My co-worker Charlie S. gave me this bar, which he found in a local grocery store.
The inside label had a description of where this Italian company buys its chocolate.
I have had a couple of Vanini bars before, one with cacao nibs and the other with rosemary, and I liked them both. This bar was no exception. I liked the chocolate flavor paired with pear bits and natural pear flavor, with just a hint of cinnamon. Many of my co-workers thought it tasted like bananas (except one guy who thought he tasted rum), and I agree that there was a banana-like aftertaste, but it could have just been the pear flavor. All I know is that this was a really good bar, and so far Vanini is three for three.
My friend Tiff C. gave me a huge box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates!
Let’s look more closely at these beauties.
Each one is a whole hazelnut surrounded by Nutella, wrapped in a spherical wafer (how do they do that?) and covered in milk chocolate and hazelnut bits. I have had the dark chocolate version, called Ferrero Rondnoir, but I’ve never blogged the original ones. And they are good too. Really good. Like seriously addictive. I ate three in a row and made myself stop. I am taking the rest to work.
I found this bar in a small Italian grocery store in Palm Springs.
Unfortunately, the bar had bloomed a little. I took great care of it in the Palm Springs heat, and the the truffles I got from Palm Springs Fudge And Chocolate had not bloomed, so I blame the store for improper storage. In any case, wow, was it astringent! It wasn’t nearly as bitter as I expected. In fact, it was quite smooth, with a deep chocolate flavor. But it sucked every last drop of water from my mouth as I chewed it. Most of my co-workers didn’t have seconds, and it was all I could do to eat three pieces. Then I drank a lot of water.
We continued to eat our way through the chocolate that my co-worker Brian H. brought back from San Francisco.
First of all, let me say how much I *loved* the label on this bar. It is a combination of the graphics of the 1960’s and the Victorian era and modern day, all rolled into one. And the chocolate was delicious. It looked MUCH darker than 72% bars usually do, and the flavor was very rich, yet it was creamier and sweeter than you’d expect. It disappeared quickly as my co-workers came back for seconds.
It turns out that I had had this brand once before, in truffle form, in a package sent to our company for Christmas from Valve. That was just as delicious as this bar, leading me to believe that this is a very good brand.
I found another Vanini bar at CostPlus that I wanted to try.
This bar was much more popular than their rosemary bar. My co-workers were taking seconds and thirds, and for good reason! This bar was very dark tasting, much more than the 74% cacao would imply, because the cacao nibs added a rich and bitter flavor to the chocolate. And there were a lot of them, and they were yummy. I liked this bar, and one of my co-workers said it was his favorite from the last few weeks.
We tried the other Perugina bar from CostPlus World Market, to see how it compared to their orange bar.
This bar was OK, but not nearly as good as the orange one. Part of the problem was the lemon flavor, which was strong and unnatural, like Lemon Pledge furniture polish. But the other problem was there were no lemon bits in the chocolate, like the orange bits in the other bar. Instead the lemon flavor was just added to the chocolate, so it was evenly in every bite. I like it better when their are bits that burst with flavor and other parts that are just chocolate. It makes those bars more interesting, from a taste and texture perspective.
Bear in mind, this is NOT a bad bar. It’s 51% cacao, and I’d eat one if it was offered to me. But it’s not a very good bar either, and it is telling that after all my co-workers tried it and nodded and said things like “hmmm” or “not bad”, there were still three pieces left, and at the end of the day, they were still there. I wrapped them back up and put them in my emergency chocolate stash.
I have found Perugina bars at CostPlus before, but this one was new!
I was worried that this bar would taste like a Terry’s orange ball, but it did not. It was pretty good actually, with a nice deep chocolate flavor and bits of chewy orange that had a nice rich flavor themselves that paired well with the chocolate. I was surprised that the bar was only 51% cacao, as I would guess 65% or more easily. I am glad I bought the lemon version too, which I will try later this week.