Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wingnut Confections


I wanted to give you clean and beautiful photos, but I couldn't help myself.

One second, I was munching on this vegan toffee. And the next second, this.And that's all she wrote.

I guess it's one interesting instance when I ate my own homework, but you guys will never accept that. Le sigh.

So, this maddeningly good toffee, among other candies, was made by Wingnut Confections out of Portland, Oregon. I got a chance to try a selection of their finest and report back. So, let's start with my favorite, because I've already completely decimated it.

This is actually a coconut toffee, and the way it's cut makes it look as though it could be bought by the square foot, like sheet rock or shag carpet, and as soon as I took it out of the package, the scent was...strange and intoxicating. It took on this slightly spicy smell, and then, a nice, mellow, roundabout with the dark chocolate. It was beautiful, even before biting into it.

And then I actually ate it. The texture was crisp and condensed, and the dark chocolate on the outside melted perfectly. The coconut flavor was subtle, but mixed in well with the other flavors, and I was glad that it was an oil instead of flakes, because that would have interfered with the absolute perfection of the rest of it.The toffee itself wasn't too thick, and it crunched so well, with sweet, grainy sugar, but the real aspect that put it all together was the toasted pumpkin seeds. The seeds were slightly spicy and added a natural crunch to the toffee that really made a great experience to taste. It was definitely original, and like nothing I'd have expected before.David, the chocolatier, also sent me two flavors of candied hazelnuts. One was a candied hazelnut, and one was chocolate covered. Each hazelnut was large and round and perfect for just popping into my mouth. It was an excellent snack, and I could see these being versatile for just eating as an afternoon indulgence or as a topping for a nice dessert.

The chocolate covered hazelnuts had a nice, slightly burnt aroma and flavor, and that was sweetened in part by the chocolate, but not too much because it was a nice bittersweet chocolate powder coating it.

The hazelnuts were toasted well, and broke cleanly in my mouth without having a too burnt or too raw flavor. The candied inside added a fantastic crunch similar to the toffee, and it sweetened up the candy and made a perfect bite to pop into my mouth.The candied hazelnuts didn't have chocolate, but they had a really bumpy texture and a hint of vanilla. While I wasn't as keen on the combination of the sugar and the hazelnuts, reminding me of the standard New York City Nuts 4 Nuts carts, it was still a pretty classic treat and the sugar coating wasn't too hard.Again, the hazelnuts were prepared perfectly, and each one was a very good size. No skimpy nuts here, people. Overall, like the chocolate hazelnuts, a good snack, though I might be inclined to recommend this one for portability, as the chocolate dust tends to spread on one's hands.The last confection I reviewed was a six piece collection of truffles in an assortment of flavors. Like the other candies, these are all vegan! The truffle flavor selection was rather exotic, and I found myself pleased with the derivation from the usually pedantic flavors that the majority of companies, like Russel Stover and such, put out with their things.Earl Grey was definitely my favorite. There was a strong flavor of bergamot within the ganache, yet not so much that it overpowered the chocolate. The orange notes were fantastic, and there was a slight crunch in the outer garnishes of the chocolate, the orange zest. Really swell. 9

The habanero mole truffle was another big hit, though in this one, the ganache was a little drier, and definitely chalked off more. That really affected my thoughts on the truffle, and although it did melt in my mouth eventually, it was a slower melt, and the burn got really pronounced within that timeframe. A strange flavor, with the mole tastes almost turning musty, and while I can't say that I didn't like it, it wasn't exactly my favorite. Still spicy, though, and the sesame seeds were a fantastic combination. 5

I also tried a Thai chili truffle, which had accents of coconut, chili, ginger, and lime, but all I really tasted was the chili. Considering how pronounced the coconut flavor was with just a little bit of oil in the toffee, I would have liked to see more in the truffle. 4

The next truffle was a very tasty one, the peppermint truffle. I normally don't like the combination of chocolate and mint, preferring more nut blends, but this classic combination went well together, and it was a smooth flavor and finish. The mint was crisp and clean and the chocolate was undoctored and plain, allowing the flavors to come out in the clearest of ways. 8

