Sunday, January 18, 2009
One of the lovely things about being a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher is all the fun perks. When I first signed on to team up with Foodbuzz I thought it would do little more than create a little bit of exposure for my tiny blog. I have been very happily surprised to discover that it is much more than that. Not only is Foodbuzz a really fun and useful way to connect with friends and fellow foodies, but they sent me to an awesome place like Slow Food Nation '08. On top of general bad-assery, and cool little gifts, Foodbuzz also sends out little treats to sample on occasion.
On this occasion it was a very generous selection of chocolate truffles from Cowgirl Chocolates.
First, I would like to point out that those are the coolest stickers ever. Packaging is a really big deal to me. I don't care how magnificent the product is if it has crappy packaging. No gift should require the preface of, "I know it looks really lame, but it's actually really great!" When I receive something I want to look at it and say, "Wow, that looks really cool." If I don't, I probably won't buy it.
So you won't be surprised to learn that I was very pleased upon removing the already super cool tissue paper and stickers to find this little beauty.
I mean, how freakin' adorable is that, right? I am already totally in love with this company.
A little backstory on Cowgirl Chocolates. They are located in Moscow, ID. Founder Marilyn Lysohir branched out from her career of ceramic sculpture into chocolate in 1997. Cowgirl Chocolates features an interesting niche within the confectionery world, spicy chocolates. They have been featured on several Food Network shows, including "Unwrapped" with the ultra-creepy Marc Summers as host.
Now, when I found out that Cowgirl Chocolates specialized in "hot" chocolates I was intrigued. I'm not a huge chocolate fan, but I enjoy new and different things - and these were definitely new and different. I took them with me to the MiL's house in D.C. because she really enjoys chocolate. Unfortunately, with as many photos of the packaging that I have I only ended up with one serviceable picture of the truffles themselves.
We received a lovely collection of both spicy and mild truffles, plus one caramel. As I was removing all of the truffles from the box Mr. TA stole the flavor guide and refused to return it, instead forcing us to try the chocolates and then guess what they were. It was quite fun until we reached some of the spicier guys, but I'll get to that later...
Starting clockwise from the white chocolate truffle:
Ivory Orange: A white chocolate shell with a center of milk chocolate infused with orange. Very creamy, the orange makes a very strong presence.
Milk Chocolate: This one tasted of creamy milk chocolate with hints of caramel, toffee, and coffee.
Raspberry-Lemon: A dark chocolate truffle with a strong berry presence that infiltrates the back of your palate, right near your nasal cavity. This one was a little too sweet for me.
Double-Dark Chocolate - Spicy: The first spicy one sent us for a loop! The website describes it as a "hint of spice" - it's a lot more than a hint to me! The heat doesn't hit you until after it breaks up in the mouth, really gaining its power once it touches the back of the throat.
Hazelnut Milk Chocolate - Spicy: A very nice blend of hazelnut and spice in milk chocolate. The hazelnut balanced the spice well, it was not nearly as powerful as the Double-Dark. The center had a bit of a crunch to it, almost toffee-like, with an instant taste of hazelnut followed by a prominent heat.
Raspberry-Lemon - Spicy: This one was a little deceiving, both the MiL and I tasted orange followed by strong heat. The amount of spice really overpowered the subtle hints of raspberry, leaving only a bland citrus. I didn't enjoy either of the raspberry-lemon flavors.
Cappuccino - Spicy: My second favorite, right behind the plain milk chocolate. Very creamy with a hint of espresso. Similar crunch in the ganache as with the hazelnut truffle. This one didn't seem as spicy as the others, playing up the coffee flavor by complimenting it with spice instead of negating the other flavors in the chocolate. I enjoyed it very much.
Habanero Chocolate: Oh dear sweet baby Jesus in a manger was this baby spicy. In the very beginning when it first hits the tongue the dark chocolate seems a nice complement to the heavy spicy, but once the chocolate is broken up while chewing the only thing noticeable is insane flames jumping out of your mouth. I actually think I could have caught things on fire just by breathing on them after eating this chocolate.
Habanero Caramel: An innocent looking, chewy soft caramel - that will very happily burn your teeth right out of your friggin' mouth. After trying a mere third of a piece of this caramel both the MiL and I downed no less than sixteen ounces of icy cold water to dampen the hell-fires stoked by this demon candy. This baby should require a waiver. It mustered a " Hmm...pretty hot." out of typically unflappable Mr. TA. I would only wish this bearer of heart-burn on my worst enemy.
In the end, Cowgirl Chocolates are a lovely treat for any pepper-head in your life. I would not recommend them to anyone who does not like spicy foods - except for the Milk Chocolate truffles, those are outstanding. Give them those. Anyone who does love spicy foods - and chocolate - will be in heaven.
Thank you Foodbuzz and thank you Cowgirl Chocolates for letting me try these tasty treats - I can't wait to see what's in store next!