Priestess apologize about not putting out a calendar every month for the past nine months.  I was teaching at the university level and frankly The Chocolate Cult which is not a business but a love fell to the back burner.  But now we are back so chocolatiers start sending your products for features and readers start leaving comments please!

Here are some fun food holidays that you could celebrate with Chocolate in June.


June = National Dairy Month

1st Friday June = National Donut Day -- falls on June 7th this year the same dates as "National Chocolate Ice Cream Day"

June 2 = National Rocky Road Day

June 7 = National Chocolate Ice Cream Day -- even though July is the month of ice cream?

June 11 = National German Chocolate Cake Day; birthday (1796) of Francois-Louis Cailler, first Swiss chocolatier -- we'll be looking at Swiss style truffles before his birthday so keep  your eyes open for that

June 12 = National Peanut Butter Cookie Day -- obviously chocolate makes this even better!

June 15, 1790 = birthday of CHARLES-AMEDEE KOHLER, Swiss confectioner -- we'll be looking at Swiss style truffles before his birthday so keep  your eyes open for that

June 16 = National Fudge Day -- we're doing a feature just in time for this holiday

June 22 = National Chocolate Éclair Day  -- they never seem to have enough chocolate in them to satisfy me

June 24 = National Pralines Day

June 26 = National Chocolate Pudding Day -- I haven't had pudding in some time, maybe I should

June 30, 1971 = Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory along with The Willy Wonka Candy Factory is released; a later version with Johnny Depp was made but I'm more a fan of the 1971 version even though I was too young to see it when it came out

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lindt Truffles Rainbow

Your chocolate Priestess's 21st wedding anniversary happens Friday and this got me thinking about chocolate for anniversary gifts.  A while back when we had a Lindt chocolate party I purchased a huge basket of goodies including a selection of their truffles.  As you may know the color of the wrapper can tell you the flavor inside though sometimes words are also on the wrapper that tell you.

In honor of Lindt truffles I thought I'd share their list of wrappers and flavors and add in another one that I know about first hand.  This list is on their FAQ on their website and I've added some extra notes to it for you all, Sisters and Brothers.  I've placed a * next to the ones that came in my sampler box in this basket.

*Gold = White Chocolate shell over white chocolate center
*Red = Milk Chocolate has a semi-solid milk chocolate center
*Dark/Royal Blue = 39% minimum cocoa dark chocolate has a semi-solid center of the same chocolate it tastes like to me.
Black = 60% minimum cocoa dark chocolate shell with 39% minimum truffle center
Light/Sky Blue = Stracciatella (white chocolate shell with cocoa nibs / white chocolate center)
Light Green = Mint
Dark Green = Peppermint
*Bronze/Copper = Peanut Butter (often says this on the wrapper) has a soft primarily peanut butter center under milk chocolate shell
Hot Pink = Raspberry
*Brown = Hazelnut Milk Chocolate has a fairly solid center with a touch of crunch but surprisingly not a very hazelnut flavor
Orange = Orange
Dark Brown = Coffee
Purple = Vanilla White Chocolate -- I had one of these only in the basket, don't know if it was an error or not. This is basically the white chocolate with an intense kick!

The Brown and Bronze can look similar so I'm glad the peanut butter ones has the flavor listed on the wrapper as well.  My hubby has tree nut allergies but peanuts are NOT tree nuts.

How many out there like Lindt Truffles?  Leave a comment and let me know.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Final Recalls for May 2013

The last chocolate related recall for May 2013 are in, Sisters and Brothers.  Remember to look up  the details yourself for the most up-to-date information.

Eco-Cuisine Recalls Product Because of Possible Health Risk
Consumer: 303-402-0289

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 20, 2013 - Eco-Cuisine of Boulder, Colorado is recalling all lots of T3314 Basic Brownie Mix, T3333 Betty Brownie Mix with Vanilla, T3388 Ground Beef Style Quick Mix, T3394 Sausage Style Quick Mix, T3416 Chocolate Cookie Mix, T3417 Lemon Muffin Mix, and T3418 English Scone Mix, CM25COOK Basic Cookie Mix 25 lb. bag, CM25MUFF  Basic Muffin Mix 25 lb. bag, CM25SCON Basic Scone Mix 25 lb. Bag, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

The baking mix products were distributed nationwide through direct sales and food service distribution centers.