Following that was a marion berry truffle. I wasn't really on top of this one, because it had the same chalky texture as the mole truffle, and the berry flavor wasn't very pronounced. I don't know what a marion berry is, either, but I'd have liked to taste a little more of a textural difference, perhaps with some marion berry jelly instead of simply essence of the jelly itself. 4

Finally, we finished up the selection with the last truffle, the Oregon hazelnut rum truffle. Although I am nuts for Nutella, I was getting a little weary of the hazelnuts at this point, and would have appreciated cashews, peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, but this was a little too much. Thankfully, the hazelnuts provided a nice crunch, and the rum gave a luxurious and smooth boozy flavor to the truffle. I liked the ground up pieces of nut on top. 7

Ritter Sport Marzipan

Ritter Sport Marzipan

When I was younger, my father's job had him travelling overseas every few years, and one of the best things about that was the souvenirs he brought back. When he went to Germany, he brought back an assortment of mini Ritter Sport squares. Of course, these can be purchased in the United States, but that was my first exposure to them.

Since then, all kinds of different flavors have popped up, and I still run across the odd (not necessarily new) flavor, just waiting to be tasted. At a local Fresh Market (think Whole Foods but smaller), Ritter Sport Marzipan was on sale, and I couldn't resist. It came highly recommended by both the checkout clerk and the customer ahead of me in line.

Ritter Sport Marzipan

The dark chocolate bar was absolutely gorgeous with just the right amount of gloss. A quick break released the wonderful aroma of almonds and cocoa, and from the first taste, I was hooked. The marzipan had a wonderfully gritty texture that reminded me of cookie dough (since they can serve a similar purpose), and the taste reminded me of amaretto liqueur.

Although the smooth, mild dark chocolate would have been okay on its own, it was a wonderful match for the marzipan. It was difficult to put this bar down, and it is close in the running to my beloved Butter Biscuit for my favorite Ritter Sport squares. One small issue I had was that the marzipan was soft and moist for the most part, but there were some dry spots scattered throughout the bar.

Check out the Ritter section at Candy Blog for several reviews, including Marzipan, and have a look at Chocablog's review of the Marzipan bar.


Ritter Sport website

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tong Sing Chinese, Easthampton, MA

Every college student needs a roster of good Chinese restaurants in the tri-state area tattooed to their bicep, thigh, or appliqued as a tramp stamp for those late night cravings when absolutely nothing else will satisfy. It's just perfect, hot, and cheap, and lately, Erik, Fleeper, and I have been chipping away at these restaurants at strange hours of the night and are reporting our findings amidst comas of crab rangoon, mindfucks of MSG, and chokeholds of chow mein.

Today's restaurant was in Easthampton, close to Fleeper's house, and is in a tiny plaza next to a dairy and liquor store. Tong Sing Chinese. We went in and ordered an appetizer, Szechuan fried wontons with pork and a spicy sesame glaze, and our entree, General Tso's chicken.The wontons were perfect. I don't think we spent more than two or three dollars on them, and there had to be at least six of them, enough to give each of us two, and they were quite large and stuffed with pork. They were covered with glaze and it was obvious that they were freshly made, because underneath the glaze, they were extremely crispy and the dough yielded to a poke with a fork, but didn't mush completely. The pork filling was savory and minced well, and wasn't chewy or sinewy. My only possible criticism was that these weren't really "Szechuan," because the glaze was more sweet than spicy, but it was damned tasty, and even though it didn't deliver the heat that I expected, I was very pleased.For our entree, we had the General Tso's chicken, which was delivered, as the wontons were, scalding hot. There is really nothing more pleasurable than a restaurant that delivers food as hot as the sun. I'm so used to lukewarm food in tepid dining halls that I've forgotten hot temperatures, and it's absolutely refreshing. The pile of chicken was just crazy. And the flavor was incredible. Biting into this breading was like biting into a piece of slightly caramelized food. It was just ever so sugary, but the heat was spot on, that it had literally caramelized, and the crunch was perfect. It was also extremely hot, and I did burn myself. I burnt myself on perfect food.The breading was really light on this, and so was the glaze, and each piece, although tiny, was packed with an inordinate amount of flavor. It was so tasty. The cut of meat wasn't the best that it could have been, and there was a little bit of gristle with some of the bites, but overall, it was a tasty dinner, and we took home a lot of leftovers. Erik and I split this plate, so this was a feat!Tong Sing also makes, for an exorbitantly low price, a homemade spicy mustard and duck sauce, which we got to eat with our chicken and wontons. Totally worth it. Incredible sauces. Rich flavor and delicious textures. It's so rare that you find a restaurant making homemade sauces these days that you just jump on opportunities like that when you actually do.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tirol Ichigo ga Ippai (again)

