Tasting Room: An Ode to Summer

Hello fellow chocolate lovers! Marie here! 

Can you believe the summer is almost over? I can't at all.

Soon enough we will start packing away our short-sleeved shirts and shorts, buying school books and supplies, and drinking hot coffee and tea again. As much as I love the fall, I must say my farewells to the beautiful summer it's been.

And let's face it, the best way I know how to say thank you is through chocolate. Therefore we at the Gourmet Boutique created a Tasting Room theme filled with the best summery ingredients: juicy summer fruits, beautiful flowers, and delicious ice cream.

First up: Wild Ophelia's Southern Hibiscus Peach Bar

Background: Wild Ophelia, sister company to the every so explorative Vosges, is taking a new twist on chocolate. This Wild Ophelia, native to the good U.S. of A., wishes to explore the comforting All-American tastes of countryside. Adding in ingredients of local companies from all over the nation to her delicious chocolate, she transports us to the Wild West or to the Bright Mardi Gras Lights of New Orleans.

Sight: This bar is milky brown in color and segmented into thin small squares. Each square is decorated with an imprint of this wild women with messy hair but fierce eyes, foreshadowing the intense flavors to come.

Smell: It has a sweet aroma of fresh peaches and creamy milk chocolate reminding me of the summer, the only time of year with ripe peaches.

Touch: As soon as you put a pice in your mouth, it melts instantly. A smooth and creamy coat covers your mouth and slowly bursts with flavor.

Taste: As the chocolate melts, you get a very sweet peach taste added to the milky chocolatey taste. The light and citrusy notes of Hibiscus highlight the delicious summer peach flavor.

Afternotes: The peachy notes fade away and you are left with a delicious hibiscus chocolate after taste. It reminds me of tea mixed with chocolate. Simply Delicious.

Sixth Sense: This bar reminds me of my many memories I have from when I was still a pre-teen living in Virginia, sitting out on my back-yard porch with my best friend in the summer time. Almost every day we would grab a glass of peach sweet tea and chocolate cookies and sit in the summer heat waiting for a cool breeze, discussing our summer crushes . It gives me a comforting feeling  just a hug from my best friend would.

Next: Andrea Stainer's Viola Bar

Background: Andrea Stainer is a chocolate company from the Tuscan Region of Italy. They discover  and experiment with fascinating combinations in their laboratories in hope of finding perfect harmony of flavors.

Sight: The bar is deep brown in color and is broken up into thick pillows that give off a bit of a sheen, which draws you in to take a bite.

Smell: It has a strong and deep cacao smell with a hint of a floral aroma. Very subtle, definitely not overwhelming.

Touch: The chocolate breaks evenly with each bite. It slowly melts in your mouth. With each bit of the bar melting, more and more flavors are released and radiate from the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth.

Taste: As you initially bite into the bar, you get a whiff of the violet's floral notes, but it fades quickly into the deep dark chocolate taste. This bitter yet sweet flavor lasts until the bar is completely melted on your tongue.

Afternotes: A burst of the floral violet notes linger for hours after your first bite. Completely washing away the deep chocolate taste you receive initially.

Sixth Sense: This bar transports me to the beautiful gardens of the Boston Commons in the early summertime. I visit here often during lunch breaks or weekends just to sit on a park bench and clear my head. The air swirls of different floral smells which almost cleanses my mind of negative thoughts. Weird side-effect from flowers, I know...But with every bite of this bar, the world seems a little cheerier.

And Finally: Askinosie's Malted Milk Bar

Background: The Askinosie chocolate company started when Shawn Askinosie decided the life of law and criminal justice was not for him and moved to the kitchen, creating and crafting different flavor combinations by collaBARating with local companies around him. This bar uses the malted milk product of Jeni's Ice Cream Co.

Sight: Another deep dark chocolate color which is broken up into little squares. Each square has a letter on it spelling out the brand name Askinosie. A fun little game I like to play with this brand is to guess what the chocolate will taste like using only adjectives starting with the letter on your square. So I picked up a square with the letter A: absolutely amazing, artisan, aromatic, artistic,  and AWESOME!

Smell: You smell the deep dark chocolate that you can't wait to taste in just moments. It almost has an bitter aroma from the deep 60% cacao used in the chocolate.

Touch: This bar breaks evenly with each bite, but melts so slowly. To really enjoy the flavors, you must break up the bar into little pieces in your mouth.

Taste: With a few bites, the malted milk bursts, filling up your mouth with a sweet tastes that hints at subtle strawberry notes. There is a strong taste of vanilla which contrasts nicely to the deep dark chocolate.

Afternotes: As the sweetness of the malted milk subsides, you are left with a delicious dark chocolate taste.

Sixth Sense: Again, I am transported back to my youth living in Virginia. This bar brings back a particular memory of my grandmother. Once, after picking up my brother and I from the dentist, my grandmother decided to take us to Carl's Ice Cream Shack (no wonder they found 2 new cavities at my next appointment). She bought me my first malted milk-shake. After I tried the swirls of milk chocolate and vanilla in this cool drink, I was hooked.

As much as I will miss the warmth, smells, and tastes of summer, I know that I can always transport myself back through these chocolates any time of the year.

If you'd like to create your own ode to summer through chocolate, or another theme of chocolate, Please visit our Tasting Room page for helpful tips and suggestions.

Well, as the summer is not over yet, I hope you end it with lots of warmth, love, and chocolate! Ta Ta for Now!

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