Products affected are:
Product Code Description Packaging Size
T3314 Eco-Cuisine Basic Brownie Mix 1 lb. bag/10 bags per box or 25 lb. bulk box
T3333 Eco-Cuisine Betty Brownie Mix with Vanilla 17.5 oz bag/10 bags per box
T3388 Eco-Cuisine Ground Beef Style Quick Mix 10 lb box
T3394 Eco-Cuisine Sausage Style Quick Mix 10 lb box
T3416 Eco-Cuisine Chocolate Cookie Mix 1 lb. bag/10 bags per case
T3417 Eco-Cuisine Lemon Muffin Mix 1 lb. bag/10 bags per case
T3418 Eco-Cuisine English Scone Mix 1 lb. bag/10 bags per case
CM25COOK Eco-Cuisine Basic Cookie Mix 25 lb bag
CM25MUFF Eco-Cuisine Basic Muffin Mix 25 lb bag
CM25SCON Ec-Cuisine Basic Scone Mix 25 lb bag
TV25PANC Eco-Cuisine Basic Pancake Mix 25 lb bag
TV10GBQM Eco-Cuisine "Ground Beef Style" Quick Mix 10 lb box
TV10CKQM Eco-Cuisine "Chicken Style" Quick Mix 10 lb box
RM10CKQM Eco-Cuisine "Chicken Style" Quick Mix 10 lb box

No illnesses have been reported to date.

The recall was as the result of notification by CHS Foods that ingredients used in the aforementioned products were being recalled for Salmonella.  The company has ceased the production and distribution of the product as FDA and the company continue their investigation as to what caused the problem.

Consumers who have purchased the above listed products are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Eco-Cuisine Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm MDT at 303-402-0289

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Flower Chocolate Cups Beauty

Today I tried the fourth of five samples sent to us by Kane Candy, this one was the box of six Pastel Chocolate Flower Cups made with 47.3% cocoa mass along with cocoa butter not added oils, but powered and dried milk in case you are allergic to dairy.  This does have artificial colors to make red, green, and peach colors on the flowers.  It comes six to a box with each cup weighing 12 grams.

I used these to make inverted flowers.  I filled them up with "chocolate dirt" that was actually my failed attempt to us a boxed lava cake mix -- it didn't lava because the chips refused to melt at all. But it made a good crumble after it cooled off.  Each cup held three tablespoons worth of the "dirt" and then could be topped with whatever you wanted -- we used whipped cream, blueberries, and strawberry slices.


Alone the cups tasted like a slightly darker chocolate; the artificial colors didn't change the flavor at all which is great.  Coupled with the "dirt" it was very chocolatey indeed.





Notes for Use:

1) To take the cups out of the plastic they are found in you'll want to push up from beneath them and be gentle when you hold them.  The bottom is very sturdy but the petals can be fragile especially once filled.

2) Fill them after setting them on the plate you will serve them with.

3) Use a firmer filling because these had to be eaten carefully or they spilled all over the place.

This was a fun and easy to use chocolate cup that I thought was perfect for late spring when my flowers are blooming right outside my door.  Made with real chocolate and tasting like a slightly darker chocolate, these are, once more, a Sacrament worthy sample from Kane Candy.  This company now moves into the running for "Best of 2013" here on The Chocolate Cult.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Travel the World for Chocolate

Sisters and Brothers, how many of you would love to experience chocolate from around the world, meeting the creators, and tasting the uniqueness of each culture?  Doreen Pendgracs has done this and she continues to do this for her multi-volume book series, Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate.  The first book is due out later this year and we hope to bring you a book review of it when it becomes available.  Doreen has been kind enough to take time from her busy travel and writing schedule to answer a few questions for us.  Please leave any other questions (or comments) you might have for her below.

Doreen, you have been a published author now for several years but when did you get the idea for your book Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate?

The idea for Chocolatour came to me in early 2009, after I had visited a cocoa plantation while on vacation in the Dominican Republic. I didn’t realize it at the time, but tasting those raw, unprocessed cocoa beans right out of the cacao pod planted a seed in my brain!    

Did this book evolve out of your love of travel, your love of chocolate, or a bit of both?

Chocolatour is a project that allows me to feed my passions for travel, fine quality chocolate, and passionate people.

When you started traveling and researching for Chocolatour did you start in Canada or immediately look elsewhere to begin?

