October 16, 2012, by Recovering Chocoholic
Chocolate: The World’s Finest Souvenir
Some of the best things in life come from abroad, but travel can be expensive.
Luckily, I have friends who travel all over the world. So, when I used to crave French cigarettes (during those crazy days of grad school when smoking seemed like a good idea), I asked a friend living in Italy to bring them to me. I’ve reformed my ways, but friends are still generous about transporting other treats from afar.
Let me tell you about this chocolate bar from Trentino, Italy.
Sweets from the Sweet
My sister-in-law (well, not really, but that’s a topic for another blog) hand-carried this bar of chocolate home from Italy for my husband and me. She could have brought any number of souvenirs—anything from a salt cellar to a lace head covering. I’m glad she didn’t. I’m all for useful souvenirs (yes, I could make use of a lace head covering—don’t ask if you don’t want to know), but to win the way to my heart, feed me a sweet that no one else can reasonably get.
But What about the Chocolate?
I hold in my hands a bar of Exquisita Cioccolato Ripiena Mela Trentina. What does that mean? Made by Exquisita, this chocolate is filled with apples from Trentino (way up in the north of Italy). According to my sister-in-law, apples are a specialty of the region.
The bar is thick—so thick that it’s difficult to break. But when I finally do, there is a clear snap. A few slivers fly off and I manage to recover them. Treats this precious must be savored down to the last atom.
The ingredients list says the chocolate content is a minimum of 61%. But it tastes more like 75 or 80%. I think that’s because there is less sugar in the bar overall. The nearly bitter chocolate melts nicely over my tongue and even a small bite leaves me satisfied.
I’m looking for flavor profiles and undertones, but honestly the best comparison is to an adult version of popping fistfuls of frozen Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips into my mouth. YUM!
And the apples. Normally, I don’t love fruit in chocolate—gummy sweet bits with no real flavor. But these tiny, chewy morsels (small enough not to interfere with the chocolate) are richly distributed throughout the bar and taste like they were air dried in the field. As I chew, they rehydrate and release even more delicious flavor. Like with the chocolate, flavor is emphasized over sweetness.
Everyone Should Be as Spoiled as I Am
My childhood was filled with international sweets. Now that travel is something I mostly reminisce about, I am grateful for the kind souls who remember me in their travels. And the first half of this chocolate bar was so satiating; I may even share the other half of the spoils with my husband.
Spoil your friends and loved ones. Consider the gift of chocolate (or any other delicacy) the next time you wonder what to bring home from that fabulous trip. You’re sharing the world’s finest with them and giving the gift of a memory—one that always fits and requires absolutely no shelf space.