Thursday, October 16, 2008

New desserts I've tried: Guiltless Gourmet and Choctál

I really have made a concerted, pretty successful effort to eat out as little as possible, and I have been cooking at home a lot more. And one thing I've been trying out are some ready-made desserts lately. One I really liked was Choctál's gourmet chocolate ice cream cups, which you can find at Trader Joe's. This seems to be the only product that Choctál has in the area. It's a sampler of four "exotic" chocolate ice creams, each made from cacao beans from four different parts of the world: Costa Rica, Ghana, the Dominican Republic and Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo). Just like coffee beans differ in flavor depending on what part of the world they grow, so too do cacao beans.

Behold, gourmet chocolate ice creams of the world!

I ate the Ghanaian variety, which Choctál describes as "rich and full-bodied ice cream with a milk chocolate character rounded out by hints of tropical fruit and the alluring essence of sweet fudge". Well it was a little fruity, but definitely milk chocolatey. A very good chocolate ice cream. I'm looking forward to trying the other varieties. Too bad their vanilla ice cream made with vanilla beans grown in Papua New Guinea aren't available here.

Ghanaian chocolate ice cream.

This stuff can't be found at Whole Foods, though I did take an interest in the Guiltless Gourmet Dessert Bowls that they sell there. Guiltless Gourmet makes lots of things, from black velvet cake to lime-flavored tortilla chips. I was more interested in the black velvet variety of their dessert bowl. I was curious, and for $2.50 it was surprisingly cheap for Whole Foods (where most candy bars cost more than that).

Just add a little water, beat til smooth, nuke it in the microwave for less than a minute, add fudgy topping and voila! I didn't hold out high expectations for this dessert. The mere mention of the word "guiltless" makes my taste buds think "tasteless" - and not in that charming, homey John Waters way. But it was actually pretty tasty. I later got their chocolate caramel cake bowl, which was also tasty, though not nearly as much as their black velvet bowl.

So there you have it: two different desserts I've tried recently, one guiltless, one sinful, both tasty.

UPDATE - I just had the Kalimantan cup. Slightly buttery, and a very strong dark chocolate flavor - the bitterness of it comes through, but in a good way. Still sweet, of course. I like it a little better than the Ghanaian variety.


theminx said...

Yeah, shame about not being able to get the vanilla here. I don't like chocolate ice cream (weird, I know).

Marc Boatwright said...

..... I am the founder of Choctál... wanted to thank you for writing about our product. Chocolate like wine and coffee taste different depending on how it's dried, roasted process. Like the other person who posted a comment, I too am more of a vanilla guy than a chocolate guy (and I started a Chocolate company, go figure) any way it turns out that Vanilla grown in different parts of the world all taste different too! we have five different vanilla profiles and are always on the look out for more.... this is one fun project..... Enjoy...Marc S.

John said...

Marc: Thank you for posting, and you're welcome. Hopefully, Trader Joe's will start getting some of those vanilla ice creams! I'm interested in trying vanilla from different places.