Everyone may be making New Year's Resolutions, but I'm certainly not giving up on my Dr. Chocolate sessions; here's a recent few that I partook in:
Trader Joe's Caramel & Black Hawaiian Sea Salt bar
Physician Marketing: "...filled with a buttery, burnt sugar caramel & Hiwa Kai, a blend of sea salt and volcanic charcoal harvested from pristine Hawaiian tide pools. The exterior of the bar is garnished with Maldon sea salt harvested from estuaries in Great Britain. The combination of luscious dark chocolate, rich caramel and crunchy salt crystals is simply sublime."
Patient's Notes: Just like their walnut-pecan toffee bar I highlighted in a previous Dr. Chocolate post, this is thinly-veiled copycat version of Vosges' Black Salt Caramel Bar.
And the flavor combination is simply amazing! The bold dark chocolate is nice foil for the buttery-rich caramel, and it's elegant accentuated by that perfect sprinkle of salt.
The only demerit is that this bar is rather messy to eat, the caramel is runny & liquidy and the bar rarely snaps at the demarcated boundaries. Of course, this makes portion control hard since you'll be tempted to just eat the whole bar rather than deal with a sticky mess for the next sitting.
Likelihood of Rebooking an Appointment: 7/10, would be a 9 or 10 if not so gosh darn messy to eat.
Chocolove's Ginger Crystallized in Dark Chocolate
Cost of Session: $2.50 for 3.2 oz. bar
Physician Marketing: "Australian crystallized ginger in smooth Belgian 65% cocoa content dark chocolate. Upon eating, the chocolate gives way to soft sugar-coated moist chunks of ginger. The transition from chocolate to ginger on the finish leaves you feeling surprisingly stimulated and wanting more."
Patient's Notes: Anyone who's gone eating or drinking with me knows I'm a sucker for ginger, and this certainly delivers on that front -- there are plenty of this palate-pleaser throughout the whole bar. A little spicy, a little chewy and a little crunchy (from the sugar coating,) it's a delightful palate-tingler.
As for the chocolate itself, it's decent if a bit a generic -- dark enough that you taste the cacao, but not much else. It's also ever-so-slightly waxy, making it more of a chewing chocolate rather than one you simply allow to melt on your tongue. Not necessarily a bad thing, given the chewy of nature of the encapsulated ginger anyways.
Likelihood of Rebooking an Appointment: 8/10, affordable and tasty overall - only wished the chocolate was more of a "meltable on tongue" kind.
Vosges' Smoke & Stout Caramel Bar
$7.50 for a 3 oz. bar
Physician Marketing: "Rogue's Chocolate Stout + Alderwood smoked salt + burnt sugar caramel + 70% dark chocolate . . . Your senses of sight, smell, and taste will collectively surrender to the inebriating potion that spills out of this chocolate bar. Rich, dark chocolate stout and Alder wood smoked salt are combined with soft, oozing caramel and encased in deep, dark chocolate."
Patient's Notes: Reading the description, I can see so many ways this bar can go wrong (is it going to wreak of stale beer or overpowered with smoke like a BBQ gone awry?) but being a longtime Vosges addict fan, I trust them to know what they're doing. And indeed, this bar is a wonderful balance of flavors, the stout & smoke notes come in kisses & whispers, making this bar a curiously addictive one.
And while the flavor profile is overall better than the TJ caramel bar, it too suffers the problem of too-runny caramel and unreliable bar breakage. And oh yeah, it's also over three times as pricey.
Likelihood of Rebooking an Appointment: 7/10, also marked down for caramel runniness -- tempted to also demerit for pricetag, but the eccentric ingredients & combo of flavor (how often are you going to find a beery chocolate?) makes a worthwhile... if occasional... treat.