July 27, 2010

Recipe: Chocolate-Chambord Sorbet

Recipe time! I see a lot of recipes flow through my inbox, but tonight's recipe just seemed like such a great thing given the heat of the season (and it has been yucky hot). The recipe du jour is for a Chocolate-Chambord Sorbet. That'll help you beat the heat. Well, it'll help ME beat the heat. At least once I get an ice cream maker. It does require one. But I've been dying to get the ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchenaid stand mixer, so this could be just be the excuse I need.

Anyway, if you direct your browser toward the Grand Forks Herald you'll fine where Chef Jeff shares this piece of love alternate link at the Sun Sentinel to avoid some paywallage. I have a feeling that I might be making some of this in the near future. Not sure I have Chambord, though. I might need to try it with Grand Marnier instead. Which sounds just lovely to me.

September 25, 2008

Review: Dogfish Head Theobroma

Being caught off-guard and left at something of a loss isn't too out of the ordinary for me. And I tend to end up in such a state most often at those times when I really am certain that I know just what is what. Tonight I again find myself in such a state because I thought I had a good idea what the subject of tonight's post had in store for me. But tonight's subject is a beer from Dogfish Head. They take what I like to consider a "left field" approach to beer a lot of the time. They say the make "Off centered ales for off centered people" which might explain why I'm always interested in what they've got brewing (of my five desert island beers I would place two Dogfish ales - the 90 Minute IPA and the Palo Santo Marron - in their ranks - as a side note the Palo Santo goes amazingly well with dark chocolate). What they've had brewing lately is called, fittingly enough, Theobroma (as in theobroma cacao - the cacao from which our favorite food comes).

Theobroma is based, at it's heart, on history and chemistry. The brew is based on the chemical analysis of bits of pottery from over 3000 years ago and is a direct tie to the first known use of cacao for human consumption (good lord, what else would you use it for?!). Interestingly it was an alcoholic cacao beverage. It would seem the obvious course of action would be to take this bit of chemical magic and make a modern interpretation of it. And that is just what the lovely people at Dogfish Head have done albeit with a little Aztec and Maya twist or two along the way (the most interesting departure - as I understand it - is that the meat of the pod was used long before the seeds were, but the beer is based on the seeds assumingly because that is what we think of as chocolate). The beer is brewed with honey, annatto (a spicy seed), ancho chile, and nibs and cocoa from Askinoise (who I will go into in more depth soon - they have been on my radar for a while now and it's getting to be time I address them). And it's nothing like what I was expecting.

I came into this having never seen chocolate used in anything but porters and stouts. So I expected a dark beer with a nice deep roasty flavor and tons of toasty chocolate mixed in. And was I ever wrong. Theobroma pours a beautiful copper with a good head and nice lace. And while there are hints of cocoa about the aroma there is more of an interplay of honey and spice going on to my nose (not that I'm a beer expert or anything, I'm just a beer explorer). And the taste is really very much an ale. There's more yeast at play than I expected, limited hops, a good bit of the honey, and a nice helping of the spice as it develops. And there is a definite hint of cocoa running through it, more prominent in the beginning so it sort of recedes from the chocolate to the spices. It is not at all what I was expecting, but Dogfish Head have a way of doing the unexpected (in my experience this ranks up there with Raison D'Extra - which I blind tried - for unexpected). The magic of Dogfish is that even when they defy expectations they manage to deliver something that is unarguably good if entirely unusual and unexpected.

So I am ill-prepared to review something like this, but feel some sort of duty to give it a try. It's good. It's different. If you're expecting tons of in your face chocolate flavor then you're bound to be surprised, but if you're like me you hopefully won't be disappointed. If you don't dig craft beers then you're probably better off sticking with more traditional fare. But the deal is I'm into craft beer. Not as much as I am chocolate, but I love good beer. And some of them can be very left field in nature. This one? VERY left field. But it's good. I can't argue with it, no matter how surprised I am by it. From my perspective this is a good 8 out of 10, but I'm one of those rare birds that dig chocolate and craft beer both. If you're a chocolate person with little interest in craft beer I hate to say it, but you're better off keeping clear. The Silver Bullet this is NOT. It's an "off-centered ale" that connects with this blog's "off-centered" author. It ain't for everybody, but if you're of the peculiar mindset that digs on both chocolate and craft beer you may be in for a tasty surprise.