Ichigo ga Ippai

Like people and animals, snacks follow the circle of life as well. Last winter, a friend sent me the Strawberry 2009 variety pack, and this winter, I received the 2010 version. Thankfully, they are similar, but not identical.

This version includes Strawberry Jelly, Strawberry and Cookie, and Strawberry Condensed Milk, and I'll review them one by one.

Straberry Jelly Tirol

Strawberry Jelly had a strong strawberry scent, and was filled with a bright red gel. The jam center was a tasty and fairly authentic strawberry, but I didn't feel like it went well with the buttery strawberry flavored white chocolate.

Strawberry and Cookie Tirol

Strawberry and Cookie Crunch is basically a strawberry version of Tirol's White & Cookie Crunch. The strawberry flavor was mild, but it didn't really add anything, and I prefer the regular white chocolate version.

Strawberry Condensed Milk Tirol

'Tsubu Tsubu' Strawberry Condensed Milk was, as expected, very sweet and milky. I believe the tsubu tsubu refers to the texture of the strawberry seeds that were found throughout this piece. It reminded me of a strawberry frosting with a hint of crunchiness from the seeds, but it was very, very sweet.

None of these flavors grabbed me, but none of them tasted bad, either. Check out another review of this pack at Pocky Watch.


Tirol website

Hippie Chips Haight Ashbury Jalapeno

Hippies are the new bad boys.

Take a look outside. The new, up and coming 18-35 bracket isn't driving greasy motorcycles. Those would release carbon emissions and pollute the earth. They've traded those in for a worn pair of Birkenstocks, or if they're rich, a Prius.

Their hair is no longer greased back, but is flowing, either let down in curling locks or teased into the quintessential dirty dread. And since leather jackets are cruel to animals, you can't help but notice the unmistakable reek of hemp clothing all over their privileged bodies.Eating these chips, Hippie Chips, I was reminded of Bono and U2 and how "rocker" the hippie lifestyle is now associated. It's a strange phenomenon, and these chips have jumped on the bandwagon. They're healthy "potato" chips, and I say potato because I'm pretty sure they're soy, at least, they look a hell of a lot like soy crisps, and are flavored in "Haight-Ashbury Jalapeno". I don't know whether to laugh or smash a guitar made of endangered wood from Tanzania.For $2.00 per 1 oz. bag at the gym's vending machine, these are about worth the money you'd spend to go see Hannah Montana play Woodstock. There were, and I counted, twelve chips. That's not to say that they weren't good, but I'm still reeling from the math here. The flavor is definitely peppery, but it isn't jalapeno. It's a poseur of a chip, definitely more of a generic pepper, like the Lay's Pepper Relish Chips than a clean, kick of a jalapeno. There is spice, though, so it's hot, but not really hot enough to make you run for your organic latte or Odwalla smoothie.To compare these chips to anything, they're definitely hippie chips, but as far as flavor goes, they're about as badass as Milhouse in drag.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Green Eggs Cafe

Didn't you hear, South Philly's Green Eggs Cafe is the new weekend brunch hot spot. This translates into an hour wait if you want to grub during normal brunch hours.

But the genius of Green Eggs Cafe, and what takes the sting out of the wait, is that there is a large room on the cafe side of the restaurant with two long couches to sit on and two large TV's (usually tuned to Food Network), one above the fireplace and one behind the cafe bar, to while your time as you sip on a coffee or some other beverage. If the weather's nice, have a seat at the outside bar with stools along the entrance ramp. So much better than standing in line, huffing streetside for an hour.

