This summer a press release went out with limited fanfare. The folks at Hershey's were teaming up with Starbucks. At the time there was very little news available, other than an upcoming Starbucks-branded premium chocolate. The news piqued my interest, but there was no word on when the products would hit the shelves. Turns out it's today.
Using the expertise of Artisan Confection Company — a division of Hershey's that includes Scharffen Berger and Joseph Schmidt — Starbucks has created a line of products to sell in stores. There are three types of chocolate bars, tasting squares and filled truffles. Thanks to FabSugar — who hand-carried these samples back from New York — we were lucky enough to give them a try. If you want to learn more about each flavor, as well as what we thought of them,
The box the samples arrived in was dramatic. It was a high quality brown box filled with all sorts of goodies. There were six different tasting squares, four truffles, three chocolate bars and covered coffee beans. I thought the bars were better than the squares, and that the truffles were a bit overpowering. The beans on the other hand, were absolutely delicious. Overall, the flavors that paired coffee with chocolate were highly successful, the other tea-inspired flavors, not so much.
- Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Truffle: A rounded chocolate-covered-cherry sized truffle with a large dollop of vanilla bean cream in the middle. It was creamy and smooth, slightly buttery. Overall very nice.
- Milk Chocolate Chai Truffle: This was the least favorite truffle. It was super heavy-handed with the cardamom and tasted more like sucking on chocolate covered cardamom pod, than it did like chai.
- Milk Chocolate Caffe Mocha: The chocolate is slightly waxy. I thought it seemed rather Hershey's-like. Reminded us of the Hershey's Treasures, only better.
- Dark Chocolate Espresso: This was by far our favorite truffle. The dark chocolate was smooth — almost too smooth — and it had a great melt, with a hint of smokiness. The espresso really came through, but was not overpowering. We'd definitely eat this again.
Milk Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans
This was my favorite thing in the box. FabSugar — who is a bit of a chocolate snob and hates on milk chocolate — even thought they were delicious. Unlike most chocolate covered beans, these are more like ground up beans covered in chocolate. It's a big coating of chocolate on a lovely amount of crunch.
- Milk Chocolate: This was sort of generic. It would hit the spot if you craved chocolate, as it was tasty, but there was nothing special about it.
- Dark Chocolate: Strangely, we liked the milk chocolate better. We thought it was a bit waxy. Again, tasty, but nothing special.
- Mocha Dark Chocolate: This was our favorite square, the flavor pairing was really nice. There were bits of beans in it. I almost wished they offered this in a milk chocolate version too.
- Chai Milk Chocolate: Like the truffle, there was way too much cardamom going on. Some of the folks here liked it because of that, but I was disappointed by how much it didn't taste like chai.
- Passion Dark Chocolate: This was the worst thing in the entire box. Some of the folks thought it was okay, but I hated it. It was highly floral in taste, and there were bits of things in it that were just too much. It sort of tasted like artificial powder stuck inside of the chocolate. I say pass this one off to your friends, so you can eat the others.
- Citron Dark Chocolate: Like the passion square, this one is also infused with tea. It was nicely flavored and okay. However at the end, it started reminding me of cleaner. If you love lemon/chocolate pairings you'd probably like it, but once again I say pass this one and eat the others.
There are three flavors of chocolate bars — milk, dark and mocha dark — the flavors are reviewed above, but it should be mentioned that they tasted much better in a thicker bar format. It was nice to have something to sink your teeth into.
So, have you seen the new Starbucks Chocolates — they'll be in large grocery and drug stores retailers soon. If so, have you tried them?