Tag Archives: boulder

Robin Chocolates mint chocolate chip truffle

We’re coming off a gorgeous weekend in Vancouver, and it’s almost warm enough to be summer. My favourite thing about summer – aside from being outside, barbecues, beach, sundresses and painted toenails – is mint chocolate chip ice cream from Baskin Robbins. It reminds me of being a kid, bouncing around in the backseat of my parents’ car as we went for dessert in the summer. We’d buy ice cream cones, wait for my dad to finish his, and then get in the car and drive to the beach.

The Baskin Robbins that we went to is now a vietnamese noodle house. Sigh.

Well, I had high hopes for Robin Chocolates‘ mint chocolate chip truffle. It’s a mint-flavoured white chocolate ganache, with little chocolate chips inside. The flavour is actually dead-on, and were it a shocking shade of pale green, I’d really think that it was the stuff of ice cream dreams. 

The mint is such a powerful flavour that you don’t taste the white chocolate except for the slightly cloying, milky aftertaste that white chocolate usually leaves in my mouth. I’m not the biggest fan of white chocolate, but I think that if you’re going to use it as a base, you should let its flavour come out just a wee bit. There was also a strange crunchiness to the edges of the ganache, like the outside edges had crystallized a little bit. Hrm.

I think I’ll stick to the Baskin Robbins.

You can buy Robin Chocolates here. Their online store isn’t up yet. If you ask very nicely they might ship stuff to you, but only if you live in the continental US.

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Robin Chocolates chocolate caramel fleur de sel

Every Christmas, I make edible gifts. Last year, I made chocolate caramels that were to die for. I ended up making a second batch because I ate so many quality control samples. Little did I know, they’re fun to make and fun to eat, but such a bitch to wrap in cellophane. Wrap, wrap, crinkle, crinkle. Shoot me now.

Well, Robin Chocolates took the smart route and put their chocolate caramel inside a molded chocolate. Chocolate caramel, as opposed to straight caramel, tends to be a less oozy and messy. The chocolate provides a bit of structure to the whole thing, and while it really does depend on the actual recipe, it’s generally a firm caramel.

There are little flakes of fleur de sel on top of the chocolate, which is a crunchy, salty surprise. The chocolate for the shell is slightly darker than the other pieces I tried, and that bitterness plays well off the sweet (but not cloying) caramel.

I do think the caramel’s a little bit, well, oily. It doesn’t taste extra buttery, so I don’t think it’s excess butter. I almost wonder if it’s an alternative sugar, like glucose, or some other invert sugar. Caramel’s a little bit temperamental, and if you’re not careful you can get a big mess of over-crystallized sugar (picture rock candy, but without the stick). Sometimes candy makers will dope their caramel with some other kind of sweetener to minimize the chance of over-crystallization.

It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s a bit distracting. I think I’ll stick to my own chocolate caramel, with a bit of fleur de sel sprinkled on top.

You can buy Robin Chocolates here. Their online store isn’t up yet. If you ask very nicely they might ship stuff to you, but only if you live in the continental US.

Robin Chocolates pomegranate truffle

I’ve gone off on pomegranates before, so I’ll spare you those details (but feel free to clicky clicky). And you know, I love pomegranate and I love chocolate – but alas, the combination isn’t always a winner. Bad Girl Chocolates* makes a kick-ass pomegranate truffle, so I had high hopes for the version from Robin Chocolates.

Like I mentioned yesterday, the technique behind Robin Chocolates’ molded chocolates is pretty astounding. This pomegranate truffle comes in a gem-like mold, like a rounded dome with facets cut into it. And it. is. perfect. The sides are thin and uniform, and the bottom seal is immaculately smooth.

The ganache inside has a nice texture, but I’m not blown away by the flavour. It has the tartness that I expect from a pomegranate ganache, but that’s about it. You’re left wondering if it’s pomegranate, or maybe a citrus combination (without the brightness) or maybe even sour cherry (not quite sour enough). I’m all for subtle, but this is a little too subtle for my taste.

You can buy Robin Chocolates here. Their online store isn’t up yet. If you ask very nicely they might ship stuff to you, but only if you live in the continental US.

* Disclaimer: I have breakfast with Kelly, the brains and hands behind Bad Girl Chocolates, once a month. She’s lovely, but even if I didn’t think she was lovely, I would recommend her pomegranate truffle.