Thanks to the two open, airy rooms with plenty of light from open windows and doors when the weather is amenable, Green Eggs does not feel like your typical cramped Philly dining room with row house dimensions. Green Eggs could be in California. Or Texas. Or anywhere other than Philly. The atmosphere is refreshing, actually.
Green Eggs puts to practice the green philosophy by using LEED-certified building products, using biodegradable plastic ware, composting, banning Styrofoam, sourcing local ingredients (who doesn't say that?), and donating the $1 charge for filtered tap water to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Peanut butter-stuffed or vanilla creme brulee are the two decadent French toast options, and I went with the creme brulee. With creme brulee in the name, I was expecting a thick custard-stuffed French toast, but this is not the case. A stack of creme brulee batter dipped bread tasting like normal French toast topped with vibrant and fresh berry compote and whipped cream are centered on a plate of maple syrup and creme anglaise. Perhaps the creme brulee let-down was for the best, because I was actually able to finish the stack without feeling weighed down.
The breakfast burrito is a behemoth filled with eggs, olives, corn, chorizo (omitted by request), Tex-Mex cheese, and signature potatoes (roasted breakfast potatoes by any other name) topped with pico de gallo, sour cream, and avocado in a pool of fire roasted red pepper black bean sauce. Phew, that was a lot of ingredients! Greasy potatoes, eggs, and tortilla are what you'll mostly be eating, along with a thin bean sauce that lacks heat or a zesty punch. Meh. That's how I feel about all tofu scrambles, but at least Green Eggs does tofu scramble well. No watery tofu over-seasoned with turmeric or curry powder, just a well balanced scramble studded with thinly sliced green peppers and onions, topped with crunchy nuggets of Bac-o-Bits, which are vegan if you didn't know, but all vegans know this.

The accompanying bowl of fruit was nicely varied and super fresh. Your choice of toast arrives in a cute wire basket.Thinly sliced beets hide underneath a tower of spotlessly fresh mixed greens dressed with a dried oregano-heavy herbal vinaigrette in need of more acid and charm. Mix in olives, tomato slices, and the artichoke hearts on the side of the plate and you've got a Seinfeld-ian big salad.
Watching see-through wire baskets of fries (regular or sweet potato) float through the room en route to other tables was just the sales pitch I needed to order my own. Lack of crispness is always a problem with sweet potato fries, but these limp, medium-cut fries are still salty, sweet and tasty.

Service at Green Eggs is a crapshoot. Obviously, going during weekend brunch hours is the worst time. During one prime weekend brunch time visit we suffered an hour wait for a table and then a ten minute wait for acknowledgment after being seated, a long wait for food, and a mostly absent server that we replaced with which ever server happened to pass our table, and then a long wait for the check. On another visit during a weekend mid-afternoon we opted for the bar seating on the cafe side of the restaurant and received much better service, only because the cafe servers are captive behind the counter and easy to flag down.

I will bemoan this about Green Eggs, but, really, I could say this about most every breakfast and brunch spot in Philly: how about getting some tempeh! Green Eggs' menu lists bacon, turkey bacon, pork roll, sausage, smoked ham, scrapple, and chorizo as sides. They just about covered it all...except for the non-egg, protein-seeking vegetarian. With just that one simple menu addition, I'll be able to substitute tempeh for meat and enjoy many more dishes.

Welcome, Green Eggs, to the club of popular Philly weekend bruncheries with absurdly long waits and good, but not mind-blowing food. South Philadelphians no longer need to walk north to wait for brunch. They can lounge on a couch watching Food Network while suckers else where stand on the street.

