REVIEW: Brasstown Chocolate – Blueberry

Here’s another Cocoa Couriers score:

This 75% dark bar from Brasstown is one smooth customer. The strong chocolaty flavors are well paired with the real blueberries that are embedded in the chocolate. The Ecuador cacao gives an amazing richness to the chocolate you’re guaranteed to love.

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This is a nice, creamier chocolate, that still has that dark chocolate taste — a bit sour, but good. It feels like a sophisticated bar, versus something super sugary sweet.

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The blueberries are chewy, but they don’t impart a huge blueberry flavour, unless you happen to land on one directly. My one complaint about this bar, which my husband echoed, is that the blueberries are randomly dispersed, so you may or may not get one with your chocolate. I wish there was one in every bite!

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This bar generally does not have a fruity taste — the chocolate wins out. I’m wondering if I’m expecting inclusion bars to be more flavoured than they actually are? So far the chocolate has been the star in nearly every inclusion bar I’ve tried — so maybe it’s my own expectations that are off.

Still, this is a good bar, and one that I kept reaching for after I opened it.

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REVIEW: Madecasse – Toasted Coconut

This was a Cocoa Couriers delivery! Their website says this:

Madecasse Toasted Coconut is a very tasty infusion bar which takes 70% dark Madegascarian cacao and pairs it up with a layer of toasted coconut. This adds a crunch to the bar that typically isn’t often found in our chocolate bars. Madecasse also infuses natural vanilla into these bars which adds subtle undertones that are a nice complement of the chocolate.

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I love me some coconut so I was excited to dig into this one. It was decent, but not as awesome as I’d hoped it would be. Cocoa Couriers suggests letting the chocolate melt in your  mouth but I really couldn’t get this bar to melt — it felt very dry to me, and not melty at all.

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It has a nice dark chocolate taste to it, though, not sour or bitter, but dark. The chocolate taste takes up most of the flavour profile to me — there’s not a lot of coconut to it, in my opinion.

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It sure is pretty, though. You can see the toasted coconut is all on the backside of the bar. It comes out a bit if you chew the bar (again, couldn’t get it to melt) but it’s not exactly a giant pop of coconut.

Overall this bar was okay, but not awesome. The texture of it was just too dry for me. I’m curious to try their other bars, though, because the chocolate itself is excellent!

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Life Lately: May 2016

It’s May! It felt like it was a short winter and spring seemed to pop up really quickly, though the weather forecast is mentioning flurries for Friday. It’s been a quiet month so far but at the same time we’ve been busy — Matt is settling into his new-ish job, we’re dealing with the usual spring cleaning stuff, and I’m playing a pretty big role in organizing our community’s Relay for Life. Blogging, as usual, is taking a back seat, but then again, lots of stuff is taking a back seat!

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We recently had to rush Murphy off to the vet — $300 later he was up to date on shots and had some painkillers; he wasn’t using his tail properly but a week later he seems to be mended. Our stray cat friend has disappeared; we saw him on the local animal rescue page but decided against adopting him given his propensity to roam.

Food — I am obsessed with chicken Thai wraps from the coffee shop in town. They only make them on Fridays but I want one right now. I also want the sandwich place to make their awesome tacos every day instead of sporadically. And we discovered that Matt’s work actually makes PHENOMENAL pizza on Fridays. In terms of food I have cooked on my own — try this one-pot lasagna recipe (but you may need a bigger pot — I used a dutch oven).

I’m trying to transition into warmer weather clothing but it’s not quite happening. I had the chance to dress up a bit last Friday, though — Matt and I had a working date, both covering one of his work events for our respective employers. It’s the first time I’ve worn heels in a long time and M was like, “What are those?!

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is my lazy-person Netflix pleasure right now. Matt and I haven’t watched shows together in forever — I’m usually in bed before him these days — so we’ve branched off into our own favourites. I rarely watch TV but this is good mindless entertainment for those few times I feel like hanging out with the laptop!

