December 21, 2008
After the cupcake and frozen yogurt craze, Manila is wild about chocolates once again. :) Check out these 8 chocolate finds leading the choco craze this Christmas season...
Royce' has a cult following in Manila and is the favorite chocolate pasalubong from Singapore, Hongkong and Japan. But you don't have to travel far for it anymore. Finally, Royce' opened its flagship store in Manila last Dec. 6 at the 3rd floor of the Power Plant Mall in Rockwell.
Nama chocolates are velvety smooth -- each piece literally melts in your mouth. Five (5) regular flavors are currently available: Au Lait (pronounced as "olay"), White, Champagne, Mild Cacao and Bitter. I usually avoid the chocolates with alcohol like Champagne and Au Lait because Rache is still nursing Syoti Joshua. I love the Mild Cacao. What's your favorite?
The Manila store carries almost the complete line in Singapore, which include: Pure Chocolate, Nutty Bar Chocolate, Potechi Chocolate, Baton Cookies, Chocolate Wares, Bar Chocolate, Potato Chip Chocolate, Orange/Kirsh/Praline Truffe, Kurumaro Chocolate, Macadamia Chocolate, Criollio Chocolate, Coffee Bean Chocolate, Karintosh Chocolate, Prafeuille Chocolate and Marshmallow Chocolate. Filipinos particularly love the Potato Chip Chocolate (P540, and P990 Large), which you can eat while watching a movie at Rockwell.
If you'd like an alternative to Royce' Nama chocolates, try Sachi Nama Chocolates (a different Japanese brand), which are sold in Heavenly Chocolates for only P350.
These are sold out almost every time we go to Coffee Bean in Boni High Street. Finally, they decided to sell these coffee beans covered with chocolate. It is a good alternative to having actual coffee and chocolate separately. These chocolates are used as the main ingredient for the Ultimate Mocha or Vanilla drink in Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.
The bitterness of the coffee is neutralized by the sweetness of the chocolate. It is like eating coffee in a capsule. I heard they are only selling these chocolates this Christmas season. Royce' also sells Coffee Bean Chocolates for P690.
These Heavenly Chocolate beans are used to create your own hot chocolate at home. We love the Ecuador chocolates, which are characterized by "strong and intense, full-bodied, bitter, hint of smoky notes" (see our Heavenly Chocolates experience). Heavenly Chocolates is also educating Filipinos on the different chocolate flavors based on the origin of the beans. This is similar to appreciating wines based on their terroir.
Flavor Guide to Cacao Origins
ECUADOR - Strong and intense, full-bodied, bitter, with a hint of smoky notes. For true-blue chocoholics
GHANA - Smooth, rounded, uncomplicated. Well-received in Japan and Korea, and by children too
IVORY COAST - Rich cocoa with a nutty flavor. Provides more than a third of world's cocoa bean supply
MADAGASCAR - Unique and exotic, with distinct fruity notes of raisins. Available on a seasonal basis
PERU - Mild cocoa, has delicate floral notes with a background of dry flowers. Currently in limited supply worldwide
Palawan is famous for its cashew nuts pasalubong, which comes in yummy varieties -- roasted, fried, brittle and now covered in chocolate. We found these chocolate-covered cashews while we were shopping in tiangge-tiangge in Puerto Princesa in Palawan. The chocolate used is similar to Curly Tops, which is a Filipino favorite. It is sold in a snack-size foil pack by KJV Homemade Goodies. (I'm not sure if there are other brands available in Palawan.)
Chocoholics will fall in love with Pam's hand-rolled truffle chocolates. We love to give these as gifts for special people and we can give it as is because of the nice packaging. They are packed in 12's, but I would suggest that you request to have it packed into 20 small ones. Each piece is rich in taste, soft like a marshmallow and melts in your mouth like nama chocolates. (Who is Risa?)
They also sell Rockafella, which are crunchy liqueur-tinged almond slivers covered in chocolate with sunny citrus bits on top. It is either you love it or you hate it. I am in the latter camp, but it is worth a try. I am proud to say that Pam is a cousin-in-law and she is an up-and-coming chocolatier in Manila.
Chocovron is a simple innovation of coating the Filipino's favorite polvoron in white or dark chocolate. We love the cookies and cream-flavored polvoron. You can have a choice of coating it in chocolate, milk chocolate, or 2-in-1 (half choco, half milk). This is seriously addicting and the makers have perfected the combination of the flavors. It comes in individual blue packs and you can order it in a box this Christmas season.
They are doing their rounds in the different bazaars in Manila and you can check out their official Chocovron website.
7. Vosges Haut Chocolat
Vosges Exotic Chocolates by Chicago-based chocolatier Katrina Markoff are the favorite chocolate pasalubong from the US. She is personally involved in picking the finest ingredients all over the world for her luxurious treats -- and her dedication pays off very well.
Check out these flavors:
Woolloomooloo Bar: roasted & salted macademia nuts, Indonesian coconut, hemp seeds, deep milk chocolate, 41% cacao
Creole Bar: New Orleans-style chicory coffee, Sao Tome bittersweet chocolate, cocoa nibs, 70% cacao
Black Pearl Bar: wasabi, ginger, black sesame seeds, dark chocolate, 55% cacao
Naga Bar: sweet Indian curry powder, coconut flakes, deep milk chocolate, 41% cacao
Macha Bar: Japanese macha green tea, deep milk chocolate, 41% cacao
Gianduja Bar: almonds, caramelized hazelnuts, deep milk chocolate
Barcelona Bar: hickory-smoked almonds, grey sea salt, deep milk chocolate, 41% cacao
Oaxaca Bar: guagillo and pasilla chillies, Tanzanian bittersweet chocolate, 75% cacao
Red Fire Bar: Mexican ancho & chipotle chillies, Ceylon cinnamon, dark chocolate, 55% cacao
Mo's Bacon bar: applewood-smoked bacon, Alder wood smoked salt, deep milk chocolate, 41% cacao
Our couple favorite is Mo's Bacon Bar. Rache likes the Black Pearl Bar, while I like the strong Oaxaca Bar and the Red Fire Bar.
It comes with a suggestion on how to enjoy an exotic candy bar (and I quote):
Find a quiet space. Close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths.
There should be a glossy shine to the chocolate bar, this shows a good temper; rather, a tight bond between the cocoa butter and the cocoa mass.
Rub your thumb on the chocolate to help release the aromas. Inhale the chocolate, fruit, herb, or spice notes deeply through your nose. What do you smell?
Chocolate should always be dry to the touch. Break the bar into two pieces. Hear a crisp, ringing pop which indicates a well-tempered bar of chocolate. You will hear the loudest snap with dark chocolate, a soft break with milk, and a faint whisper with white (gianduja is the exception and is a bit moist).
Take a small piece of chocolate, break it into pieces in your mouth and press it to your palate. Within thirty seconds, the chocolate will slowly begin to melt around your tongue. The taste should not be evanescent, it should have a long permeating finish.
Take a deep breath and notice the lingerings of flavor and sensation.
Good ideas, don't you think?
"Welcome to the world of Chocolate Fire; the ultimate gourmet sensation as never seen before. At Chocolate Fire we allow the finest couverture Belgian chocolate to blaze in new smooth delectable pleasures." Chocolate Fire Website
I am super curious about Chocolate Fire. Can you share some information about these chocolates?
Live an Awesome Life in God's Grace,
Text by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2008.
Mobile: +63917-LOVEOAP (5683627)
P.S. What's your Favorite Chocolate Find in Manila?