Green Eggs Cafe
1306 Dickenson St., Philadelphia, PA 19147


Open daily: 7am-7pm

Full menu: 8am-4pm

Supplemental menu: 7-8am and 4-7pm


SodaStream Penguin

It sat in my room, just staring. One cold, gimlet eye, a sleek body with fins that slip out of your fingers. A sharp, pointed beak. The potential to explode.For about a week before opening the SodaStream Penguin, I was terrified. It wasn't that I was afraid of exploding my dorm room and the surrounding dorms, or afraid of screwing up the machine, or afraid of failing my family in bringing them cost-effective, tasty beverages, but the penguin was judging me. I wasn't worthy of its presence.

Just opening the Penguin, I felt like my dorm's property value went up. This thing belongs in a hotel. It's all curves and no angles and has a stainless steel chamber and comes with carafes. Where the hell do you see carafes in a dorm? I threw out my plastic Fiestaware and Dixie cups and embraced the new era with this, my cold, chilly lover.So, the logistics. The Penguin comes with carbon dioxide, which is inert, so the possibility of me making a flamethrower was out of the question. It's extremely easy to assemble. I'm sure a real penguin could do it if it had opposable thumbs, too. It comes with that and the carafes, and SodaStream also sent over 19 flavors, too, for me to try out.The usage is also really facile. It's just a matter of filling up the carafe and releasing the carbon dioxide into the glass, and then mixing in whatever flavor you want. I'm not sure if the carafes are the ideal beverage containers for me, personally- while they are sleek, they're a little bulky and pretty heavy, and I can't see myself carrying them around and using them in any other setting than at home as a regular drinking receptacle.I couldn't try all 19 flavors on my own, so I enlisted the help of Swagger to taste test and tackle the beast. We took these photos in the dorm kitchen and tried it all out. So we already knew that it was really easy to use, but how did the flavors taste? We tried 9 of the flavors, to give you a broad spectrum of what they're like.(clockwise: energy, orange mango, fountain mist, root beer, Pete's Choice)Fountain Mist was SodaStream's personal version of Mountain Dew, and it was pretty good. It was definitely the same color as Mountain Dew, and the flavor was pretty accurate. It had a nice lemon and lime flavor, and we liked it. 6

Orange was definitely our favorite flavor out of all of them. It had a clean, crisp taste, and just felt fresher than some of the other ones. It was really sweet, but not too sweet so as to make you feel like your teeth are rotting out. It tasted like the candy jelly slices I eat at Passover. A definite winner, and better than some of the orange sodas you can get in stores. 10

With the orange, we also had orange mango. The flavor was a little more subtle than the orange, but the mango was mellow and tasty. I thought this one was tasty, but perhaps a little too sweet on the tooth. Still a definite winner, and especially nice for those of us who like strange soda flavors! 8

Next, we tried the lemonade. This was another favorite, because it tasted just like my local soda company's lemonade equivalent, a gassosa. The lemon flavor isn't bitter at all and is, like the mango, a little more subtle. This can also be remedied if one likes more or less flavor, because you can add syrup to taste. I personally preferred the little, one serving bottles for easier clean up and mixing, but it's all a matter of preference. 9After that was the Pete's Choice. This one was a little strange. As Swagger so eloquently put it, "Dr. Pepper has his doctorate in soda making, Mr. Pibb has his bachelor's, and Pete didn't get his GED." This wasn't our favorite. The syrup was black, and the flavor was just off. 2

Root beer was up next. Root beer is also an easy flavor to screw up, but SodaStream pulled this one off really well. The flavor has just a hint of vanilla, and is really frothy and refreshing. I could see this making an excellent root beer float. 9Finishing up the sodas was the energy flavor. This is basically the equivalent of a Red Bull, and it tasted identical. Unfortunately, nobody likes Red Bull because it tastes like robot piss. It was still a valiant effort on the part of the flavor as far as accuracy went, and it did end up giving us energy to lift microwaves, so it had its merits. 3

After those, we tried the MyWater flavor essences, which are additives to the sparkling waters that you can use as flavor syrups. They're highly concentrated, so a very small amount goes a long way. We tried the berry first, and it was medicinal and didn't taste like berries at all, or might have tasted like the chemical equivalent of berry flavor. It was not tasty and even when titrated with other flavors, was still easy to detect. 0

The orange flavor fared much better. While I definitely lean towards the side of sweeter drinks, this was refreshing, like going to a hotel and drinking the water with the orange slices in it. It was just enough of a hint of orange for me to want to drink more, and the carbonation was nice and bubbly. A nice alternative to the orange soda, and the presentation is very classy. 7With the presentation and ease of the machine itself, and flavors, I think it's a nice addition to a home where people drink a lot of soda. I know I'll get a lot of usage out of this machine. I think it's great for parties, and is a fun novelty item for families to own. If the price is daunting, make tabs of your soda intake with cans and see if it's worth the amount you regularly spend. I rated based on the flavors and presentation.

