Being a food blogger definitely has its perks, like when a gourmet chocolatier offers to send samples of her chocolate for a blog review.
I saw a tweet from Valerie from Vianne Chocolat and a few emails later, we were scheduled to meet so that I could try her handmade chocolates.
Valerie met me at my office building to drop the chocolate off with her adorable daughter. It was so nice to meet the person behind the incredible chocolate I was about to taste.
I employed discipline from deep within, and I didn’t even open the bag until I was home with my camera several hours later. I also carried a whole dozen Mix Bakery cupcakes on my 3 mile walk. I’m good.
At first, I was afraid to even touch the chocolates as they were decorated with beautiful detail and precision. The variety that Valerie gave me to sample included raspberry truffles, a rose scented dark chocolate dove, a burnt caramel cup, lavender, raspberry Chambord, and mint.
I had a fun time photographing the chocolates as they are truly little pieces of art. As an impatient person, I can’t imagine the work that goes into making them so pretty.
But we all know that the most important part of chocolate is its taste. How did these rate?
We started with the lavender. It provided the perfect blend of fragrant lavender and creamy, rich chocolate center. I am usually afraid that floral flavors might be perfume-y, but this was just the tiniest hint of lavender, balanced by chocolate.
In a similar way, the rose scented chocolate dove provided a hint of rose petal paired with deep, dark chocolate. The floral flavor was so subtle that it just enhanced all of the chocolate goodness.
The raspberry Chambord was one of my favorites. The center was as creamy as the lavender, but it was also light and fluffy and provided a sweet hint of raspberry liqueur.
My favorite of the chocolates that I have tried so far (and I have a few more to go!), was the burnt caramel cup, as I expected. First of all, it is so pretty to look at, dressed in heavy gold foil. I actually cut into it with a knife because I was sharing the tasting with the mister, and dark, burnt caramel oozed out. We mopped it up with bits of deep, dark chocolate, and I savored each drop of its creme brulee-like perfection. The caramel was brought to the edge, that point where it is burnt but not too much. I love that roasted dark flavor. The finish offered hints of good, black coffee. Amazingness.
As I mentioned above, I have not made it through all of the Vianne Chocolat samples that I received. They are such high quality, richly flavored little gems that I want to savor them over a couple of days. I promise I will be reviewing each piece.
I can already see myself ordering these chocolates for a special occasion. Valerie seemed like such a lovely person, and there is such craft in these chocolates that I can not wait to try more. What makes the chocolate even better is that Valerie sources fresh cream and butter from New England dairies and also locally sources herbs, spices, fresh fruits, and other ingredients whenever possible. Talk about a win/win for everyone!
If you want more information or just to ogle photos of beautiful chocolate, definitely visit her site.
I will be back from the Cape later today, but I hope you all have a fantastic Monday!