Robin Chocolates raspberry heart

Oh, Valentine’s Day. I dislike it for so many reasons, personal and professional. Regardless of whether you’re single or coupled up, it’s a day fraught with tension and expectation. And I have made enough heart-shaped chocolates, decorations and desserts to last a lifetime.

I do, however, really like those cheap chocolate hearts that are wrapped in red foil. I think it must remind me of fun Valentine’s Day memories, when you could deliver a valentine to the boy you liked and have it mean something. Those were the days before you had to give a valentine to everyone in the class, lest someone’s feelings get hurt.

Robin Chocolates makes a raspberry ganache heart that sort of reminds me of those foil-wrapped hearts. The flavour is lovely – it’s a bright, fruity ganache that definitely tastes like raspberries, as opposed to some random red fruit. The texture is smooth and creamy.

The molded chocolate shell is absolutely perfect. I mean, it’s uniform all the way around, and thin enough that it just yields to your teeth (or, in my case, knife) without interfering with the ganache inside. The bottom of the chocolate is perfectly, absolutely smooth. And that, my friends, is very hard to do.

Having said that, the top of the heart is decorated in an opaque layer of red cocoa butter. I don’t have anything against cocoa butter, nor red, but it seems a bit excessive to me. After all, I signed up for chocolate, not for red dye. I would have appreciated a light smattering of red – for visual interest – with more emphasis on the chocolate. Because hey, that’s what I’m eating, right?

You can buy Robin Chocolates here. Their online store isn’t up yet. If you ask very nicely they might ship stuff to you, but only if you live in the continental US.

Robin Chocolates

It seems like years ago that I was wandering around Boulder, Colorado. It was, in fact, a mere month ago that I came across a cute little shop called Oliv You & Me, which carries all sorts of gourmet goodies. I ogled the olive oil, viewed the vinegar, and…wait, is that chocolate?

They had a selection of Robin Chocolates, a small company out of nearby Longmont, CO. While I would have liked the opportunity to pick and choose, I settled for a pre-packed box of four confections. It contained one each of pomegranate, mint chocolate chip, chocolate caramel fleur de sel, and a raspberry heart.

They’re really pretty, but I got over that “too pretty to eat” thing years ago. Good thing, too. Otherwise, what would I talk about for the next four days?

Playing catch (up)

On Saturday night, I attended a Words & Wine event featuring Ruth Reichl. I wasn’t even 24 hours into the IFBC, but I was already feeling the effects of overeating and undersleeping. In a quiet moment, I commented to The Daily Spud that the hors d’oeuvres plate I was holding was just too damn heavy.

We both stopped as we realized how silly a statement that was. I mean, really? “Oh, my life is so hard. This plate of fabulous hors d’oeuvres – roasted vegetables, amazing cheese, with local wine – is just too heavy.”

Later that evening, as we waited in line to get our books signed: “Le sigh. I can’t believe this lineup to meet Ruth Reichl.”

And the next day, lining up for the conference lunch, featuring caviar, a crazy spread from Herbfarm, and handmade pasta from Spring Hill: “This lineup for amazingly fresh, local food is simply too long!”

Egad, life is hard sometimes.

I’m slowly working my way through an amazing backlog of chocolate. Between my visit to Soma last month and Chocolopolis this weekend, I have nearly 30 artisan bars to taste, and more than a few boxes of chocolate confections in the fridge.

See what I mean? I’ll stop complaining now.

Seth Ellis Chocolatier mint truffles

Chocolate and mint must be the most perfect combination in the world. I mean, besides chocolate and peanut butter. And peanut butter and banana. And peanut butter and jelly. And…okay. Chocolate and mint is one of the most perfect combinations in the world.

Even though I know better, I’m still a sucker for After Eight. Put a box in front of me, and I will eat the entire thing. No questions asked.

Photo credit: Rick Levine

Photo credit: Rick Levine

Well, Seth Ellis Chocolatier’s mint truffles taste like the best of After Eights, but with more actual mint and less of that crunchy fondant filling. It’s a smooth, rich ganache that tastes of crisp, bright mint. It tastes like summer, but better.

Seth Ellis chocolates are available at select locations in the Denver/Boulder area, and that page will soon be updated to reflect the five NYC Whole Foods that now carries them. You can also buy them online through It’s Only Natural Gifts or through Foodzie.