M is all about taking care of her various animals and dolls, especially my childhood teddy bear. She feeds him ‘breakfast’ most mornings and makes sure he goes back to his den with the other bears at night. She’s quite imaginative and has a zillion questions all the time. She’s also in the throes of two-year-old attitude.

And finally… I need to weed and plant and do all kinds of stuff to the gardens. One of these days…

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REVIEW: IT’SUGAR Milk Chocolate with Red Velvet Cake

Red velvet cake is good. It’s up there as one of my favourites, maybe one down from carrot cake. I saw this chocolate bar while we were in a giant candy store on vacation and of course I snatched it up. I didn’t expect it to be top-notch, given the ingredients listing on the back (this is not an all-natural bar by any means). Still… this turned out to be way worse than I thought, even with my lackluster experience with IT’SUGAR previously.

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First impression upon opening the bar up — damn, that is a red chocolate bar. Hello, food colouring. But that’s what a lot of real red velvet cakes contain, so whatever.

I popped a piece in my mouth and was instantly overwhelmed. This is a sweet, sweet chocolate bar, but not in the sweet, sweet love kind of way. Rather, it’s an incredibly cloying, vaguely chemical-tasting chocolate bar. Yes, it tastes like a red velvet cake, but a red velvet cake concocted in a lab somewhere. It’s like what people would invent in the year 5050 when they stumble across an old red velvet cake recipe in the dusty archives of the internet. It’s not good.

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I immediately wanted to drink a large glass of water upon finishing my chocolate square, and then I felt sick for an hour after.

I bought this bar in-person at the IT’SUGAR shop in Myrtle Beach, SC — I don’t see it online, but there are lots of other treats to check out (don’t buy this one, though ;) ).

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Lazy Garden

This is year three of spring at our house — the snow has been gone for a few weeks now, but I have done nothing to any of the gardens. I haven’t made any seed orders, nor started seedlings, and the front garden is only raked because Matt did it. I’m not burning out — I’m sick right now, which is making things challenging — but I think I’m dialing back.

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I plan to use all of the space we have claimed and reclaimed for gardening, and I want to rehabilitate more of it this year, too. But I’m not doing anything complex or fancy this year, and I’m recognizing where shortcuts may be better. Until we get a good grow light setup, my seedlings are doomed to fail, each year. So I’m not bothering with early starts from seed — I’ll go to the nursery and get ones that are already in good health. And I’ll buy flower starts too. Sure, I’ll pay a bit more, but they’ll actually grow, and maybe next year we’ll have our own light system sorted out.

I bought my seed packets at Walmart from one of the big warehouse seed companies. I only grabbed a few things, because I still have a lot leftover from last year. This is a far cry from my massive seed orders from years past! But I have a lot, already, and I only want to buy things I can directly sow. I may make a small Veseys order, because there are a few things I’d like that don’t exist in-store, but I won’t beat myself up if I don’t get around to it on time.

I want a child-friendly garden this year, and I want to only plant things we will actually use. Last year I had tomato plants taking up a large, large chunk of my upper vegetable garden. Nobody in this household likes tomatoes but me and I can’t eat six plants’ worth. I don’t know why I grow greens, when getting people to eat them is like pulling teeth (even me — I don’t actually LIKE that much kale).

Carrots, we’ll eat. Peas, we’ll eat. Beans, we’ll eat. Lettuce. Spinach. Cucumbers. Squash. Bok Choy is about as exotic as it gets. Give me basil and rosemary and peppers and broccolini (maybe). I don’t feel like planting things out of novelty this year because it seems to end up wasted, anyway.

So that’s my very sporadic, not planned at all garden. I don’t have a garden mapped out; I’m not sure if the raised bed will make it this year (it’s peeling layers of wood away); I don’t know if we’re digging in new veggie beds; I didn’t weed mat any of the places I was going to weed mat last year… but I’ll do it as it comes. The only pressing thing I have to do in the next few weeks is fix up the pea fences and get the early seeds in the ground.

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