Now that I’ve told you about my week in Atlanta with Alayna drinking cocktails, hunting for popsicles, and meeting Laura, and my two wonderful days in New York with Heidi, I can finally review the chocolate bars that these kind-so-kind ladies gave to me.
As if their company wasn’t enough; as if spending days talking, laughing, cooking and/or eating with Heidi and Alayna wasn’t a gift in and of itself. I still can’t believe they both gave me chocolate presents too.
I don’t know how I became so lucky in my friendships.
Lake Champlain Granola Five Star Chocolate Bar
When I arrived at Alayna and Jeff’s place in Atlanta, they’d made up a bed in their pre-baby (now avec-baby, squee!) nursery for me. And there, on my pillow, was this Lake Champlain Granola Five Star Chocolate Bar. It was deceptively heavy for such a wee lil nugget of a gourmet candy bar, and I must admit I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I read “almonds, oats, cranberries, and dark chocolate” on the wrapper.
Do you know what I should have expected? Unmitigated deliciousness, that’s what.
Lake Champlain’s Granola Five Star Chocolate Bar was smooth-crunchy, rich-light, dark-milky, nutty-fruity, and utterly swoon-worthy. I remain a little amazed that Lake Champlain was able to make so many strong and contrasting flavours and textures come together so cohesively, but come together cohesively this treat did. I even caught notes of maple syrup alongside the roasted almonds, sweet-tangy cranberries, and crispy oat clusters.
Alayna, thank you for making me feel so welcome, from the very beginning to the end of my stay. I wish I could repay you with babysitting… but maybe next visit, yeah?
Wild Ophelia Beef Jerky Milk Chocolate Bar
Heidi was so sneaky about buying me this chocolate. She bought it right under my nose (literally; I was even with her at the cashier), and I never once imagined she was getting it for me. You see, we were exploring the Union Square Whole Foods one afternoon when she started asking me which Wild Ophelia chocolate she should buy for her Ben. After at least five minutes of me dithering over whether the Peanut Butter and Banana, Smokehouse BBQ Potato Chips, or Beef Jerky Bar sounded most bizarre and (therefore) intriguing, I pointed to the last.
A little while later, as we were saying good-night till it be morrow, Heidi pressed the chocolate into my hand. She said it was a thank you gift for changing my travel plans to include a stop in New York to see her. I was speechless. (The lovable trickster!)
Wild Ophelia is the “sister” chocolate line to Vosges, which I’ve reviewed here a-plenty. The Beef Jerky Bar is comprised of 41% cacao and beef jerky made from Piedmontese and Angus Cattle, and it put me in mind of Vosges Mo’s Bacon Bar. The aroma was predominately sweet with just a little hint of smokiness and spice, but nothing screamed “meat!” to me.
The first bite showed a bit of grain and, yes, something chewily meaty to the texture, but the taste was initially all sweet vanilla toffee. There was a hint of salt, and something a little savoury, almost like a spicy onion seasoning, but this was very faint.
My mind kept whispering “sugary, sugary, vanilla, chocolate frosting… where’s the beef?” Then, finally, there it was: a savoury jerky flavour emerging alongside tiny chewy bits of actual jerky, not overpowering, but noticeable.
No word of a lie; this chocolate was really easy to eat and enjoy. It wasn’t in-your-face beefy, but rather a nuanced play on the current salty-sweet trend in confectionary.
Heidi, you’re a gem. Thank you for helping me get my chocolate and iron fix all in one bite. What more could a girl ask for in a friend?