Thursday, September 10, 2009

You Say Bark, I Say Slab - Some Like it Ruff

After reading my post on bark (releasing the hounds of habit), my good buddy Don sent me the following:

Man Charged With Striking Girlfriend, Forcing Her To Bark

A Dunn man was arrested after he allegedly hit his girlfriend with a whip and made her bark like a dog on all fours. Brian William Cook, 35, was arrested at his home after his live-in girlfriend reported he began arguing with her and slapped her when she would not call him “sir.” He then allegedly grabbed her by the hair and hit her with a “bondage stick.” The woman told police he made her get on her knees and ordered her to bark like a dog. Cooke was charged with assault on a female. He was held at the Harnett County Jail without bond.

First of all, let me say that this was not what I had in mind.

Secondly, both Don and I think that if this was really a live-in girlfriend, she probably saw the "bondage stick" before and might just like it a little ruff.

(Thanks, Don - there just can't be too many bad puns in the world!)

Since we're still talking bark, I've learned that some chocolate makers call it bark, at Hotel Chocolat they call it slabs. I think slabs is more accurate. If it was all bumpy (nuts and fruit on top), I think bark would be better. These thick smooth things look more like slabs to me. But, hey, as long as it's made of chocolate, who even cares what they call it!
This is an assortment of 10 of Hotel Chocolat's mini slabs:

Hotel Chocolat is a UK company. Can you see the subtle British flag in the packaging? (look at all the bars as a whole.) How cool is that?

I just think the packaging is gorgeous. Each bar comes in a different colored envelope/box with a beautiful metallic wrapper.

Here's a little about them from their website:

All good stories need a bad guy, an antagonist who sparks the action. For us that bad guy was the mediocre quality of chocolate available in UK stores. So, 15 years ago, co-founders Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris embarked on a journey to do something about it.

Starting as a mail order catalog business, we began making our brand of exclusive chocolates available to UK consumers for the first time. An award-winning website soon followed and in 2004 the first of many Hotel Chocolat retail stores appeared across the UK. The company and their chocolate have a loyal following all over the world, and have established a presence in the United States to better serve the American chocolate connoisseur.

The combination of authentic, premium ingredients with plenty of imagination and flair is something we’re passionately committed to. And it’s a position that we have strengthened by growing our own cocoa at our historic plantation, Rabot Estate in St Lucia. This exciting step allows us to extend our expertise all the way from the bean to the bar – making a unique connection between you the consumer and the cocoa plantation.

And guess what? Holy smokes!!!! This is some damn good chocolate!!!

And you can order it at

We're going to review just two of the slabs to start:

As usual, I thought I wouldn't like this one - Chilli & Orange Dark Chocolate with 74% cocoa - and was wrong (again).

Their description - chilli (yeah, that's how they spell it) has been teamed with cocoa since the pre-Aztec era in South America. The addition of zingy orange adds a new dimension which really works.

I agree - this bar rocks! The chili is VERY subtle and the orange balances it out. The chocolate is so good that even at 74% it's smooth and delicious. BAM!! Well done! It makes you see how chili can really work with chocolate.

This next bar is sin in a wrapper. (All the slabs come either one really thick slab or two thinner slabs to a pack.) This one is Smooth Praline Fusion:

Isn't it beautiful? Their description: Mellow milk chocolate praline meets creamy hazelnut praline in a gorgeous swirl that will melt away in the mouth like butter on hot toast.

Damn skippy! That's exactly what happens and it is AWESOME!! Once you start eating this you will never want to stop - so sweet, creamy and delicious - it should be illegal.

The only improvement in my mind would be to mix the two a little more. Maybe to have the whole bar swirled. The hazelnut is so sweet and creaming you need a little of the chocolate to balance it. But, hey - that's minor. This bar is simply amazing.

More slabs to come!! But let's keep the bondage sticks to a minimum.

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