Yeah, I'm not good at giving food gifts. Have you ever found the perfect gift? So perfect that you begin to consider buying a second one for yourself or just...eating the first one? Been there, done that, bought the commemorative t-shirt. Luckily for me, this wasn't a gift for anyone else. It was a gift for me from Chuao, so I was excited to get it and even more excited to eat it. If it weren't for the fact that I ignored it for six months so that I wouldn't have to destroy its colorful beauty, I'd have written about this ages ago.
The Chuao Chocopods are both ingeniously conceived and portion-controlled. They feel more substantial than bite-sized caramel truffles and come in very unique flavors. One pod is fifty calories, and I found that two satisfied me quite a lot. The box had twelve pieces and three of each flavor and the entire presentation was clean, cute, and succinct. I loved the photos of cacao pods on the outside to represent the shape and inspiration of the candies. And the flavors really intrigued me. I liked that there was a unifying factor- chocolate with a caramel filling- to each of the pods, but that each was flavored differently. It just made it a little more exciting than a box of truffles.
The first flavor we tried was Picante, a combination of chipotle and cabernet sauvignon. Because cab can be a little fruit bomb-y if it's Californian, (and since Chuao is a California-based company I'm quite sure it was) it was pleasant to have a flavor that combined both its fruit-forward nature as well as implement a little heat and smokiness. Combined with the sticky, ooey-gooiness of the caramel, it carried a host of flavors mimicking a California cab but with a little more dessertiness to it. Very pleasant and evocative of some of my favorite characteristics of cab sauvignon.
Passion fruit followed this one. At first, I was like, "ew, this tastes like Brie cheese and old fruit." But then I was like, "Wait a sec, this actually tastes like passionfruit." So I guess I'm not crazy about passionfruit but appreciated the congruence between the dark chocolate in this and the fruit caramel. I'm not sure if this was accentuated by the caramel or not, but I ended up enjoying it more after a few bites. Very grape-heavy and floral.
The next caramel was a flavor combination I've seen before- strawberry and balsamic, but hadn't sampled in caramel form. There was a wonderful tanginess to this and a subtle fruit flavor. I liked that the vinegar was front and center as opposed to lingering in the background. A balanced and complex piece of candy.
The last flavor was our unanimous favorite- even for Miss Love, who doesn't like banana. Banana caramel with brown sugar lent a silky, salty flavor, like compact bananas foster, to the chocolate, even overpowering some of the darker flavors in the chocolate. This was best eaten a little warm, as the caramel oozed out. Perfectly balanced.
I'd get these again...and I might even share them, too.
Labels: 9, candy, chocolate, dessert, snack