Starting off with a belated Valentine's Day post: I was up in New York this weekend, and while wandering through Chelsea Market, I got to sample some really fantastic chocolate!
The first was Raw Shakti Chocolate, a bean-to-bar company based in Asheville, North Carolina that is all organic, raw, stoneground cacao. I tried Loco for Coco and Himalayan High, both of which are 70% cacao and absolutely wonderful if you're a dark chocolate fan!
Loco for Coco is topped with Hawaiian Black Lava Salt and coconut; Himalayan High was a mix of goji berries and ashwaganda root (neither flavor of which I'm familiar with) but also had lovely undertones from ginger, coconut and vanilla bean. Both do veer more towards the bitter end of the chocolate spectrum, but have excellent flavor, and I would definitely recommend them.
The second purchase I made was a Dolfin sampler. Not quite as eco-friendly as the Shakti chocolate, but I couldn't resist flavors like "red pepper" or "Earl Gray tea." Overall, I think the only downside to the sampler is that the flavors are very subtle--some, like the ginger or the lemon were noticable on their own, but I found the other flavors to be extremely quiet, unless you had a neutral chocolate to contrast with (luckily there are some regular dark chocolates and two milk chocolates to do just that). They were still all quite tasty, though!
I also thought they were awfully inspiring--Earl Gray Tea Ganache, anyone? Chai Tea white chocolate ganache? I've been on a bit of a tea kick recently, probably due to a presistant cold that's required a great deal of lemon tea and honey to keep at bay. I was browsing through The Flavor Bible (which is fantastic, and will get it's own review at one point) and noticed that chammomile seems to go with an awful lot...
Spring break is on the horizon, and I'm seeing an awful lot of opportunities for creative cooking. (Including some chammomile cookies!)