Knit Cupcake and More Vere Reviews

knittedcupcake Nupur made me this cute knit cupcake!

I interviewed Nupur (One Hot Stove) for Food Interviews at my house. I love doing phone interviews with people across the country, but nothing beats face-to-face encounters. Not only did Jonathan (he’s now STLPhoto on Twitter) and I share a lovely dinner with Nupur and her husband, but Nupur actually brought me a knit cupcake! Is it not the cutest? I love it! Homemade gifts are the best. Thanks again, Nupur!

Speaking of free gifts, I recently heard from two more of the Vere chocolate winners. I had asked all of the winners to write reviews and they have all done such great jobs! I really appreciate everyone taking their reviewing seriously! Their chocolate reviews, in their own words, are after the break.

Be sure to also check out the other, already posted, Vere chocolate reviews.

Vere Chocolate Reviews from Bladerunner

We happened to be home when the package arrived, so the Boyfriend and I tried a couple of the flavors right away. A couple of weeks later, I shared some with my dad and his wife when they came over for dinner. When the Boyfriend and I tried them, the chocolate was a bit warm from being shipped. When my dad and his wife and I had the chocolate, it came straight from the refrigerator.

Me: HOLY SMOKES! (We both reach *quickly* for the water)
Boyfriend: Powerful! Very dark, slightly bitter, with an EXPLOSIVE cayenne finish. Too overpowering?
Me: Yeah, too overpowering for me. I was really glad I only took a small bite to start with.
Boyfriend: Not for me! (As he reached for another small piece)
Dad’s wife: It’s hot on the back of my throat. (Dad agrees with this.)
Dad: The cayenne give it kind of a pepper feel.

Me: I couldn’t taste much of either the lemon or the berry.
Boyfriend: Hm, strong berry, no lemon.
The diabetic boyfriend was thrilled to discover all of the chocolate bars have a lot fewer carbs than he’d thought – which means he can have more!
Dad: I got a strong raspberry flavor eventually, but it took a while coming. There’s not nearly as much dark chocolate flavor with this one.
Dad’s wife: I like this one the best so far (she tried it after the Banana-Macadamia and Espresso-Anise)

Me: I definitely don’t like it. But then I don’t like either espresso (or coffee, for that matter) or licorice. But in the interests of science, I tried it anyway. I got overwhelming licorice with an undercurrent of espresso.
Boyfriend: Surprisingly harmonic flavors. I like it. And I don’t like licorice.
Dad’s wife: I liked the Banana-Macadamia better. I don’t get any espresso taste.
Dad: No espresso, and the anise is too overpowering. The dark chocolate flavor is immediately overpowered by anise. (Dad doesn’t like licorice at all either)

Neither the Boyfriend or I have tried this one. I absolutely cannot stand the taste or smell of bananas, so I won’t be having any. The Boyfriend just hasn’t gotten around to it.

Dad: No banana taste, just dark chocolate flavor. (Apparently no macadamia taste either)
Dad’s wife: I don’t get any banana flavor either.

Ultimo Dark
Me: All of the bars I’ve tried have been darker and more bitter than I’d expected. I’m not a huge fan of dark chocolate, but I’ve liked it in the past. I don’t dislike this brand – it’s just out of my familiarity zone.
Dad: I like this the best of all (this is the last to try for him). The chocolate flavor isn’t diluted by anything else.
Dad’s wife: I like the raspberry-lemon the best, and this one next best.

Vere Chocolate Reviews from Verena

As a student of Dietetics, I am impressed with the list of simple ingredients and the use of organic products rather than a bunch of additives and unknown chemicals in the Vere chocolate bars. The chocolate bars have an even texture and shiny gloss, a sign of good tempering. They have a nice, clean snap which indicates freshness and high quality. Overall, the chocolates we have sampled taste bittersweet and dark, and carry a slightly smoky and earthy hint. The chocolate is not cloying and rich, and one is left with a somewhat bitter yet clean aftertaste. One small piece would be enough to satisfy a chocolate craving. The chocolate bars probably appeal to a more mature and sophisticated palate.

Here are more detailed comments on the five chocolate bars:

Raspberry and lemon – The chocolate is bittersweet and has a fruity note to it. There are small bits of raspberries in the chocolate and the occasional raspberry pits add some crunch to the bar. One can taste the tartness and tanginess from the raspberries. However, the lemon flavor is barely discernible. This may be due to the use of lemon oil rather than actual lemon peel or juice. Overall, the flavors are very subtle; I would want a stronger citrus note and a tangy punch in the chocolate.

Ultimo dark – The chocolate is very dark with a subtle sweetness, but it is neither bitter nor harsh. Although the chocolate does not have a perfectly smooth texture, it is not grainy either. It tastes slightly woody. This is a chocolate of a good quality, but in terms of personal taste, it is not my favorite type of plain dark chocolate bar.

Banana and macadamia – Once again, the chocolate is dark yet pure-tasting, with a slight fruitiness. The banana flavor is very subtle but it matches the dark chocolate better than I had expected, if only it could be slightly stronger. I like the use of actual banana puree in the chocolate. This obviates the risk of artificial-tasting, as is the case with many food products flavored with banana. I am not a big fan of nuts, but the small bits of macadamia nuts provide a pleasant crunchy texture. They remind me of nut brittle and taste somewhat like pop rock candy on the tongue.

Espresso and anise – The chocolate tastes dark but is not bitter. There isn’t a strong coffee flavor or aroma, but the coffee grains add a nice crunch and somewhat nutty texture. The flavor of the anise appears a bit later; it is herbaceous and reminds me of licorice and Chinese medicine, but is in no way harsh. This is my mother’s favorite and she comments that the combination of espresso and anise tastes unexpectedly pleasant and leaves one feeling light and refreshing.

Cayenne and cacao nibs – As with the other Vere chocolate bars, this bar tastes dark but isn’t overwhelming. The chocolate feels slightly velvety and has a good degree of sweetness that matches the spiciness from the cayenne pepper. The chocolate is not in-your-face spicy and the heat is not overpowering, but rather, provides a pleasant warmth on the tongue. The cacao nibs add a nice, crunchy texture to the chocolate which pairs well with the spicy background. This is my favorite flavor out of the batch of Vere chocolate bars.

If I were to rank the Vere chocolate bars in order of personal preference, it would be: Cayenne and cacao nibs, Espresso and anise, Raspberry and lemon, Ultimo dark, and lastly, Banana and macadamia nut.

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