November 26, 2006

Review: Baileys Mint Chocolate Irish Cream

Earlier this year Baileys launched a pair of limited edition versions of their lovely Irish Cream liqueur: Caramel and Mint Chocolate. Since then I’ve seen the bottles in the store again and again and have sort of been waiting for them to go on clearance before giving them a try. Well, yesterday I was really in the mood for a little Baileys and I haven’t had any around the apartment for a few months so I wandered back to the boozahol section of the store and grabbed a bottle. Actually, I grabbed the wrong bottle. I had picked up a bottle of Mint Chocolate Baileys instead of the normal variety. I came really close to putting it back, but for some reason it just sounded really good right about then (possibly because I had just left the ice cream aisle where the mint chocolate chip had been trying to seduce me).

When it came time to try it I decided to go the direct route. I threw some ice in a rocks glass, poured in a healthy unmeasured quantity of liqueur, and topped it off with a splash of milk. Appearance wise it looks like normal Baileys but when you take a whiff you notice that there is a hint of mint to the aroma. Taste wise I’m not finding a ton of chocolate in the flavor, but there is definitely a nice subtle undercurrent of mint present. It’s quite good and I can see it being right at home in some form of chocolate martini. I’m not sure how exactly to assign a score to alcohol for the most part so I’ll say that if you like Baileys then you should enjoy this. It’s yummy stuff.

February 18, 2006

Review: Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock

Today I'm taking a little step out of my normal role and doing a little semi-review of a product that is only slightly chocolate in nature. The product in question is Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock beer. Samuel Adams comes out with a lot of seasonal varieties in addition to their normal beers but this is an even rarer breed - it is from their special "Extreme Beer" line, which is really all about pushing the boundaries of beer. Special stuff and usually quite limited edition in nature.

Normally I might skip an item like this. I almost did. But, out of curiosity, I took a look at the little tag that hung around the bottle's neck. I don't remember any other words from the label but "Scharffen Berger" and, really, seeing one of the best chocolate makers in the world teamed up with an excellent brewer I had to take a bottle home with me, no matter how expensive it was (and it was really expensive - $12.99 and that was on sale). The beer is brewed in the normal Sam Adams fashion and then aged over a bed of nibs from Ghana that were specially selected for the beer by Scharffen Berger. From the description on the Samuel Adams site:

    The chocolatiers at Scharffen Berger crafted an exclusive blend of chocolate for Samuel Adams® made with cocoa beans from Ghana called forastero. Samuel Adams® Chocolate Bock was aged on a bed of this chocolate to create its unique layers of flavor. As the beer matured, the fruity, tart, earthy and chocolate aromas were infused into the liquid to give the brew a complex, full-bodied taste with a velvety finish. A hint of vanilla was added to meld the symphony of flavors together.

First thing to note: the bottle looks really cool. The beer itself is very dark in appearance with very little head. The taste is dark but not super-strong or overly bitter. Very smooth with a light and not unpleasant aftertaste. Don't expect a massive explosion of chocolate flavor from it, though. This is a beer and the chocolate is there in the flavor but it's a lot like how you can taste different flavors in a chocolate based on where it was grown. There is a definite chocolate note there and it's nice, but the chocolate is just along for the ride. This is a beer. I have to say right now that I don't like beer very much. I am extremely picky about beer and drink it rarely. If I am drinking it then it's usually Guinness and the first glass goes down with a bit of a grimace. I need at least one beer to warm up to the taste. This was different. I warmed up to the taste on the first sip. Don't know why but that's just the way it is. I really like this beer.