The Penguin waits.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Walker's Shortbread Assortment

Recently, I was sent an assortment of Walker's Shortbread to try out. I have some really fond memories of shortbread, from traveling around the UK, so when I ate this, it brought back some great memories.Walker's Shortbread is a classic and simple treat, but can be jazzed up really easily to fit any occasion. With each shape of cookie, one can indulge with the bare minimum- simply the cookie, or any array of toppings, and the cookie's buttery flavor adapts well to any number of flavors. I dipped it in coffee, hot cocoa, ice cream, pudding. The cookie is fragile, so I might not recommend the sticks for topping, but the rounds and triangles were of a substantial weight.The flavor is really top-notch, with a rounded, buttery flavor. It's smooth, and leaves a slight tang in your mouth, and the cookies crumble instantly. I like these, and would definitely want to try ones with other toppings already in them. As far as the shapes went, there was no differentiation in between them, aside from the size that dipped into my glass- the stick was, by far, the most practical, but I liked the rounds the best. Each one has a prettily designed top. I was a little disappointed, however, by the promising of sugar on top of the triangles, hoping for a slight irregularity in texture, and none was found. Overall, though, a good snack to indulge upon!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Trader Joe's Organic Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup

This was a soup I actually stumbled upon accidentally, with Sherlock while searching for snacks to take to the movies. Needless to say, after trying a sample of this, I bullied her into fitting this into her large hippie bag along with our snacks to take to Shutter Island. I didn't drink it in the movie, though with all the blood, it might have been fitting.The soup was offered as a sample the night we went, and it is probably one of the most delicious soups I've ever tried. The only thing that could make it better is if they put it in a boxed wine format, with a tap, so that I could just have soup on tap at my immediate disposal. The flavor is extremely creamy, but with only 100 calories per serving. The peppers and tomatoes are equally distributed in the flavor, with a slightly smoky taste from the roasting, and it's not chunky, which makes it a fantastic stand alone bisque on a cold night or something that can be equally jazzed up with some cheddar crackers, chives, sour cream, or any of your favorite veggies.What I love most about it is just the ease in preparation. It can be kept indefinitely on a shelf until opened, and then it's just a matter of eating it. I love how simple it is to prepare, and how vibrant the flavors and colors are. It's so hearty and thick, and for a college student, finding a gourmet soup like this is a real treat.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Doritos Scream Cheese

Doritos Scream Cheese

Even though I've probably tried 3 new flavors of Doritos in the US within the past year, I was still excited to see a different flavor when I was shopping in Windsor, Ontario. Maybe it was the metallic bag. Little did I know that "Scream Cheese" was the product of a contest to name a new Doritos flavor in Canada. It was a good call for them to bring in outside talent to name their products - remember Nacho Cheesier?

Contestants submitted their own commercials for the flavor they named online, and if you're interested, Ryan Coopersmith's winning video can be viewed on the Doritos YouTube channel. It's worth a chuckle, not to mention $25,000 and 1% of profits from future flavor sales.

Doritos Scream Cheese

Of course, what's really important here is how the chips taste. Thankfully, the cheese didn't smell like nacho. My best guess would be cheddar, with sour and smokey notes. The best part was the nice mild heat that kicked in at the end, as I thought it helped to set them apart from other flavors.

The powder on them was a bright, bright red, and when I wiped the corners of my mouth after eating (as Doritos inevitably make a mess), it looked like I had wiped some lipstick off. I liked the heat, but wasn't crazy about the sour. They didn't make me scream, but I do love a good old-fashioned mystery flavor naming contest. Bonus points for that.

