My world briefly shuddered on its axis today. For a few hours, I seriously considered trading in my chocolate habit. I thought that perhaps one does not really need super dark or intriguingly flavoured chocolate to create daily sparkles of happiness, but simply regular hour-long massages at spa salons.
And cucumber water. Oh, the cucumber water.
Luckily for you (and, realistically, my bank account), I came to my senses once Asheville’s freezing air had cleared my mind of “Alive” essential oils. Thus, I present to you:
Chocolove Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate
Chocolove‘s chocolates tend to slot into the part of my mental comestibles catalogue entitled “pleasant, but not necessarily worth hunting for”. I do enjoy the Chillies and Cherries in Dark Chocolate and think the Extra Strong Dark 77% is lovely and smooth, but for some reason I’ve started passing over Chocolove when I’m wandering around a store’s chocolate aisle.
All this changed, though, when I chanced upon Chocolove’s new Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate bar, which is in fact so new that it is not yet listed on the website. Despite being only 55%, and therefore a far sweeter chocolate base than I’d usually pick, I adore this chocolate.
The chocolate is sweet, yes, but it is also rich, silky, and slightly woodsy. The almonds are whole and incredibly crispy from being roasted, and in each of the two bars I ate (take note – I rarely buy the same chocolate twice when travelling), never once did I come across a stale or bad nut. Ooh, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory flashback.
The salt seems predominantly attached to the almonds, yet as the almonds are so plentiful it is rare to get a bite without a salt crystal lending its special contrasting magic to the experience. The salt contributes to the bar’s aroma of chocolatey butter-caramel popcorn (yep, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it), and does its enhancing trick of making the chocolate seem richer, chocolatier and deeper, and the almonds nuttier and butterier. You know how most dessert recipes recommend adding a pinch of salt? That’s because salt is magical in sweets. Kind of like how The Ballad of Czolgosz is magical when it comes in at the end of the Gun Song in Assassins, or how Jack’s mother line “the slotted spoon can catch the potato” is magical as the first line in the Finale of Into the Woods. (Sondheim mood, anyone?)
Anyway, to get back to the topic at hand, Chocolove’s Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate bar filled me with the aforementioned sparkly happiness, and caused my tasting notes to be filled with words such as “fantastical” and “salty buttery heaven yum”.
Which, despite my brief infatuation, is more than I can say for iced cucumber water.
(In all honesty, though, I can highly recommend Spa Theology on College Street in Asheville. A chocolate when you change into your robe, heated toilet seats [flashback to Japan!], raspberry iced tea and roasted nuts when you sit in the lounge afterwards with a heatpack around your neck – lovely. And if you get a massage, ask for Ben.)