January 5, 2010
Two weeks ago, on the Tuesday before Christmas, I called my sister from Albertson's, where I was doing some light shopping, and as you may remember, redeeming my stickers for pots. I didn't call her about the grocery list or the pots. I speed dialed and screamed: "There's Valentine stuff out all ready!" (Actually more like "THERE'S VALENTINE STUFF OUT ALL READY!") which I found utterly and completely appalling, since I hadn't at that point finished my Christmas shopping.
Now I'm about to pimp a Valentine's day idea to you.
I absolutely can't tell you what a great time Walter, Davis, and I had on our chocolate tour. So much fun, that I think it would be an ideal gift for you to give to someone you care about and want to share a good time with.
My young friends (this is what I call Erin's friends and their parents who have so generously adopted me as their Erin surrogate) gave me chocolate for Christmas. My first inclination may have been to horde it, but there was so much, it begged to be shared.
As I wrote before (but am repeating because I think you should try it, too), we tasted a certain type of chocolate every night and rated it on five dimensions: sensory (how it looks and smells), sweetness, bitterness, smoothness, and resilience (how long the taste remains after swallowing). In hindsight we would add two more categories: balance and extras, so we could assess how well the first five categories blended together for the TCE (total chocolate experience) and so we could rate the add-ins that we found in many of the bars (including mango, chili, almonds, cashews, and orange).
In the end, we didn't agree on how we ranked each chocolate. I chose the Chocolove bar, mainly because I think it had the most subtle balance between sweetness and bitterness. Davis fell in love with the Lindt Intense Orange, and Walter experienced his favorite the second night when we had the Lindt Chili. None of us would turn any of the other choices down, although Davis kept the Endangered Species in his net primarily because of the social programs of the company (10% of net profit donated to support endangered species and their habits, plus a re-usable wrapper) rather than the 88% cocoa content.
If you are keeping track, here are my top scorers in each category:
Sensory: Endangered Species and Intense Orange
Sweetness: Intense Orange
Bitterness: Divine, Pastilles, Endangered Species, and Dagoba
Smoothness: Lindt Truffle, Chili, Seeds of Change, and Chocolove
Resilience: Chili and Endangered Species
If you take my advice, you will get to see your best beloved every night for as many nights as you buy chocolate bars. What a deal!