There has been a pretty steady downpour of rain all day. While the clouds are pretty, so much darkness is almost-depressing to those used to sunshine. So I come seeking solitude in chocolate. And not just any chocolate is this, but a special block I have been saving. It just so happens to be Barry Callebaut chocolate from New Frontiers in Sedona.
Now, I have heard of Callebaut chocolate; I have heard that it is wonderful and that some of the talented chocolate makers use it as base for their chocolates and truffles. But I have never had any myself, so naturally I was delighted to find this block. And it is always such a delight to taste a respected chocolate brand for the first time. New Frontiers packages this chocolate up in clear wrap and sells them for about $10. Given that little Amano bars can be about that price, this really isn't that expensive: the block is thick and sturdy. It would be nice to use in a recipe where you need quality. But it is also nice broken up by a knife and served on a plate in small shavings. Perhaps at a Christmas party or Thanksgiving dinner?
Sorry, sorry, I just had to display my new turkey plate from World Market; I love turkeys and I love chocolate, so I had to love them together. But picture, instead of a painted turkey, a small dessert or a piece of fruit in the center of the chocolate rim. How elegant that would be. Don't let yourself be limited by the bulk size of this chocolate block or others like it: they can still be pretty.
Setting my turkeys aside, I must also address the chocolate. It's milk chocolate, with no cocoa content listed. But it can't be any higher than 42%, and I don't think it's even that high. Perhaps around 38% cocoa? The first piece I slipped in my mouth struck me with the smoothness of its melting. As soon as it touches your tongue, it begins to melt; there is absolutely no hint of graininess in this absolute luxury. It melts so well that eating it is almost like sipping hot chocolate. The richness of the flavor is what provides the warmth; there are vanilla and caramel notes mixed in with complete softness. It's possible that the aftertaste is marshmallows. Is it worth the wait? Oh, yes. In fact, I might even consider serving some up with Thanksgiving dessert on Thursday, perhaps on this very turkey plate. Don't you worry, pumpkin pie: I won't replace you, just accent you.