Yesterday was a day of ups and downs. To wit:
Up: Glorious sunshine, blue skies, crisp air, autumn beauty, walking in and out of dappled brightness along streets lined with excited children awaiting the Santa Clause Parade.
Down: No rush tickets available for The National Ballet’s Alice in Wonderland.
Up: Finding two perfectly-fitting pairs of pants/jeans in the first store I entered. (I have a one-trip-to-the-fitting-room-this-better-work-out tolerance level when it comes to clothes shopping.)
Down: Losing my balance and cracking my hand against the stool in the changeroom whilst trying to pull off the second pair of skinny jeans in aforementioned store. Bleeding.
Up: Laughing with Lisa over our hitting-too-close-to-home-yet-hilarious-for-that-very-reason repartee until we have tears in our eyes and I topple off the couch then under the coffee table to escape the giggle-induced-inability-to-breathe situation/words.
Down: Not being able to share with you the particular lines that set us off. What’s said in Toronto, stays in Toronto.
Up: Madly trying to write up the dozens of chocolate reviews I still have to post so that I can buy more deliciousness.
Down: No downs when it comes to chocolate. All is well.
Madécasse Chocolate 63% Sea Salt and Nibs
Madécasse is a brilliant American bean-to-bar company created by two men who, after working in the Peace Corps in Madagascar, wanted to find a way to go beyond fairtrade to work directly with, and help create sustainable work and lives for, cocoa bean farmers and their communities.
I actually met one of the founders of Madécasse back in 2010 in a New York Whole Foods store, and I’ve always regretted not staying in touch with him. After all, I’m all for making the world a sparklier place through equality, fairness, and chocolate.
Madécasse Chocolate’s 63% dark chocolate with sea salt and cacao nibs had a unique aroma shimmering with notes of lemonade, apple, fruity pineapple, and ocean sea spray (seriously). The bite was supremely crisp, with a strong crunch coming from the nibs on the bar’s underside. The strongest flavour notes were toffee and caramel, with the nibs contributing a tangy twist at the end of each bite. The salt zinging through the rich molten-chocolate-fondant-esque 63% blend made me feel like I was standing on the beach, looking into a rock pool, salty air on my lips.
This is quite a tangy chocolate, with lemon, red currant, lime, and salt creating nuance against the strong (yet not bitter) tones of the chocolate. Intense and lovely.
Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Nibs
You might recognise these Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Nibs from the pillow of my Laura Ingalls Wilder attic room in Carmel Valley (and the bowl, below, from my escape to Austin several weeks later). I adore both dark chocolate and cocoa nibs, so this gift was all but guaranteed to be a winner.
Readers, these nibs were a winner. Crunchy smoky nibs coated in rich 65% dark chocolate, the flavour was like taking a spoonful of just-baked brownies straight from the pan, the texture a combination of crunch and silkiness. There were notes of vanilla and liqueur, with woodsiness coming from the nibs. If only Trader Joe’s existed in Canada.