My research began in the top three countries known for their chocolate: Belgium, France, and Switzerland. The following year, I visited Holland, Italy, and Spain. The next year, my focus was the UK, highlighted by a trip to England. And last year, I stayed on cocoa plantations in Peru, Ecuador, and St. Lucia. In between those overseas trips, I have also been exploring the chocolate scene in Canada and the US.  

How much of your research has been literature based versus personal experiences?

My research has primarily stemmed from the in-person interviews with chocolatier, chocolate makers and chocolate event planners in the destinations I have visited. In addition to that, I have been able to gather research for the A-Z Guide for Chocolate Lovers in my book via tastings of chocolate that has been sent to my home.

If there was one book you would recommend to chocolate lovers, what would it be and why?

I think every chocolate lover should read the book, Chocolat by Joanne Harris. This book was the foundation for the much-loved movie, Chocolat that starred Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche and taught us that our personalities determine which chocolates we will prefer. This is the premise for my book as well.

Doreen at Jade Mountain Chocolate Festival in St. Lucia
Let's focus now on your experiences around the world.  I see from your website, Chocolatour, that you have been to North and South America, the Caribbean, the UK, continental Europe and even the Middle East.  Do you have plans to visit Africa or Asia for this book or perhaps a sequel?

Absolutely! Africa and Asia will be covered in the third edition of Chocolatour, along with Australia, New Zealand, India, and the Middle East. The second edition will primarily focus on the Americas and the Caribbean.  

Has your travel been planned around chocolate since you started this book or do you look for chocolate where you travel?

It’s a bit of both. Most of my major trips are planned around chocolate, whether it be to interview amazing chocolate makers that I have met online (and later tasted their chocolate) or to attend chocolate-focused events. But wherever I go, you can be sure that I am researching chocolate in every community large or small. You’d be surprised at the quality of chocolate or chocolate festivals and events you can find in communities that may only have a few hundred people!

Do you find differences between technique used by or attitude of the chocolatiers you've met around the world?  If so, could you summarize some key differences you've noticed?

Absolutely. There are different growing, harvesting, fermenting, drying, and roasting techniques applied to cocoa depending on where it is grown. Similarly, the chocolatiers (those who create their chocolates from couverture made of processed chocolate) and chocolate makers (those who make their chocolate creations from cocoa beans they have roasted themselves) each have a very unique method to making their chocolate. That’s why a sea salt chocolate caramel made by one chocolate company will taste completely different from one made by another.   

In a similar vein, have you noticed regional differences or has chocolate become more universal in terms of taste, texture, cacao percentage, or form?

Think of the importance of terroir (growing conditions) with respect to wine. The same is very true for chocolate. Once you have trained and educated your palate, you’ll be able to tell which country the chocolate comes from when you eat pure chocolate. The nuances are very different from growing region to growing region. 

When you started this book did you have a certain number of chocolatiers who wanted to include?

No. I had no idea as to exactly how my research would progress. I certainly hadn’t planned to write a multi-volume book when I began in 2009. But I quickly learned that the world has far too much excellent chocolate to try and combine it into just one book. 


At this time do you foresee stopping at three books or are you planning more volumes?

If there is demand for it, I may publish a mega-volume that will update and combine the three geographically specific editions. But that’s a long-term project that wouldn’t happen for at least five years. 


What has been the most pleasant surprise you've encountered as you've found chocolate around the world?

The greatest pleasure has been hearing the chocolatiers and chocolate makers tell me their stories. I’m sure that people who work with chocolate must be the most passionate people on the planet! 

Were you ever turned away by a chocolatier or company that simply didn't want you writing about their chocolate?

I haven’t been turned away by anyone. However, I have been quite surprised that some (a very small number) have not seen the value in giving me some of their time, or sharing samples of their chocolate with me. For the most part, I’ve found chocolatiers and chocolate makers to be very generous with their time, knowledge, and chocolate.  

Are you still looking for donations for publication of your book?  Where can people find that if they want to support you?

Although the official fundraising campaign for my book is over, and I’ve raised enough for small print run, I would still welcome any philanthropic donations in support of what I am doing. I have a lot more travel to do for the upcoming editions of Chocolatour, and I have considerable expenses in producing and printing the book. But I know it will all be worthwhile, as my goal is to share my knowledge with chocolate lovers so that they will want to travel with chocolate in mind, and that they will seek out artisanal chocolate wherever they go. It tastes nothing like mass-produced commercial chocolate. So to answer your question, if folks would like to donate, or subscribe for updates, I’d love for them to visit http://chocolatour.net. Thanks for the opportunity to connect with your readers, and members of the Chocolate Cult!  

