Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chocolate with Lemon and Ginger - a tasty combination!

I live on Manitoulin Island, a rural but beautiful area in Northern Ontario, and I often shop at one of our only chocolate retailers: Manitoulin Chocolate Works.  This store is very busy with tourists and locals all through the summer and fall months.  It is so popular because of the large and unique selection they offer.  They not only bring in other brands of chocolates and chocolate bars, they also make their own chocolate creations.  I will often buy one of their flavoured chocolate bars in order to taste it against a commercial or imported chocolate bar with a similar flavouring, to see how it holds up against the brand name stuff.  I am doing that very kind of chocolate tasting today, with the focus being on ginger and lemon flavours combined in chocolate.
Today I am trying the Manitoulin Chocolate Works Citrus & Spice chocolate bar. Immediately, I can see this is for people who like large pieces of dried or jellied ginger. In fact, it is more like a snack than a chocolate bar because there is such an abundance of large ginger pieces.  I taste a lot of ginger, but not so much of the other spices and I can sometimes taste the orange, but not in every bite. Occasionally, there is a large enough piece of chocolate to taste and savour the chocolate flavour, but otherwise it’s more chewy and focused on the ginger pieces. When you can taste the chocolate, it is sweet and dark (56.8%) with a nice flavour.
Overall, I enjoyed it.  The ginger pieces may have bothered me at one time in my life, but I’ve recently grown to appreciate pieces of ginger for snacking.  However, if you are someone who does not like jellied fruit or ginger pieces, then this chocolate bar is definitely not for you.
The other chocolate bar that I am tasting today is the Cote D’Or Lemon Ginger chocolate bar.  What I love about it is the smooth and creamy centre, which is not only tasty, but great because it is made of chocolate truffle (rather than a sugary filling), and it has very tiny crunchy pieces, which adds nice mini bursts of lemon flavour as you chew.  The focus of this bar is on the lemon flavour. The ginger just blends in really nicely creating a full-bodied, spicy, lemony flavour. 
Although the Cote D’Or bar mostly consists of natural ingredients, “artificial flavours” is listed on the back of the package, which is too bad. If you’ve read my blog posts before, you know I am all about natural ingredients.  So I commend Cote D’Or for keeping this chocolate mostly natural, but I would prefer if they did not use artificial flavouring at all.
On a side note, if you haven’t tried any of Cote D’Or’s other 150 gram bars with filled centres, they are definitely worth a try.
If you are interested in either of the chocolate bars that I tasted today, here are further details:

COTE D'OR Lemon Ginger Filled Centre (Dark Chocolate Filled with a Lemon and Ginger Centre) 150 g 
Made by COTE D'OR, Imported to Canada by Jacobs Suchard Canada, Don Mills, ON
Ingredients: Sugar, unsweetened chocolate, palm and/or canola oil, cocoa butter, modified milk ingredients, cocoa powder, apple puree concentrate, natural ginger flavour, soy lecithin, lemon juice concentrate, natural and artificial flavours. May contain peanuts, eggs, wheat and tree nuts.

Manitoulin Chocolate Works, Kagawong, Ontario, Canada
Ingredients:cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, soya lecithin, natural vanilla, orange peel, lemon peel, ginger, sugar, glucose syrup, citric acid, sulphites.

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