Fran’s Assorted Truffles

Last but not least, I tried a truffle from the Valve Christmas package.

The truffle I picked was dark chocolate covering a dark chocolate ganache, sprinkled with roasted hazelnuts. Yum! So good. I wanted another one immediately, but I wanted my co-workers to try them too, so I was good.

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Fran’s Almonds in Dark Chocolate

I love dark chocolate and I love almonds, so I had to try these!

These were really good and quite different too! Most almonds are covered in milk chocolate (although Trader Joe’s and others make good dark chocolate almonds), but these were covered in dark chocolate and dusted with cocoa as well. And the other surprise was that the almonds inside were coated with a savory salt mixture, reminding me of Blue Diamond Smokehouse almonds. I mean, those things are great on their own, but covered in good dark chocolate?! Wow! These were awesome!

Fran’s Gray Salt Thins

This year I reached the Valve Christmas package to Obsidian early enough to sample a few wares.

I have had Fran’s chocolate before, so I expected these to be good. And they were. But the salt was so generously applied that instead of amplifying the chocolate flavor, it drowned out any such notes. I was a little disappointed they would ruin such a nice chocolate with so much salt.

Trader Joe’s Chocolate Peppermint Almond Beverage

I saw this product on Become Betty, but it wasn’t stocked by the time I read about it. This year, it has come back for the holidays, and I found it at my local Trader Joe’s.

I like almond milk and I like chocolate, so I knew I was going to like this (and I did). But I was pleasantly surprised by two things. First, look how dark it is!

I shook the carton well, and then I poured this dark brown glass of almond milk. That looks delicious!

And second, the peppermint flavor is very light. Very very light. It’s there, you won’t miss it, but it is barely there. You are not drinking a candy cane. You can taste the chocolate flavor predominantly, and even some of the almond flavor. The peppermint flavor comes in lightly as you finish a sip. I liked that.

I don’t know if I would want this every week, but I think I might buy some of this every year, as a celebration of Christmas and chocolate.

Lovesome French Lavender Dark Chocolate Bark

My co-worker Kylan brought in this tin of dark chocolate bark that he bought in Long Beach from a small new chocolatier, Lovesome Chocolates.

The tin opened onto many pieces of dark chocolate, all sprinkled with lavender powder.

Now, lavender in chocolate can go one of two ways. It can absolutely wonderful, like the refreshing Dolfin Lavender Bar, or it can be horrible, as in the abhorrently antiseptic Dagoba Lavender Blueberry bar. This bark was amazingly good! It was very thin, but incredibly rich with deep chocolate flavor. It tasted far richer than 65% cacao! And the lavender flavor was so slight that I missed it in my first two pieces, and only barely tasted it in my third. Still, I think this is a wonderful new chocolatier, and I want to try more of their offerings.

Thanks Kylan!

Trader Joe’s Extraordinary Bark Of The Finest Collection

I found this very large bar at Trader Joe’s.

Inside was a thick slab of dark chocolate, covered in lots of bits and pieces of other products that Trader Joe’s sells: peanut butter cups, pretzels, popcorn, almonds and, even though they were unlisted, Joe Joe’s cookies (Trader Joe’s take on Oreo’s).

It kind of reminded me of a Fazer Joulusuklaa bar, in that it had lots of other things sprinkled on it. But guess what? This thing was delicious! The chocolate was very dark and deeply flavored, and the almonds, pretzels and popcorn provided a nice salty crunch. The peanut butter cups and cookies added crunch but unnecessary sweetness, so I didn’t like them as much. But still, overall, this was a great bar, and it provided my chocolate eating meeting group was lots of big pieces.