(From left, Basil-Smoked Sea Salt Olive Oil; Ginger Baby; missing from photo: tequila and wine chocolates.)My P.I.C. came over last week with a surprise for me: a box of truffles from Christopher Norman Chocolates. Her hubby works near there and gets his coffee there everyday, so when she recently when into the city for a visit, she brought me back some goodies. Yay!
There were four chocolates in the box: some sort of red wine/dark chocolate; ginger; tequila; and Basil-Smoked Sea Salt-Olive Oil. Ready? Okay, here we go. First off, she bought the tequila just to torment me. It's the one alcohol I cannot have. I can't smell it, definitely can't drink it, all due to one bad night in college. She insisted, however, that I would be able to handle this. Sadly, I must report that I couldn't. I had Mr. Goodbar take a nibble and then I smelled it. I couldn't do it. He said it was very good, so if you're a tequila aficionado, go for it! If, however, tequila causes you to hallucinate and give you the shakes, I'd say you might want to try something else. Like the wine chocolate. Now that was tasty. Very smooth dark ganache with a nice red wine kick. That was definitely more my speed.
The ginger was very tasty and very pretty.
And now, the last piece. Visually, it was lovely. And I dig basil and olive oil. But with chocolate? I had my doubts, but also tried to keep an open mind.
I bit off half and gave the other half to Mr. Goodbar. Usually I will love something and he'll hate it, and vice versa. This was one of the very few times we actually agreed on something. It was a serious fail.
I hate to say bad stuff about any chocolate, and especially artisan chocolate, because it's the result of someone's passion. But holy cannoli-- basil, olive oil and chocolate do not marry well. To be completely honest, I actually spit it out. Yes, I spit out a piece of chocolate. Why, why, why do confectioners feel the need to push the envelope all the time? This is a serious question. Bacon, chili powder, lavender ... do we really need to add these things to chocolate? Do they really enhance the already perfect taste of chocolate? Why must everything be over the top? I'm ready for the backlash against all this fancy-pants alchemy. Bring back the simple stuff. Pure chocolate. Basic flavorings like vanilla and caramel. Plain nuts, not curry-dusted or Dead Sea-salted. Am I being too naive? Am I showing myself to be a chocolate hillbilly? Perhaps, but I don't care. Save the basil for pesto with pasta. I want my chocolate straight up.