It looks like they have another contest going on now, and I do have a bag of "Unidentified Flavor II" Doritos just waiting to be consumed. It looks like this time, they want to create a viral video, so check out their website at the link below if you are interested.


Doritos website

Cocoa Dolce's Quick Fix

Recently, I had the opportunity to try some of Cocoa Dolce's truffles and assorted selections, which I'll be popping into review over the course of a few weeks. Starting off the review is the "Quick Fix" selection, which, I might add, came packaged along with the other chocolates in the cutest presentation I have ever been privy to receiving.I could flee the country with this suitcase and nobody would miss me.

It came with boarding passes and a map of the chocolates, and it was adorable. It was definitely one of the most original ideas I've ever seen. I loved how, instead of just packing some extra chocolate selections, they chose to include the airline boarding passes as gift certificates and let me pick them out online. It was a really adorable selection, and the box was very classy, with a wax seal and raffia ribbon.Anyhow, onto the signature truffles. I got a special selection that you'll all come to expect, but for now, the Cocoa Dolce Quick Fix. Not to be consumed in an airline bathroom while humping a stranger. Since this is a selection, I'll rate them all on a scale of 1-10, and then average that number for an overall rating.(Left to right, starting at the top: Mayan, carmello noce, lemon, strawberry, cinnamon orange, champagne, mocha, gianduia, and raspberry)

The first one we ate was a raspberry truffle. We liked the pink dots on it, and thought it was a very cute truffle, but the taste didn't deliver. It didn't taste fresh and the ganache was blended with raspberry rather than separate jelly, and it was unimpressive. 5

The next one was the lemon truffle, and we were unanimous in our agreement that this was the prettiest of the truffles. The flavor was really creamy and went extremely well with the white chocolate, and it was tart, like a lemon meringue pie, but was offset by the milkiness of the chocolate. We liked it a lot. 8

The strawberry champagne had an interesting texture. It was coated in sugar, which was, like I said, interesting texturally, but the sugar made the entire truffle too sweet. The strawberry, which was billed as organic, had an artificial flavor and completely overpowered the chocolate. We weren't pleased. 3

The mocha truffle was very tall and regal and presented itself well. One interesting aspect was the espresso bean, which nobody really wanted after dinner because then we'd all have to bounce off the walls, was actually fake- it was made of chocolate! So once we figured that out, we whacked the truffle up. The ganache inside was semi-liquid and fluid, and slightly grainy. It was very strong and really tasty. I normally don't like coffee, but the dark flavors of the ganache and the coffee went really well together. Erik and my father liked this the best. 9

After that, we tried the champagne chocolate truffle. This one was the booziest of all, and definitely tasted like some kind of alcohol, but not necessarily a discernible champagne. The chocolate cut the strong alcoholic flavor, and so did the sugar, but it was still a little sharp on the palate. 4

The next one was my personal favorite, the cinnamon orange. It was warm and rich, and the chocolate was a nice, and thin shell that just barely melted on my tongue, and along with it came the sensation of the cinnamon. The orange ganache reminded me of a Terry's chocolate orange, one of my favorite childhood treats, and the zest really provided a good, fresh contrast to the richness of the chocolate. 10

Coming up a close second was the gianduia, but mainly because of my affinity- (okay, lust) need-(okay, addiction) problem with Nutella. I mean, this was basically Nutella in a gorgeous ball of chocolate. The nuts added some good contrast and a nice crunch, and the goo on the inside was sweet without burning my throat. And it was just like gourmet Nutella. NOM. 9

We then tried a carmello noce, which was caramel cream wrapped in chocolate with a pecan on top. I liked the dichotomy of the pecan and caramel cream, like a soft, less chewy turtle, but thought that a little more nut might have worked out better. 8

The last truffle was a mayan truffle, and I have to applaud the ingenuity on this one. The ganache was balanced really well with the flavors of honey and vanilla, chili and cinnamon, and although we tasted more of the sweet than the savory, we really did think that this was a keeper in our books. 10