Thank you, Doreen for answering our questions.  We look forward to your book.

What do you think, Sisters and Brothers?  Please leave Doreen some comments and questions below and check out her website.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Recalls May 19, 2013 -- Tree Nuts and Dairy Allergens

Sisters and Brothers, here is one chocolate related USDA recalls on products that those with dairy or/and tree nut allergies need to be aware of.  Please check out the link for further information.


Tropical Valley Foods Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Milk and Walnuts in Next by Nature Dark Chocolate Bananas


Contact
Consumer:
518-314-7162

Media:
Kristain Stone
518-314-7162

Photo from manufacturer's website.








Tropical Valley Foods Inc. of Plattsburgh, NY, is recalling next by Nature DARK CHOCOLATE BANANAS, 3 oz. bags, due to undeclared milk and walnuts. People who have an allergy to milk and/or walnuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.

The affected next by Nature DARK CHOCOLATE BANANAS was sold to distributors in Michigan, Oregon, Colorado, and New Jersey between the dates of January 3rd 2013 and January 10th 2013 for distribution to their retail customers. Distributors where notified to inform their customers of the recall of the product, to immediately remove it from sale and discarded it.

The affected product is packaged in 3 oz. bags with UPC 8 17582 25600 4 and "Best by Date" of 12/18/2013 and 12/19/2013.

The recall was initiated after a retail store notified Tropical Valley Foods that Dark Chocolate Walnuts were found in bags labeled as Dark Chocolate Bananas. Subsequent investigation revealed that some Dark Chocolate Covered Walnuts were miss-packaged into bags labeled as Dark Chocolate Bananas by the chocolate coater. Further label review revealed that the product also contains undeclared Milk (from a sub-ingredient of the chocolate coating).

No illnesses have been reported to date associated with this problem.

Customers who purchased the affected product may return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Tropical Valley Foods at (518) 314-7162, Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm EDT.

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Recipe: Double Chocolate Honey Bran Muffins

Today is not only a Saturday Sacrament but also one of our rare recipes here on The Chocolate Cult.  The pan I used will be featured in a later feature review after I've had a chance to use it a few more times with different types of baked goods.  Today we are going to focus on how well the Lindt 85% Dark Chocolate Bar worked with baked goods.  This bar was one of those sent to use by Amy Sue Lambert as a consult who sells Lindt chocolate via house parties and the web through their R.S.V.P program.  I had a mix for honey bran muffins (Martha White brand that was on sale at my local Kroger) and decided to give this double chocolate idea a try.  Let's see how it worked.

Double Chocolate Honey Bran Muffins
By TammyJo Eckhart, PhD

Ingredients:

2 Honey Bran muffin mixes (Martha White brand in this case)
1 2/3 cups skim milk
1.5 cups chopped walnuts (Fisher brand in this case)
1 3.5oz bar Lindt 85% dark chocolate, broken into 8+ pieces
5 T unsweetened cocoa

Directions:
Pre-heat over to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 



In the microwave melt the broken up Lindt bar then smooth with a spoon.  The bar will melt but slowly so have patience and just keep checking as you do this step.




Then stir in the milk and reheat in microwave for 1 minute stirring until you get a chocolate milk like consistency.

Note: you add in extra milk because you will be adding in cocoa that will make the muffins more dry unless you counter this with more wet ingredients.  Resist the temptation to use oils or butter because they are not necessary and add calories and fats you honestly do not need.

By hand slowly stir in both mixes until the dry mix is completely moist.  Stir in the walnuts until they are completely covered.  Finally, one tablespoon at a time, stir in the cocoa until you can no longer see any dry cocoa.  By this time you should be able to smell the cocoa and chocolate.



Spoon into mini-loaf pan; I used an oval mini-loaf pan.  Bake for 15 minutes then remove and allow pan to cool for five minutes before dumping out the muffins.

Note: The time you need will depend on the make of the pan and the size of each serving.  Adjust the time by using a toothpick to check that it comes out clean from the center of one of the central muffins in your pan.  You could also use this to make a full bread loaf but be very careful about the outside burning if you do this.

