Lion white

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As a fella who likes his chocolate, I certainly do like my candy bars. My favorites would be KitKat, Twix and Lion. Before I moved to China those three came only in their original form, besides the addition of KitKat Chunky. Coming back to Europe I found a Lion bar covered in white chocolate, which was something new to me.

The Lion bar was in texture exactly the same as the normal ones with a chewy caramel center and some crunchy puffed rice. The flavor was completely different though, as the white chocolate made the whole thing a little sweeter. I liked the flavors, and I think it worked well, though I still think regular chocolate is better.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 8

Cookie dough KitKat Chunky

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I’ve tried a couple of different KitKats from Japan before, but when I recently visited my home country of The Netherlands I found a special KitKat chunky with cookie dough. It seems to be bang on trend with cookie dough bars popping up all over the globe.

This KitKat had all the usual layers of crispy wafer and the chocolate coating, but the top part was a thick layer of some gooey substance that must be the cookie dough. The texture did remind me of cookie dough, be it slightly runny, but I didn’t get a big hit of cookie dough when it comes to taste. It was nice to eat, but not better than the original.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 7

Licorice and sea buckthorn chocolate

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On my way to Amsterdam from China, I had a stopover in Helsinki, Finland. As I was browsing the shops I came across some chocolate samples. There were, of course, all the usual flavors, but there was also an intriguing variety of licorice and sea buckthorn.

Now, licorice is a thing that is loved by Fins and Dutchmen alike, but it’s hated by just about everybody else. Sea buckthorn, according to the mighty Internet, is so stringent it’s not nice to eat, unless drank as a juice. Could two despised flavors be turned into a great piece of chocolate?

I say yes. The licorice gave the chocolate a savory note, a little salty, and the sea buckthorn gave it a mild sweetness that wasn’t overpowering. Together it tastes slightly bitter, slightly salty, slightly sweet and slightly medicinal. Think Jägermeister in chocolate form, and let’s face it, who doesn’t like Jägermeister.

Fear Factor – 2 / Taste Test – 8

Green tea Oreos

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After trying out several green tea dishes, I’ve started to grow accustomed to it. If the taste is not too strong, I can actually enjoy it. There was one green tea item that I’ve been meaning to try, and that’s the green tea Oreo. Oreo’s were my favorite cookies as a teenager, so I wanted to see how they would hold up with a green tea stuffing.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I like matcha when used in moderation. I also found that it works quite well with chocolate, be it white or dark. The green tea oreo gave me both these things. Because it wasn’t just green tea, but also that delicious chocolate cookie, the matcha was indeed not overpowering. The chocolate and tea were perfectly balanced. I guess I’ve been converted.

Fear Factor – 1 – Taste Test – 8

Bull’s testicle

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I’m writing the blog entry from my hotel room in Krakow, Poland. Last night I went to the great restaurant and steak house Ed Red. Ed Red is renowned for its dry aged steaks, but also serves some interesting nose-to-tail dining for the first courses. I asked you guys what you’d like me to try for my blog and the answer was “mountain oysters”. That’s the name given to bull’s testicle.

I’m not going to lie to you. I was indeed a bit grossed out at the idea of eating testicles, but the sense of adventure won me over. The dish came served just as beautifully as one would expect from a Michelin listed restaurant with a white chocolate sauce and grapes.

My first thought was, “Hey, this looks nice,” as I was expecting to just see one big old lump of meat on a plate as you see in some travel shows when they visit Spain. The ball itself looked much more like meat than organ meat, so that was a good sign as well. Then I had mustered enough courage to dig in.

Let me tell you, it was amazing. The texture was not fatty or chewy like most organ meats are, there was a real bite to it. I would compare it to a French boudin blanc. The taste was similar to a German white sausage, and I love sausage. This was a really nice piece of meat, but what really made it outstanding were the accompanying sweet grapes.

For anyone who is ever faced with the option of eating bull’s testicles, I would suggest to set your fears aside and just go for it. Do you have the balls?

Fear Factor – 7 / Taste Test – 10

Red M&Ms

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M&M’s China recently introduced an all red bag of M&M chocolate candies. Red is the national color of China, so it is only suiting to celebrate their nation’s color. Ok, so this is not really unusual food. It’s just a bit of fun, and a reason for me to eat more chocolate. As if anyone really needs a reason to eat chocolate. Look at the cool packaging though. That’s kind of unusual. Right?

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test 1

Truffle chocolate truffles

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I had previously written about black truffle ice-cream and said I had ever tried a truffle dessert before. Well, technically speaking that’s not entirely true as I did once get a truffle flavored chocolate truffle at the end of a degustation menu. That was at the strictly vegetarian restaurant Fu He Hui in Shanghai, which now holds one Michelin star.

I love my veggies, and it’s not easy to find vegetarian food at Michelin level, besides maybe in New York and Paris. You could choose from 4 differently prices menus that all consisted of 8 courses. Though with the addition of amuse bouche and those truffle it was closer to ten.

At the end when I got the truffle and put it in my mouth I didn’t know it contained black truffle. You can imagine my surprise as I bet into it. It was the best thing of the whole menu, and let me tell you the menu was great as it was. The truffle paired so beautifully with the chocolate it was just pure bliss. Oh how which to have one more.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test 10

Chili, pretzel & salt Magnum

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I love chocolate, and I love ice-cream, so for me there’s nothing better than a Magnum. I’ve always loved their smooth velvety ice-cream with its crispy chocolate coating. During my trip to Florence, Italy I stumbled upon a Magnum restaurant where you could assemble your own creation. I, of course, had to try.

I chose the dark chocolate coating and jumped on the savory sweet wagon with a sprinkle of pretzel, salt and chili flakes. The pretzel and the salt worked wonderfully with the dark chocolate. The chili flakes on the other hand were too overpowering. My mouth felt like it was on fire.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 5

White chocolate with bacon

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I’ve written before about the uprising of savory sweets such as salty caramel. One of the most popular of those is candied bacon. There’s something about the combination of sugar and salt that simply works. The first time I tried a bacon dessert was at a small tapas bar in Bali, Indonesia. After a great meal of Asian fusion tapas I ordered a white chocolate pudding with bacon that tickled my interest.

The pudding turned out to be a smooth and creamy ganache that tasted beautifully sweet. It was topped with small cubes of bacon that I assumed would be crispy and crunchy. Unfortunately the bacon was neither crispy nor crunchy but chewy. As is so often the case, it wasn’t the taste that I didn’t like, but the texture. I’m sure if the bacon had been crisped up I would have enjoyed the dish a lot more.

Fear Factor – 3 / Taste Test – 5

Sea Salt Chocolate

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Savory sweet has been one of the most prominent changes in desserts across the globe for the past few years. Salt and chocolate is not something you would easily find ten years ago, but now it’s there for the taking.

I picked up a bar of sea salt chocolate by Lindt chocolatiers at a local supermarket. I was a little weary that it might be too salty, but for the most part I was expecting no flavor of salt whatsoever, as I’ve not been able to find traces of salt in previous experiments such as salty caramel cheesecake.

The salt was definitely there, though. It blended in with the bitter chocolate perfectly with an even distribution. There was no bite that was overly salty, just as there was no bite without. It took a little getting used to, but in the end I polished off the whole bar.

Imagine stirring a bit of salt through your hot cocoa instead of spoonful of sugar, and you can get what the taste is like. Not sweet, but bitter and a little savory.

Fear Factor – 1 / Taste Test 8