It’s always great to get together with friends as the weather cools down and our thoughts turn to indoor entertaining. Recently, I was engaged in a bit of creative head-scratching as I tried to come up with ideas for a dessert gathering with a twist. The old potluck idea just wasn’t doing it for me. Luckily, I was offered the opportunity to try a new type of candy at a chocolate sampling party sponsored by the makers of UNREAL Candy ™. Since several of my friends share the same mad passion for chocolate that I do, I eagerly signed up for this tantalizing tasting task.
UNREAL™ is a new type of chocolate with a twist. It provides many of the great flavor combinations we crave in our treats, but without the corn syrup; partially hydrogenated oils; or the artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. On average, it also has 40% less sugar per serving. The key ingredients are responsibly sourced, and the candy is available in the stores we all shop in, at an affordable price point.
To make the tasting experience more sensual, I decided to serve the candy bars naked and unadorned. Since Unreal Candy ™ is similar to other well known confections (such as those multicolored plain and peanut treats), I did a blind tasting. I put the “original” candy on one side, and the similar tasting UNREAL Candy ™ right next to it. Aren’t my tiny tasting plates cute?
I thought that a wine and chocolate combination sounded interesting, so I served the chocolate confections with a “Diva” sparkling wine from Buttonwood Winery in New York’s Finger Lakes, as well as “Alycone,” a red wine with chocolate undertones from Uruguay that I picked up at Passion Vines in Princeton. The sparkling wine paired wonderfully with the chocolate, while my guests enjoyed the red wine after chocolate.
My friends were very positive about the UNREAL Candy ™ candy bars-most people liked them as much as the original candy bars that they resembled. The verdict for the peanut butter cups and coated chocolate candies were more mixed-some people liked the UNREAL version, while others preferred the original. I think that the mixed verdict had to do with a learning curve and getting used to candy with a little less sugar. I thought that the UNREAL selections were very good! My guests left happy and well-sated with chocolate. I even gave them gift bags to take home.
If you want to do your own chocolate tasting, here are some suggestions:
• Have your guests taste a variety of chocolates.
• Cut up candy bars into smaller pieces for sampling so that guests can taste a variety without having a sugar overload
• Keep track of what you are serving, but don’t reveal the identity of the candy until tasting is concluded (make sure there are no allergies if you go this route)
• Serve some fresh fruit and perhaps one more dessert. The candy will be enough!
• Choose wines carefully. Some suggestions: Moscato D’Asti, champagne, Riesling
Disclosure: I received compensation and some candy samples to defray the cost of my party.
Beth Christian subsisted primarily on cheeseburgers and liverwurst sandwiches during childhood and refused to try most new foods. Her culinary horizons were expanded during her college days in Schenectady, New York, where she learned the joys of trying slow-simmered Italian dishes, Szechuan cuisine, and everything in between. When not engaged in the practice of law in Monmouth County, Beth is busy scouting out interesting restaurants, farmer’s markets and food purveyors near her home in Burlington County. Beth’s primary dining sidekick is her husband John, but she also enjoys having her daughter Meghan, son Michael and her wonderful friends come along for the ride. Email Beth at BChristian@JerseyBites.com