Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chocolate Chaos

Quick update on my impeding bionicness (aka hip surgery). I'm going in on the Monday of Thanksgiving week (hey, business is slow then, right?) and should be released into the wild on Thursday or Friday of that week. If all goes as well as expected, I'll be heading home (and not to evil rehab). Will keep you posted. I'm hoping not to be blogging from the old folk's home - which is basically where rehab is. Apparently my surgeon is a hip surgery god and is on the cutting edge of a new, much less invasive technique. He does about 12 hip replacements a week, so I figure he knows what he's doing.

Since I'm going to be housebound for most of the month of December, I have been scoping out the Christmas chocolates, so don't worry - I will have plenty of holiday scoop for you. Preview - Palmer has some more surprises. I scored the Godiva seasonal truffles, but will be bed bound when their holiday stars come out. Maybe one of you can snag some for me! ; )

I recently met one of the owners of Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours. Actually he found me through my crazy newsletter and this blog. Taste Carolina is based in Raleigh and has a chocolate tour!! Actually, they have a couple. I haven't been on them yet, but plan to as soon as I'm back on my feet.

Taste Carolina has a great website: http://www.tastecarolina.net/

And how awesome is that logo?? Love it!!!!

Anyway, Joe Philipose is a great guy who knows all about food. He took me to a great restaurant for lunch AND brought me chocolate! It really doesn't get any better than that!

The chocolate he brought me was from Raleigh chocolatier Teresa Wilkerson. Her website is www.wrchocolatier.com.

They are gorgeous - look at this one:

The chocolates were all labeled, but things got mixed up in my journey home. This must be the key lime pie - described as a white chocolate graham cracker crust topped with a lime ganache. Okay - it was the only green one, so I thought it must be the key lime. The flavor was so subtle I honestly couldn't tell.

This one is a gorgeous red - I just couldn't get the light right for the photo. And it's delicious. It's a dark chocolate with fresh anise seeds. (I think.) I really don't know how to describe the taste of anise - the WR website describes is as a hint of licorice. I'm not a big licorice fan, but I really enjoyed this one, so ... Maybe it was anise, maybe not?

The middle front one is vanilla caramel and it was terrific - as far as those liquidy caramels go:

Many of the top chocolatiers like this type of caramel, and it is delicious and sensual, but I like a little chew to my caramel. Not too much (a la Sugar Daddy), but a little like the Harry and David Pumpkin Spice Caramels. Softer than a Tootsie Roll, but not pourable. This caramel is pourable.

That said, there is a good balance with the dark chocolate - a nice light flavor to contrast with the stronger dark chocolate. How do you all like your caramel?

The round dome in the center top is Espresso Cinnamon. It's described as milk chocolate ganache infused with fresh espresso and cinnamon. Very smooth, very creamy and I can taste the espresso and the cinnamon - great combo. Yum!! And I know what it is - wheeee!!!!

Look at the gorgeous heart! It's so pretty and so delicious - 72% dark chocolate without a trace of bitterness. Smooth and delicious. A crowd pleaser.

See the "hat" on the far right? I'm not sure which one this is. The only one left is champagne. I taste the white chocolate, but I'm not getting the champagne. I don't even know if this is the champagne! The description says milk chocolate and champagne - the only description that mentions white chocolate is the key lime pie. But surely that's the green one... This is the only one left, so I guess it must be.... These are VERY subtle, maybe too subtle for me. I'm not sure if I'm matching up the right chocolates to their descriptions!

Milk chocolate ganache on the inside. Champagne? Something else? I can't tell by the flavor.

I can't blame the chocolatier - these were all packaged up and labeled when she sent them. There was someone who insisted we open them at lunch......hey, it wasn't me!! Once the box got opened, all hell broke loose. And you see the results. Anarchy! Chaos! Confusion!

Ah, remember the good old days of the Whitman's Sampler? You really couldn't mess that baby up! (But it still didn't keep my brother and I from squeezing a chocolate to see what was in it. And then putting it back! My poor Mom never got a decent box of chocolates.)

I've learned a lesson about myself - I like the labels. I want to know what each chocolate is. I can't really appreciate all the nuances without a little information. I think many things in life are like that - the more we know about something or someone, the more we can appreciate it (or them).

A few Christmases ago I toured the Biltmore House. I'd been before and didn't get the audio guide, I just wandered through and read the panels. This time I got the audio guide. I learned all kind of cool things I would have never guessed. Information adds depth and excitement.

And it helps you figure out the difference between champagne and key lime pie.


Kris, in New England said...

Oooo - less than 2 weeks from the start of your new, pain-free life. I am so excited for you - I know, it's sick but only a hip-chick would truly understand.

Email me with any questions - seriously. Even during your recovery; I want to help you, can you tell? It's a karmic gift.

Denise Ryan said...

I can tell!!! Thanks so much!! I'll probably panic next week and e-mail you like crazy!! Thanks, Kris - it's so nice to know you're out there!

Kris, in New England said...

It's impossible to find someone our age who has had a total hip replacement. We are 25+ years younger than the average, so info for us is minimal at best.

Interesting: word verification is...angst.

Joe said...

You finally tried the chocolates?!!? That's great. I've been waiting since we had lunch. So glad you liked them. I also appreciate the kind words about me and Taste Carolina. Hope to see you soon!!!

Denise Ryan said...

Thanks, Joe!!! You're the best!!!!

diane said...

oooohh now we have dates! You'll have to begin watching your mailbox after Thanksgiving. There's no telling what those COC devotees are liable to send! ;)

Denise Ryan said...

Diane - thanks for your support!!! Send me some good thoughts!! And I'm defienitly coming that way in February - so we WILL get together and celebrate!!!