You know when you say a word so many times you start thinking it makes no sense or perhaps you even imagined it being a real word?  Today smorgasbord (“a wide range of something”; “a variety”) is the word that just sent me scurrying to Google to make sure it was real.  And that I was spelling it right.  (For the record: I wasn’t.)  (Side note: If I remember looking things up in an actual dictionary, does that make me old?)

Here is a smorgasbord of chocolate I’d like to share with you:

Sol Cacao Ecuador 70% Craft Chocolate (I purchased mine online at The Meadow.)

Made in Harlem by three brothers who grew up in Trinidad and Tobago, this bar is one of the many epitomes of fine craft chocolate: amazing flavor and stunning packaging.

Also, this is one of the first photos that finally convinced me to keep practicing with a new, unfamiliar-to-me-lens, because it might be worth the effort.  (Note to self: Try new things!  New things aren’t as scary as they look!)

Chocolove Cherries & Almonds in Dark Chocolate

I’ve come to realize that there are a lot of people who prefer plain dark chocolate.  Nothing wrong with that. I like plain dark chocolate.  But I’m also big on inclusions.  And dark chocolate with cherries and almonds?  Yes, please!

Francois Pralus Melissa Milk Chocolate

This was my first Francois Pralus bar (and hopefully not my last).  The tasting notes are “vanilla, caramel, and milky spices”.  I remember it as rich and creamy but specific notes still mostly elude me, especially because by the time I’ve finished dressing up my chocolate in three different poses, I’m just ready for a piece (without being too scientific about the taste). Some day maybe I’ll get a few bars just to savor and just to focus on the flavor without photographing them first.  (Why is everyone who knows me laughing right now?!)

Cacao Sampaka White Chocolate with Ceylon Cinnamon

Fact 1: White chocolate with cinnamon is AMAZING.

Fact 2: Rarely does a bar surprise me as much as this one did.  I was pretty sure it was going to be amazing, so the taste was no surprise.  The surprise was that instead of being a thick chocolate bar, it ended up being two thin bars (easily separated, thanks to a liner between them).  This made it a lot easier to portion and share with more people.

Raaka Apple Pie Chocolate (I purchased mine online via Noje.)

I hoarded this bar for a long time.  The very month I decided to give up and go ahead and find a way to take photos without apple pie, apples appeared.  (They don’t grow on trees around here.)

Wait until you hear the impressive list of flours used for the gluten-free graham cracker crust, which crumbles adorn this chocolate: Brown rice flour, whole grain quinoa flakes, tapioca starch, coconut flour, sweet potato flour, mesquite flour, potato four, potato starch, amaranth flour, and sorghum flour.  No kidding.

The apple pie flavor in this chocolate was a little elusive, but it was quite an entertaining bar.

It was also a limited edition, which might make it difficult or impossible to find.

(Thankfully Raaka makes certain flavors regularly.  The two I’d like to try most are Maple & Nibs and Coconut Milk.)

Alter Eco Dark Salted Brown Butter Chocolate

Alter Eco Dark Salted Brown Butter Chocolate  (I purchased mine online via Iherb.)

Last but not least, allow me to introduce Alter Eco’s gluten free, non-GMO, salted brown butter chocolate (an organic chocolate made with sweet pastured butter).

It’s like mixing popcorn and chocolate, only without the corn.  Mmmmmmmm.  Tangy and delicious.  Salted chocolate is growing on me, as long as it is done right.  I think Alter Eco found the perfect balance with this bar.


Organic.  Gluten. Pastured.  These are all words that would have sent me scurrying to the dictionary when I was a little girl.  Unfortunately, when I read our voluminous inches-thick red hardcover dictionary from cover to cover, I wasn’t quite able to memorize everything.

The word that stuck with me the most?  You’d think it might be ganache or gianduia or eclairs or mousse.  But no.  It was actually a French word (in an English dictionary, go figure).  Rechauffe.  Pronounced “ray-show-FAY” (if I remember correctly) it basically means heated leftovers.

Because heated leftovers are always more fun if they have a fancy sounding name.

Now my chocolate has fancy sounding names, but the problem is:  There is never any leftover!Save

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Alter Eco Quinoa Dark Chocolate

What’s gluten free, fair trade, organic, and very tasty? Alter Eco Quinoa Dark Chocolate.

Am I the only one that has pronounced quinoa wrong all their life?  I grew up thinking it was “quinn-NO-ah”.  Then recently I started hearing about this new gluten-free super-seed food called “keen-wah” and, lo and behold, it turns out they’re the same thing.

Most people associate quinoa with “health foods” and therefore may automatically assume it doesn’t taste very good, but there’s good news.    Quinoa is not one of those “pinch-your-nose-and-swallow-fast” foods.   I find it easily adaptable to many dishes, and toasted quinoa adds a perfect crunch to this 60% dark chocolate.

I absconded with a few spoonfuls of quinoa from the fridge for the purpose of taking this photograph.  A month later, I was still finding quinoa in my room.  (My sister would say that that would tell you how well I do…or do not…clean my room, but I am telling you, a few pieces of that quinoa had terrific hiding skills.  Because I DID sweep.  I’m almost positive every time I swept I could hear the quinoa running behind the furniture giggling at their skill at avoiding me.)

Me? Have a vivid imagination?  What gives you that idea?

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Once in a while, a chocolate comes along and manages a statistical improbability: winning over every single member of my family after the first bite.  This isn’t exactly an easy task. If it is too dark, 2/5s lose all interest. 1/5 of us do not eat white chocolate at all. (“What is white chocolate even made out of?”)  Peanuts in chocolate are a welcome addition (if you ask 3 out of 5) and not-so-welcome (if you interview the other two).  Coffee in chocolate…well, that’s a story for another day.

The most recent chocolate to be unanimously approved? Alter Eco Truffles.

Alter Eco Truffles - Velvet

Words fail me.  These truffles – made with coconut oil, whole milk powder, cane sugar, cocoa butter, cacao beans, caramel flavor, & vanilla beans – are incredibly silky and decadent.  They melt in your mouth.   I wouldn’t be surprised if these truffles have inspired people to write poetry about them.

(In case Alter Eco is new to you, visit their website for more info.    Fair trade and organic ingredients?  Check.  Compostable packaging?  Check.  Dark chocolate with flavors such as burnt caramel, quinoa, and brown butter?  Check check check.)

Words may have failed me, but, if I remember correctly, everyone else had this to say:

“They’re SO creamy!”
“I remember you got the purple ones a long time ago.  They’re both really good.”
“I think these are my favorite.”
“Are there any more of those?”

There weren’t.   Be warned: Alter Eco Truffles (in Velvet) disappear.  Fast.

Because they’re really good.

Alter Eco Truffles - Coconut Oil + Cocoa Powder(This is proof I haven’t mastered the art of making coconut oil photogenic yet…)