Monday, October 14, 2019

Edible Jewels

Ed and I recently watched an episode of Arizona Illustrated on PBS that showcased a local chocolatier here in Tucson.  How did I not know this place existed??

Monsoon Chocolate, an award-winning chocolate maker, is a bean-to-bar chocolate factory.  They are located in a former tortilla factory in the Barrio Santa Rosa Historic District.  
As you can see in the photos above and below, giant blocks of chocolate are on display at the factory.  They source cacao from all over the world - Madagascar, Peru, Vitenam, Jamaica, Mexico, Tanzania, Ecuador, and more.
This bowl - and I don't know why I didn't take a picture of the inside of the bowl - contained homemade marshmallows.  Free for the asking.  They were delicious.

Their cafe menu offers brownies, cookies, muffins, pots de crème, chocolate tacos and more.  To wash these treats down, you can choose from hot chocolate, frozen granita, horchata, coffee, tea, juice.

Small pieces of crushed cacao beans.  That's the description of cocoa nibs.  I didn't buy any but now I think I have to make another trip to get a package.  I'm sure I can figure out plenty of things to sprinkle them on or mix them into - yogurt, oatmeal, banana bread, smoothies.  I've even read they have some very significant health benefits - rich in antioxidants, reduce heart disease and diabetes risk, highly nutritious.  Hmmm.  Definitely making another trip to Monsoon Chocolate.  

Here's a photo of a corner of the cafe.

Beautiful chocolate bars. I'm very drawn to the wrapping.  
Here's the box of Bon Bons we purchased.  Each Bon Bon is $3, so not a cheap treat.  But if you were to see the PBS special and understood the way they handcrafted these jewel-toned morsels, you'd understand the reason for the high cost.
All of their Bon Bons are made using their “Monsoon Blend” of bean-to-bar chocolate, which is crafted using cocoa beans from Ecuador, Madagascar, and Uganda. Check out their complete flavor guide.

Here’s a description of the ones we got:

Top Left: Whiskey del Bac Dorado (2 Layers. Buttery caramel and a rich dark chocolate ganache, both infused with Hamilton Distillers’ mesquite-smoked whiskey. Enrobed in 69% “Monsoon Blend” dark chocolate.)

Top Right: Black Cherry Cocoa Nib Caramel (Black cherry caramel with Costa Esmeraldas cocoa nibs. Enrobed in 69% “Monsoon Blend” dark chocolate.)

Bottom Left: Prickly Pear Caramel (Soft caramel made with prickly pear cactus fruit. Enrobed in 69% “Monsoon Blend” dark chocolate.) 

Bottom Right: Chiltepin (Dark chocolate ganache infused with chiltepin pepper. Enrobed in 69% “Monsoon Blend” dark chocolate.)

Center: Mezcal Caramel (Soft caramel center infused with Mezcal Vago Espadin. Enrobed in 69% “Monsoon Blend” dark chocolate.)

I shared the Bon Bons with my family on our recent Family Dinner night.  We cut each one into three pieces (tiny pieces) so everyone could have a little taste of the one they were interested in.  I was very impressed.  Of these, my favorite was the Black Cherry Cocoa Nib and the Prickly Pear Caramel.

I think this is a beautiful hostess gift, especially if you know the recipient is a chocolate lover.  Opening this little box of jewels is much more exciting than pulling the cork on yet another bottle of wine. 

What I'm trying to say here people, is that if you come to my house for dinner, I fully expect to see these in your hand. 

I thank you in advance.

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Run, Roll, And Rain
2017: Bee Stop

2016: Prepping The Butt
2015: Strangled By The Capital Beltway
2014: Even The Deer Are Bored
2013: Happy "Columbus" Day!
2012: Not So Subtle
2011: Satan Called. He Wants His Weather Back.
2010: If Only I Looked As Good As He Does
2009: What Grandmothers Do When Their Grandchildren Grow Up
2008: The View Of The Valley And Meadow
2007: A Beautiful Dimple In The Earth
2006: Dive The Sky
2005: G-Y-M