February 3, 2005
all spiced up
As if I didn't have enough chocolate while in Japan, I brought back some more chocolate from there... this time a bit more luxury one.
I got this rather small box of chocolate called Les Quatre Elements at a Tokyo Godiva shop. I had seen it on their website since last autumn but could not find it in Hawaii - I suspect they don't have it in the US. In Europe Godiva does have one, although they simply call it Les Elements. I wonder why they added "quatre" to its Japanese version.
Anyways, as its name "four elements" indicates, there are four pieces of chocolate nested in the box, each representing one of the four elements: fire, water, earth, and wind. And all of them are designed and flavored inspired by the respective elements, as follows:
Fire - passion: bitter chocolate ganache with ginger and cayenne pepper
Water - relaxation: white chocolate ganache with dill
Earth - concentration: milk chocolate ganache with rosemary
Wind - vitality: bitter chocolate ganache with 13 spices of curry
As far as I can remember, this must been the first time for me buying a Godiva chocolate for myself to eat. Honestly, it is a "when I buy it it's for someone else, and when I eat it it's from someone else" kind of item to me at least. Besides, I have never really been tempted to buy a Godiva chocolate anyways (personally I much prefer Neuhaus if I'd choose a Belgian chocolate). But since it was a mix of spice & herb chocolate, I had been very much tempted to try.
So I tried everything of course (I did share them with him, though).
Frankly, they were all good, really got a flavor of respective heab/spices - even curry one. Chocolate with curry may not sound highly palatable, but it was only slightly curry-like; there was just a hint of all the different kinds of spices, and actually I wouldn't even have figured it was "curry" flavor if I hadn't known. Well I particularly liked "fire" and "earth", probably because I love ginger and rosemary. Only thing I would complain is a) they are a bit too expensive to buy a lot and b) they aren't available in here anyways.
And speaking of chocolate with spice, I got a bar of dark chocolate with wasabi, ginger and black sesame seeds called "Naga Bar" from Vosges in Honolulu, at Neiman Marcus in Ala Moana Shopping Center.
Well I bought it before heading for Japan and never even opened it, and it was right before leaving for Hawaii when I read Heidi's post about brownie using Naga Bar, and thought oh! I got this!
In the end I took it all the way back to Hawaii again, and just recently opened it, finally. When I opened the package, it didn't even smell of spice, but there was just an aroma of good dark chocolate. One bite, hum, it doesn't taste like ginger or wasabi... and then, all of sudden, a kick of wasabi emerged, and lingered on for a while. Now I could definitely tell the taste of wasabi, even if it was still a lot more subtle than I had expected. I didn't taste too much of ginger in it, either. It was very discreet.
Black sesame seeds were visible at least, and the chocolate itself was neatly designed by the way (mouse over the image). I browsed their website and was really excited with all the flavors they have, and nearly splurged on a box of exotic truffles, only to realize the shipping charge was just ridiculous. Twenty-five dollars for a box of truffle might be acceptable especially if it was for a special occasion, but a shipping costing more than that can't be an option for me... I will probably have to wait till next time I am in Oahu maybe.
So the wasabi-ginger chocolate is gone, but I still have a stack of spicy/herby chocolate from my last trip to the mainland. DAGOBA's got a pretty appealing line of chocolate of uncommon flavors, including lavender and blueberries I tried a while ago. This time I got more:
Chai (milk chocolate with chai spices and crystallized ginger bits), mint (dark chocolate with mint and a hint of rosemary), xocolatl (dark chocolate with chili, cacao nibs, maca, nutmeg, and vanilla), lime (dark chocolate with lime and macadamia nuts), and lavender. I have tried them all (eh, I got two of each) and they were all good - I really liked mint (w/rosemary) and xocolatl among others.
Since I read the above-linked post by Heidi, I have been wondering how it would turn out if I make chocolate cake/brownies using such herbs and spices instead of using readily-flavored chocolate bars. Chocolate cake with chili has been known to be good, then how about wasabi chocolate cake? Rosemary brownies, maybe? I should give it a try one of these days, as I happen to have more than 2 pounds of Valrhona dark chocolate!
posted by chika at: 2/03/2005 02:28:00 AM