I love chocolate. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard many people say that before. Especially women; I mean, a prerequisite of being a woman is liking chocolate. It doesn’t even have to be every type of chocolate, but at least one of the varieties. I’ve only met one person (in the world) who doesn’t like chocolate — they shall remain nameless for their own protection.
Anyway, back to the point!
Chocolate is wonderful. So is Whole Foods. And so is tasting LOTS of different types/forms of chocolate. “So, what does all of this mean?”, you ask. It means that Chocolate Fest is coming to the Whole Foods Andover this Friday, February 8th from 5:00 — 7:00 p.m. and you should absolutely add it to your calendar. You can find your favorite chocolate, and pick up a few items or ideas for that nice dinner you plan on making your lovah on Valentine’s Day (feel free to take that as an aggressive hint, Colin).
The lovely folks at Whole Foods gave me a bunch of chocolate to try out. It was tough (not!), but somehow I got through it. Thanks again y’all!
Here’s what I got to taste:
1.Taza Chocolate — I tried their Coco Besos Coconut Kisses bar which is 70% stone ground dark chocolate with coconut. I liked all of the chocolate I tried, but this was my favorite! I am such a sucker for dark chocolate AND coconut, so if you put the two together, fuggedaboutit. It’s organic, Direct Trade certified, gluten-free, dairy free, soy free, and locally made in Somerville MA. (Facebook, Twitter)
2. Cissé Trading Co. — I tried their Signature Semisweet Hot Cocoa which was awesome. Definitely not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill hot cocoa. It’s made with Fair Trade cocoa powder, and a mix of milk and dark chocolate chips. So worth it. (Facebook, Twitter)
3. Raaka Chocolate – I tried three of these quirky, delicious virgin chocolate bars; the Bourbon Cask Aged bar, the Vanilla Rooibos bar, and the Black Coffee bar. The Black Coffee bar was my favorite, because I am a coffee addict and cannot help myself. All three were bursting with flavors, and that’s what I really liked about these in particular. The bourbon had some caramel going on in there, the vanilla included a delightful hint of cherry and marshmallow, and then the coffee bar offered a toffee/cinnamon kick. Raaka chocolate is vegan, organic, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, and are also wrapped up like little gifts, which really works for me. (Facebook, Twitter)
4. Bixby and Co. — I tried their Heart’s Delight Chocolate Bar which consists of dark chocolate with almonds, strawberries, and Ceylon cinnamon, as well as their Mulligan Chocolate Bar which consists of organic milk chocolate with walnuts, dried currants, and Vietnamese cinnamon. They are different — I personally liked the addition of the nuts in these two. These bars are vegan, organic, gluten-free, and Rainforest Alliance Certified. (Facebook, Twitter)
5. Vosges Haut-Chocolat — Ok, hold on to your hats for these two. I tried Vosges’ Mo’s Milk Bar first. AMAZING. This one consists of 45% deep milk chocolate, hickory smoked uncured bacon, and Alderwood smoked salt. I meant, are you kidding? The salty, sweet combo does not (!) disappoint here. I also tried their Smoke and Stout Caramel Bar which consists of 70% dark chocolate, Rogue Ale’s Chocolate Stout beer, Alderwood smoked salt, and burnt sugar caramel. This was great. Katrina (Vosges founder) must have a really good idea about what makes men happy (you go girl). Chocolate + bacon = a happy man. Chocolate + beer = a very happy man. I could add another component into these equations that would = an elated man, but I will leave that to your imagination. Anyway, these might be a good choice for Valentine’s Day this year, ladies. (Facebook, Twitter)
6. Divine Chocolate — I tried their White Chocolate and Strawberry Hearts. They were, quite literally, divine. Not only were these pretty little hearts really tasty, they are also made with cocoa beans from Kuapa Kokoo — a co-operative of farmers in Ghana. When you buy this chocolate, these farmers get both a fair deal as well as a chance for a better future. A cause that’s definitely worth those chocolate calories, if you ask me. (Facebook, Twitter)
Happy Chocolate Fest, and happy early Valentine’s Day!