My February Love with Food Box is here!

And I’m in love with the food that was sent in my February Love with Food box!

???????????????????????????????This month’s theme is “Sweet and Spicy Valentine’s Day” and they sent me some amazing treats in my box!

Included in this month’s box is a pouch of BobbySue’s Nuts (which I immediately opened and devoured, since I have already tasted and reviewed these yummy salty-sweet-gently spiced nuts!  I was so happy to have these in this box, because they are SO good!)  Also in this month’s box are:

  • two Truffle Piglets from Hagenborg Chocolates
  • Chocolate Madeleines from Donsuemor
  • Fruit Snacks from Funny Face
  • Jer’s Squares Chocolates
  • Pico de Gallo Bean & Rice Chips from Beanfields
  • Nektar Honey Crystals from Nektar Naturals
  • Tomato Basil Sipping Broth from Millie’s Savory Teas (This sounds like one very interesting “tea” blend – I can’t wait to try it!) 

There you have it, a stunning list of goodies from Love with Food.  This is the last month of my pre-purchased subscription that I got through my friend’s Groupon account, so, I’ve been considering whether or not I wanted to cancel this subscription … but, after receiving this box stuffed full of amazing goodies, I’ve decided I’m going to keep this subscription!  Yay!

Watch for reviews of each of these items.  I’ll probably be reviewing the tea broth on the SororiTea Sisters site … so be sure to check that site out as well for that review!

Coconut Palm Sugar Caramels from Kika’s Treats

Product Description:

Positively addictive, these chewy caramels are made from coconut palm sugar, then topped with puffed brown rice. The decadent, rich caramel is dipped in bittersweet chocolate, and finished with a delicate dusting of sea salt. It’s no wonder these handmade bars have a cult following.

Learn more about Kika’s Treats on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

As with most chocolate-y, caramel-y confections, I recommend selecting a black tea to enjoy with this treat.  I selected this Bolivian Whole Leaf Black Tea from KTeas to drink while tasting this candy, and it was the perfect choice.  The deep caramel-y flavors of the tea complemented the sweetness of the candy without adding a more cloying taste to the palate.  Instead, it actually seemed to refresh and cleanse the palate.  Delightful!

What I Think:

WOW!

Let me say that again:  WOW!

These are amazing!  I’m not at all surprised to see that these were voted the Best Caramels at San Francisco’s Chocolate Salon.  (As an aside, I think that I really need to attend this Chocolate Salon)

What really surprised me with my first bite was the crispy puffed brown rice.  Having not read the description of these caramels before taking a bite, it was a pleasant surprise to discover the crackly crunch of rice “crispies” in this confection.

The bittersweet chocolate is just a thin shell of chocolate, but, it provides the perfect ratio of bitterness to the candy.  I really like the balance of tastes.  Yes, it is sweet, but it is also salty with just a hint of bitter from that chocolate.  One confection tastes neither too sweet or salty or bitter, but, it is sweet enough to satisfy the sweet tooth after just one confection.

The caramel is made from coconut palm sugar, and while I don’t taste a lot of coconut influence in the overall confection, I can taste a hint of coconut there.  The texture of the caramel is slightly hard to the tooth when I first bite into the candy, but it quickly gives way and becomes chewy and softer.

I think what I’m enjoying most about these chocolates is that they possess not only a delicious balance of contrasting flavors but also contrasting textures, from the snap of the chocolate to the chewy caramel and crispy rice and crunch of the salt on top … these little squares are packed full of flavor.

My Final Thoughts:

These caramels are really delicious.  I don’t know that I like them better than my beloved Fran’s Caramels, but Kika certainly could give Fran a run for her money!  I like that this isn’t made from corn syrup (yeah, I know that they say “sugar is sugar” but I like it when I find a candy company that uses alternative sweeteners).  Not only does my sweet tooth approve, but somehow, I’m able to rationalize that these are better for me than the average candy bar, and I appreciate that.

 

Hand-Pulled Hard Candy from Papabubble

Product Description:

Old-fashioned candy-making has a hint of romance and whimsy to it, and when we saw these pretty and playful sweets from Papabubble, we nearly melted with delight. Fancifully colored, striped, dotted, filled with hearts, these candies are as tasty as they are pretty. The stretching technique they use on the sugar creates candies that melt away to the point that they crunch delicately between your teeth — no tooth-breakers here. Truly hand-made, candies like these are a rare treat in a fast-paced world. What better reason to eat these slowly, savoring each beautiful bauble one by one?

