Several months ago, I saw a “flat lay” of a variety of chocolate bars on someone’s Instagram feed and was captivated by the endearing hedgehog graphic of an unknown-to-me bar. Luckily, the post hash-tagged that chocolate by name so that I could search them out for myself! After reading the “backstory” of each bar on Only Child Chocolate’s website, I knew I had to try their trio of inclusion bars with adorable graphics & even cuter, pun-inspired names!
Since this purchase was made during the summer heat, owner Yana Yakhnes sent me a sweet, detailed email to ensure that I was aware of all the caveats of shipping from Portland, Oregon to Southern California. I assured her that I would be home to greet the mail carrier and that the chocolates would be well cared for once they arrived to me. What a thrill to receive the chocolates just a couple of days later…she had thoughtfully included a few bonus nib-topped solid chocolate heart bonbons + a colorful fringed, party paper blowout (think of a vintage noisemaker toy that doesn’t actually make noise!) Receiving that package brightened my day & was the perfect way to start the weekend 🙂
Hedgehog in the Fog (34% white choc with bergamot & black pepper)
This bar was named after a Russian cartoon where the two animal characters (a hedgehog and bear) would search for each other in a misty forest so that they can have tea together. This particular hedgehog must be drinking an Earl Grey tea since bergamot oil is what gives Earl Grey its distinctive taste.
The thick plain brown cardboard outer box is completely wrapped by a sticker with the eye-catching graphic on one side and the ingredients/informational details on the other. Since that sticker covers the flaps of the box, I needed a knife or letter opener to slice open the package so as to preserve the sticker intact…a minor inconvenience that most people probably wouldn’t notice or care about.
The four rectangle bar is wrapped in a re-sealable plastic sleeve and upon opening that, lemon was the predominant aroma (I’m so surprised that I didn’t sneeze when sniffing the cracked black pepper inclusion side!)
I always thought of bergamot as an orange-y flavor, so I decided to do some research on this citrus fruit. In case you’re interested too, here is a link to an article with more information.
Ordinarily I’m not a fan of white chocolate…this not-too-sweet bar was creamy & smooth, with just the right amount of cracked black pepper to provide a gentle back-of-the-throat lingering heat. While taking photos, I had to remind myself that this was not a savory white cheddar cheese 😉
Rosemary and Ginger Walk Into a Bar (38% milk chocolate with rosemary & candied ginger)
How can you not smile when looking at the slender sprig of rosemary and the ginger rhizome enjoying a cocktail together on the front of this packaging?
Like the white chocolate bar, the inclusion side of this bar is so photogenic, with its mostly evenly distributed clusters of crumbled candied ginger sitting atop rosemary-infused milk chocolate.
During the first couple of bites, I tasted and smelled mostly rosemary (which is a pleasant aromatherapy experience in itself!) The distinctive tangy “bite” of the candied ginger seemed to be cumulative & made itself known soon enough. While ginger might be a divisive ingredient, it is personally one of my favorite flavors. In my opinion, the creamy, smooth milk chocolate flecked with earthy rosemary paired well with the savory candied ginger. There are so many culinary and herbal benefits to rosemary and ginger…maybe this bar should be considered a “health food”?! ;-p
The Sun and the Sea (70% Venezuelan dark chocolate with sunflower seeds & sea salt)
Saving the best for last!
Upon removing the bar from the packaging, it was obvious why sunflower seeds were listed as the first ingredient 🙂 This bar reminded me more of a thin Rice Krispies treat than an inclusion bar!
It seems like generous handfuls of unsalted roasted sunflower seeds were coated with dark chocolate, formed into a bark/slab and dotted with quick melting large sea salt crystals.
I didn’t really notice olive oil, though it’s listed as an ingredient. Maybe this helped to keep the bar shiny and smooth? While it was hard to isolate the chocolate from the seeds themselves, I certainly didn’t mind as I munched away blissfully and tried hard not to eat the entire bar in one sitting!
Paraphrasing from the website, these unexpected flavors seize you by the hand and take you on a joyful adventure. To learn more, check out: http://onlychildchocolate.com/