When MaryAnne Hoekstra-Shekar got in touch and asked if there were any specific samples I’d like from her company, H.S. Chocolate Co., I pointed out the peanut butter and gingerbread filled chocolates and gourmet candy bars. The candy bar I will look at next time, focusing on the first two for now.
First impressions for H.S. Chocolate are good. Light, pastel kinds of colors are set against dark brown in the logo and packaging. The paper wrapped around the chocolates is patterned in a way to remind me of scrap-booking. The look is old-fashioned, but new not old, handmade, and a touch arts-and-crafts. All of these observations fit in with the company’s aim to “blend an old-fashioned sweet shoppe sensibility with the modern and exotic flavor profiles of today.” They also don’t forget about the importance of fresh ingredients, local ingredients when possible, and small batches.
I asked for the peanut butter, or Fluffernutter, chocolate because I have been having such a wonderful exploration of peanut butter type chocolates lately–it’s a great combination and everyone does it differently. I’ve never seen something quite like the Fluffernutter. This thing could be a cult classic.
First, it’s definitely on the big size; it’s around 1 1/2 inches or 3 centimeters tall and rather wider. Its composition includes a kind of peanut butter fluff inside of milk chocolate, with a few peanuts also added in. The consistency of the fluff is perfect, sort of like a marshmallow’s but not so stiff or solid. to compare to the Reese’s filling, it has a little less salt and noticeably better ingredients. Because this is rather big, I suppose the peanuts add some solidity to all the fluff. The edges of plain chocolate allowed me to get a taste of it alone–all I know is that this is Belgian chocolate, but it speaks for its quality on its own. It’s rich with caramel notes, and is just another reason to love the Fluffernutter. I exaggerate not, I truly love this chocolate.
The concept of the Gingerbread filled chocolate appealed to me because of the holidays. This one isn’t so big as the Fluffernutter, being much flatter and more like a chocolate patty than a cluster. Molasses, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves are all in the ingredients. I believe the chocolate here is a little darker, likely to match the richness of the spices. It’s a very different experience from the previous chocolate, but still a pleasant one. There is enough chocolate to still enjoy it, and also enough of the gingerbread filling to taste it in each bite.
Comparing the not inexpensive price tag of $3.50 per chocolate to the normal price of $2 or $2.50 for many (smaller) truffles out there, the cost isn’t unreasonable. These are quality pieces, ones I can give the great compliment that they make me happy.