Using this pan I made 22 oval mini-loaves each with around 159 calories, 9 grams fat (2.4 grams saturated fat), only 3.1 gram cholesterol, 124 mg sodium, 18.6 carbs, 2.75 grams fiber, only 1.7 grams sugars (yes the muffins are more on the bitter edge of chocolate), and 9.7 grams protein.

If these are too bitter for you you could use a lower cacao percentage chocolate bar or less cocoa but frankly the cocoa adds a lot of fiber versus calories.

Thank you, Amy Sue Lambert, once again for letting us reveal more of the Lindt chocolate to the world.

So what have you used a 85% Lindt Dark Chocolate Bar for, Sisters and Brothers?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Antiqua Chocolate from Italy

Our contacts at Beviamo sent us samples of the products they sold.  We looked at the Dolci Liberta brand all ready but now it is time to post our feature about the  Antica Dolceria Bonajuto brand, another Italian chocolate company that boosts a long history of making our sacred substance into drinks and treats.  But this is more a review of Beviamo than the chocolate so our descriptions will be brief.  Here in this photo you can see the five products they sent in one grouping.

Searching for the brand on their website returns no results.  You have to look under Confectionery and then Chocolate to find it (along with the previous brand we featured from this UK reseller). I've done that search for you if you use this link.

The Xocoatl tin has six little cups of dark chocolate truffles with chili pepper.  If you let the chocolate melt in your mouth the spicy edge is very light but if you chew it the intensity builds up quite a bit.  You get to decide how much chili kick you want with these truffles.  The presentation is so cute in the white and light red paper cups.  In total this is only 1.1oz so the entire box is probably under 150 calories.  Plus you can reuse the tin if you want because the lip is fairly secure though easy to open at the same time.

Another spicy chocolate from Bonajuto is in a bar form labeled "Pure Dark Chocolate with White Pepper."  Made with 65% cacao this should be substantially more intense than the truffles though the pepper should make it fairly similar in terms of spiciness.  The 50 gram bar has four sections that break apart with a sharp snap.  It has a strong cocoa and light pepper scent to it, the chocolate is cool in my fingers.  A bite also makes a sharp span but the texture of the bar is a bit grainy though now unpleasantly so.  The chocolate's bitterness is really very smooth and there is no heat though I can taste the white pepper beneath the chocolate.  It is surprisingly mild and might appeal to people who like lower cacao percentages or even more intense milk chocolates.

The Pure Dark Chocolate with Cinnamon bar is 45% cacao, the lowest percentage of the four bars we were sent, is in a red box.  It has four sections marked off, each of 0.88 ounce since the entire bar is 3.5oz.  Oddly this bar does not have a cinnamon fragrance nor much of a cocoa one either.  The sections take a bit of effort to break off and they are thick, 1/2 inch, though as you can see in the photo it is not a perfect block since the sides slope in from the bottom.  The bar when I open it shows some signs of bloom and when I check the "best by date" it is the same month I received and tested this.  The result is a bar that is not smooth and very grainy though the cinnamon and the chocolate flavor do blend well.  Since we know that we keep products safely and test them by the "best by dates" this either reflects problems with shipping over seas or storage problems before shipping.

If hot spices don't do it for you, you can try the Pure Dark Chocolate with Lemon Peel that has 65% cacao again.  Picking up a section I can smell the dark chocolate very well and there is a hint of something citrus.  The bar makes a snap when I break off a section and again when I take a bite.  Like the previous bars this one has a gritty texture that is distracting.  The lemon is very strong but it does not overwhelm the chocolate only softens the edges of what seems to be a more bitter taste that the other bars even though I know the percentage is the same as the white pepper variety.  By the time I finish one section I also am finding other textures inside this bar, something a touch chewy that gives a burst of more lemon when I bite into it that must be the lemon peel I see on the ingredients list. I think I would appreciate the lemon peel's texture more if the grittiness of the bar itself wasn't there.

Finally we have the Pure Dark Chocolate with Marjoram a spice we do not encounter very often in  the chocolate we are sent to feature.  Looking into marjoram I learned that the wild version is often called oregano and has an sweet, mild flavor very similar to this common Italian spice.  Identical to the other bars in terms of basic shape and sectioning, this one has a dark chocolate fragrance with a definite hint of oregano when I bring one section closer to my nose. A sections breaks off easily and there is a loud snap when I take a bite.  Once again the chocolate is a bit gritty but this time the chocolate is the secondary then final flavor with a burst of oregano essence to start off the tasting. The marjoram is very subtle so even if you aren't a huge oregano fan it really shouldn't matter.