Learn more about Papabubble on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

I poured myself a cup of Ceylon Silver Tips from Empire Tea Services to enjoy with these little gems.  I found that the delicate, light flavor of the tea allowed for full enjoyment of the sweet flavor of the candy, and with each new flavor of the candy, the tea seemed to take on a whole new personality!  A wonderful tea pairing, indeed.

What I Think:

Of all the treats that arrived in this month’s Valentine’s Day Tasting Box from Foodzie, this was the one I was least excited about.  Don’t get me wrong, I love just about any kind of candy, but, as this was tucked amidst an array of chocolate confections, these beautiful hand-pulled hard candies just didn’t enchant me the way the chocolate selections did.

But these are incredible.  These ARE NOT the same hard candies that I remember sitting in candy dishes at Christmastime when I was a kid.  These little beauties were made with creativity, love and care … and that love can be tasted as it melts on the tongue.  These are true works of art, not just to the eye, but to the palate as well.

The little sampler pouch that arrived in the tasting box held approximately two dozen of tiny candies in assorted colors and each color represented a different flavor.

The first one I tried were the black and white candies which tasted of licorice, and I suspect that these were the aniseed.  They quickly became my favorite!  But then I tried the pale purplish-blue candies tasted like lavender and I loved those too!  The pink ones with the little black heart in the middle had a tartness to them that tasted like pink grapefruit.  YUM! I found myself falling in love with each new flavor that I tried.

My Final Thoughts:

I thought that these hard candies would be boring and not unlike the average hard candy you can find in the bulk section of the grocery store.  Oh, how wrong I was!  These are absolutely delicious!  I love them!

My Valentine’s Box is Here!

For the month of February, Foodzie focused on Valentine’s-y type themes from which to choose for the subscribers of the monthly tasting box.  There was the “Date Night” box which included ingredients to help make a memorable dinner at home for that someone special.  There was also the “Movie Night” box which included gourmet concession stand type goodies such as heirloom popcorn and chocolate covered raisins.  I was leaning towards choosing the Movie Night box because it included one ingredient that really intrigued me:  Chai Cola from Taylor’s Tonics.

However, the other items in the Movie Night box, while delicious in their own right, simply did not excite me as much as the idea of the Valentine’s Box which is filled with chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate … plus some hand pulled hard candies.  Did I mention the chocolate?

YES, I said chocolate!  And when Foodzie goes for the chocolate, they REALLY go for it!

Tucked inside my box this month is one of the most tempting array of chocolates I’ve yet to lay my eyes on.  (For a more tempting array, I suggest visiting The Meadow and feasting your eyes upon their wall of chocolate.) This box includes Dark Chocolate Toffee from Valerie Confections, Coconut Palm Sugar Caramels from Kika’s Treats, Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie from Blissful Brownies, Dark Chocolate Salted Almond Bar from Theo Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Covered Pistachios from Fiddyment Farms, and finally a bag of Valentine’s Candy from Papabubble.

This is truly a box created for … well, me!  The only thing that could have made it more perfect for me is perhaps some chocolate flavored tea, but then, as you might imagine, I do have some chocolate flavored tea in my tea cupboard that I will be brewing to enjoy with the sweet delights from this box.

Also tucked inside the box was the theme card.  Here is what the theme card has to say about the inspiration behind the Valentine’s Box:

My dad was my first Valentine long before Rob came along.  He would come home with a red heart-shaped box of chocolates and a big red balloon with a roll of SweeTarts weighted to the bottom for each of his four girls.  (I think those candies were always his subtle way of saying having daughters is mostly sweet with just a hint of sour.)  This box is our way of creating that same delight on Valentine’s Day, with a slightly more grown-up taste.  We’re thinking outside the heart-shaped box, with a full artisan chocolate bar, hand-pulled hard candies, palm sugar caramels, pistachios enrobed in chocolate, a fudgy peanut butter brownie, and dark chocolate-covered toffee.  Perhaps you’ll share them with a spouse, a significant other, or a few of your besties, but if you choose to keep hem all to yourself, we won’t love you any less for it.  ~Emily & Rob

Hmm… sharing chocolate is not something that comes easily for me.  So I’ll keep you posted on that.