Of course it would be a sin if I weren't to try this with some chocolate. If I'm drinking a chocolate beer then why not see how a little chocolate goes down with it? Since they use a special bean blend that isn't the Scharffen Berger norm I didn't worry too much about what brand of chocolate I was going to use. Since it was lurking in my pantry (saving it for a special occasion - this rates I think) and was a nice mid-point in terms of cocoa mass I went with a little of the Chocolove Chocolatour Grenada: a 60% cocoa single origin dark chocolate. I wanted something dark but somewhat sweet and this fits the bill nicely (I'll get a review up eventually). The beer is still very nice with the chocolate and the chocolate is very nice with the beer. If I'm going to sit around drinking expensive beer and good chocolate then these two are a good combo. I won't say that the two of them together are greater than the sum of their parts, but the sum of their parts is pretty high.

So, I'm not really in the business of reviewing beer. It isn't my thing and I don't know much about it. So, speaking out of ignorance and a very limited taste range (I like the darker coffee like beers) I'll give this a good 8.75 out of 10. It's darn good for a beer. If you consider the price then it's really more of a 6 or so. It is far from cheap.

January 18, 2006

Chocolate Booze and D is For Death By Chocolate

BAILEYS.jpgThis may all be old news to some but there are some interesting and relatively new products from a couple of big names that I have just now become aware of and figured they deserved reporting on.

First off we have Godiva Cappuccino Liqueur. This new variety joins the original Godiva Liqueur and the Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur and offers some interesting new options for drink mixing. I've never partaken of their liqueurs before but this one sounds pretty tasty. They even have a few recipes making use of it up on their site.

Next up we have two new limited edition offerings from one of the companies I love: Baileys. For a while now they have been offering Caramel and Mint Chocolate Irish Cream in the Arizona market and starting in March they will be sharing the love nationwide as part of a Saint Patrick's Day promotion. I'm not entirely sure about the mint chocolate variety, but the caramel one really sounds good. I already have a couple of ideas for what to do with it.

So, continuing with Slashfood D-Day I figure I will share one of those little ideas with you in the form of an old recipe (starting with the letter D of course) with a new twist in the form of a little Caramel Baileys. Other options would be to use the Mint Chocolate Baileys or to use Godiva Cappuccino instead of the creme de cacao. Anyway...

D is for Death by Chocolate (Revised)
1/2 oz Brown Creme de Cacao
1/2 oz vodka
1 oz Baileys Caramel Irish Cream
1 Scoop Chocolate Ice Cream

Combine in a blender with a cup of crushed ice. Blend well and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings or a little cocoa powder. If using the Mint Chocolate Baileys then a sprig of mint would make a cute garnish as well.

December 23, 2005

Choctail Recipes

News.jpgPRNewswire has up a post with recipes for 10 different chocolate cocktails - or "choctails" as they call them - and they sound nice. They go relatively light on the alcohol focusing instead on the milk but the flavor combinations are nice. In fact, looking over the recipes I actually found two that I make for myself - the Irish Cream and Seattle Spiked Mocha. As I love those two recipes I'm apt to give a few more of these a try.

December 9, 2005

Review: Irish Coffee Truffle Bar from Butlers Irish

Today we at last unwrapped the bundle of joy that is the Butler's Irish Coffee Truffle Bar from the good people at Butler's Irish Handmade Chocolates. The bar is made with real Jameson Irish whiskey, a product near and dear to my heart, and sounds absolutely lovely. Chocolate. Coffee. Irish Cream made with Jameson Whiskey.
I consider it my sacred duty to review this product.

Continue reading "Review: Irish Coffee Truffle Bar from Butlers Irish" »

November 29, 2005

Recipe: Dolce Torinese

recipes.jpgBella Online have posted a new recipe on their site for a Dolce Torinese (chocolate terrine). Ok, the name may not have clicked for me right away but when I saw the words "rum-soaked chocolate terrine" I was sold. The sixteen tablespoons of butter (2 sticks) don't even give me pause given everything else this recipe is offering. One more recipe to add to the ever-growing list of things I need to try. It sounds absolutely sinful, but in a good way.

November 15, 2005

Chocolate Booze In the News

The Lansing State Journal have put up a nice article about the lovely marriage of alcohol and chocolate. For some of us the cocept of chocolate and alcohol is old hat, but the article treats it as if it were something new and interesting. Whether it is familiar or new and exciting is beside the point as they include some really nice sounding recipes. Check it out!