The grittiness of these chocolates may be their greatest problem for an American consumer.  Now it is very true that older methods of creating chocolate will result in gritty textures compared to what we are used to and the point of the bars above is to be use traditional recipes and methods however there was enough difference in the level of grittiness that it makes me wonder if some were damaged in some point in transport.  (Beviamo representative tells me it is a result of lower temperatures and not beating out the chocolate but since this is a review of the retailer not the chocolate itself, there was no information on the website about how this is made.) In terms of taste the added flavors were subtle allowing the pure nature of the chocolate to come through.  If you live in or near the UK, Beviamo specializes in bringing Italian treats to your door.  If you don't live in the UK you can still check them out and order but it costs more.  I know that Beviamo is looking for American contacts as well so if you are wholeseller consider contacting them not only for the chocolate brands they represent but also the other goods they can offer.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

First Recalls of May 2013

Sadly, Sisters and Brothers, we must start off our May this year with recalls of products that have chocolate in them.  Remember these come from the USFDA so only apply to the USA and you should always check on the status to get up-to-date information.

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Maple View Farm Recalls Three Flavors of Ice Cream Because of Undeclared Allergens
04/29/2013 02:26 PM EDT

Maple View Farm is voluntarily recalling pint containers of Cookies & Cream, Carolina Crunch and Cookie Dough ice cream because the products contain allergens that were not declared on package labels. Some or all of the products contain wheat,soy, almonds and peanuts, which can cause serious allergic reactions in people who have an allergy or sensitivity to these ingredients.

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Carson’s Deli & Bakery Issues Allergy Alert For Undeclared Allergens In Assorted Cookie Pack And Fudge Brownie Cookie
04/30/2013 08:18 PM EDT

CARSON’S DELI & BAKERY of Lockport, NY is recalling 200 packages of ASSORTED COOKIE PACK, UPC 7 53182 15240 0, and FUDGE BROWNIE COOKIES, UPC 7 53182 15240 0 because they contain undeclared allergens. Carson’s Assorted Cookie Pack contains undeclared walnuts, wheat flour, milk and peanut butter.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Mayan Spice Bar

Chocolate for the Spirit, an Indiana chocolate company that has made a huge name for itself in just a few years turned its attention to the traditional variety of chocolate often called "Mexican" or "Aztec" but in this case a "Mayan Spice Bar".  Historically speaking this name is much closer to the origins of chocolate than the other two common labels for chocolate made with a kick of certain spices.  They sell four different types of Mayan Spice Bars and this one is the 38% milk chocolate version.

This bar came in a greenish yellow envelop and a plastic bag. When I took it out I was blown away by the detail on this molded chocolate.  He looks like a little monkey, doesn't he?  Did you know that in several Mayan artifacts we see monkeys associated with  cacao trees?  This is because among the animals and birds that would break open cocoa pods and eat the sweet white pulp incasing the seeds that we use to make chocolate and cocoa from, the monkey was quite common.

This bar is two ounces measuring 3 7/8th X 2 5/8th X 7/16th inches.  I hope you could see the golden sheen over the chocolate in the above photo.  It has a light creamy cocoa and intense spice fragrance. The spices listed on the ingredients' list are just "spices" so if you have any spice allergies, and I know some folks who do, you may want to stay away from this.  This bar has both cocoa butter and cocoa mass and obviously dairy.  The bar is shiny and cool to the touch, both signs of well-crafted chocolate.  Taking a bite immediately release a strong creamy chocolate with a vanilla essence.  It takes a second for the spices to start to work adding a growing heat and an interesting counter to the creamy milk chocolate without completely overwhelming it.  However the spices are intense and they do build up with each chew so you are now forewarned.

Chocolate for the Spirit has done it again.  A wonderful creation made with quality ingredients and loving attention to detail.  Celebration of Cinco de Mayo with this chocolate bar would be a great idea.  I hope all of you give it a chance if not tomorrow then soon because this chocolate could easily replace any other "Mexican" cocoa product you might have in mind because deserves to be your new Sacrament.  That said I can also say that currently this company is on top and in the running for Best of 2013 when the year ends.

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