Commercial candy bars are like Boone’s Farm wines–they’re what you buy when you’re young, naive or broke–and maybe every once in a while for nostalgic reasons. Like wine, the more you know about the intricacies and the wonders of chocolates, the more different types you’ve tried and tasted, the more that you’ll be able to discern what it is you do or don’t like. Lastly, much like a wine tasting, when you get to the end, you’ve got quite a bit of palate fatigue. This weekend I went from a 14 year old brown bagging Strawberry Boone’s to a real adult with real chocolate knowledge.
When I entered the surprisingly small room in which the Seattle Chocolate Salon was held, I walked around for a moment before starting to orient myself to the type of chocolates I wanted to try–and let me tell you, there was no way I was going to be able to try them all. I decided that I would sample flavored chocolates and salted caramels–the salted caramels being my favorite. This might be a little like sticking only to New World wines or perhaps something even more limiting in wine tasting, but I had to draw the line somewhere and while single origin and dark chocolate are not my areas of expertise, I’m a girl who knows my salt.
There was an incredible variety of chocolates, including “healthy” chocolates, complete with annoying preachy sales people to chocolate body products–slathering myself in tasty chocolate lotion was a highlight of the day. As I picked and chose through the room, I found a few favorites–and let me tell you, the tasteless “Choffy” chocolate coffee was not on that list.
Best in show, for me was handily the White Truffle Oil Caramel with Cyprus Flaked Sea Salt. Posh Chocolat overall had an excellent selection of salted caramels and were consistently good–with the exception of the bacon caramel, which just sort of made me roll my eyes. Enough already, unless your product is unbelievable, please stop helping bacon jump the shark. I still love bacon, I don’t want to have to hate it.
The most beautiful and adventurously flavored chocolates came from a Florida company called William Dean. Each chocolate was beautifully designed and intensely flavored, including a few of my favorites–Maytag bleu cheese, Passion Fruit, and one they didn’t have out for sampling, but sounded delicious–Wasabi!
Special mention has to go out to Chubby Chipmunk for their delightful little bites of ganache and buttercream or whatever it was. I picked up a “Hot Mama” and was blown away by the strong and discernible flavors of the various peppers in it. On discussing with them, one of the women said to me “Anyone who picks that one up clearly likes peppers, so we want to make sure they get that.” I smiled at the truth and thought about that–why half-ass a flavored chocolate?
Lucky for me, there was very little half assing going on here–Oh Chocolate, a local company, even had someone handmaking double chocolate truffles just as fast as you could eat them. While the event was a little crazy, I must admit, paying $20 to stuff yourself like a small child home from Halloween, seems like an extremely good deal.
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