Tag Archives: chocolate

Chocolate Matzah Faceoff

Introduction

Passover may be over. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t sit back and reflect on our freedom from slavery and other important things. What important things? Simple: What is the best chocolate covered matzah you can get?

Left: Streit's Chocolate Covered Matzos from New York. Right: Fiiller Matza con Chocolate from Mexico City.

I checked out the products from two companies that are into the captive Passover food market, in which you get to sell tons of overpriced matzah to constipated Jews all over the world but only for one week a year. Impressively, both companies have been around for about 80 years. Streit’s has been using New York tap water to make their wares for 80 years or so. I really hope that Mexican bread company Fiiller has not been using Mexico City tap water to make their products, as the results could be mistaken for the eleventh plague. But enough history, let’s get to business.

Packaging

Both come in similarly sized cardboard boxes. Streit’s box design milks nostalgia for all it’s worth. And their matzah is covered with milk chocolate, for all that’s worth (pun!); making it unsuitable as dessert for most of the meals of those who care about mixing (I don’t).

Fiiller uses one of those designs that scream “I’m not even trying!” and it shows. Nothing attractive about it. The color palette is uninspired, and the product photo is not even that appealing. The typography is especially awkward. I like their super retro logo though, and wish I had a t-shirt with it. Mr. Fiiller: if you are reading, let’s get in touch so you can send one my way.

Appearance

This is Streit’s. It seems like they have a serious problem: The chocolate does not stick to the matzah well. It peels off. The cracks give it an unappealing look.

Look at this closeup:

Is it the dry desert where the Chupacabra roams or a chocolate matzah? The texture from the peeled off and cracked chocolate reminds me of the facial skin of a certain P. E. teacher I had in kindergarden. Or Edward James Olmos. Either way, not good. I still ate it, don’t get me wrong. Perhaps if you buy it from their factory store in the Lower East Side it doesn’t look like this. But it sure didn’t survive the trip to my bobe’s gracefully!

Below, Fiiller’s. First you will notice that it’s smaller. Clever! The reduced area gives it higher structural strength, thus reducing the odds of the chocolate cracking. The chocolate is darker, since it’s pareve. It’s also shiny, which reminds me of the facial skin of a certain… oh forget it.

More impressively, Streit’s matzah will survive a bite perfectly. The chocolate does not fall off nor crack! Surely they must be using some advanced chemistry to accomplish that. We shall learn more soon.

Taste and texture

The milk chocolate on the Streit’s matzah was fantastic. Milky yet chocolatey. Very good. Sadly, the matzah underneath felt stale, not crunchy. And little flecks of chocolate flew out after every bite, ending up on my shirt and not in my mouth.

The Fiiller’s chocolate is dark and very good. But the most impressive part is how well it sticks to the underlying matzah, giving it the feel of a high quality chocolate candy bar: crunchy and fresh. Or , to use a word that fancy food bloggers use: “crisp”. And I have 8 pages of search results to back me up. It makes for one hell of a pimple-inducing eating experience!

Nutritional information

Streit’s has a detailed nutrition facts table. Must be a law or something. Ouch, calories and fat galore! What did you expect? It’s freaking chocolate matzah! On the upside, it provides some calcium. That’s gotta count for something, right?

Filler only lists their ingredients. No nutritional information whatsoever. Those wily Mexicans… I bet it’s every bit as unhealthy and fattening as the Streit’s one, minus the calcium due to the lack of milk. To make up for that, this one has orange juice, which I learned is the secret ingredient in Egg Matzah, which doesn’t even have egg at all! Go figure… In any case, that should add homeopathic amounts of vitamin C.

But… what is that under the ingredients list? Is that “huevo”? Looks like that’s the Fiiller secret for making the chocolate stay put on the matzah! Egg! Brilliant! Someone should get a Nobel prize for this discovery!

And the winner is…

Some people prefer milk chocolate. I love both milk and dark equally. However, Fiiller’s product has an overall better taste, look, and feel to it. It’s just awesome. The matzah reacts to bites with a satisfactory crunch and you won’t end up with half the chocolate broken up in little pieces around you all over the floor. Never underestimate the quality-junk-food-making abilities of Mexicans.

Many thanks – keep’em coming

One of the advantages of having my own blog and writing about whatever pleases me (and pretend like I know something about the subject at hand), is that you can let other people know what sort of things you like. Last June I wrote about chocolate. This January, Daniela Totah and Eva Noyola each brought me a bar of very special and unique chocolate. Beautiful. Many many thanks.

Eva brought a bar of Jahrgangs-Schokolade 2006 (link takes you to the 2004 edition). Say that ten time very fast and you can win your own. This is a 99% pure cocoa goodness as far as I can tell given how rusty my German is.

Jahrgangs-Schokolade 2006

Totah  brought a new bar by Israeli company Elite (makers of the Cadbury Flake clone known as Mekupelet): The Elite Creme Brulee.

Elite Creme Brulee

Yummy. A full review of each bar will be posted right after pigs can fly. If you feel like giving me a present but don’t know what to give me, you can always follow this link for a few hints.

Lindt Excellence 99% Cacao

“La couleur : noirissime – la senteur : sublissime.
En bouche, la force du cacao presque pur, puissamment aromatique.
Un chocolat de connaisseur.
Laisser-le fondre sur la langue et vivez un plaisir d’exception…”

You may or may not have read a recent post on my newly found addiction to extremely dark chocolate (but not to chocolate, that’s been there forever).

That was before my recent trip to Miami, FL. In the Aventura Whole Foods Market I saw an intriguing little white box: Lindt Excellence 99% Cacao.

This is the only chocolate bar I have ever seen that comes with eating instructions. It tells you to work your way up from the less concentrated varieties before you try this one. You should start with a small piece. Avoid chewing. Accompany with coffee. And it was great. Too bitter for most people (like the first time you try beer) but then you get hooked. I’ve been craving for more. The %80+ sissy stuff is not doing it for me anymore.
The problem is, now I can’t find it anywhere. I called a bunch of places in Austin, I sent Jaco back to the store in Florida (it’s gone!) and I’m afraid of placing an order online! ($60 for a box, that will arrive in who knows what condition in the central Texas summer heat).

Please help me.

Oh, and I want to add a note about the newly found health benefits of chocolate: Since I switched to the ultra-dark stuff, I can hear very faint noises far, far away. The clot in my brain dissappeared so I can think clearly again and see out of my left eye. I also grew 3 cm.

Update (Jul 22, 2007): Found it at World Market in Lakeline Mall! Thanks to Carolina for the tip.

Very. Dark. Chocolate.

Theo Chocolate
Originally uploaded by dierken.

It all started a few months ago. A colleague at work brought a Dagoba Eclipse chocolate bar. It is 87% pure cocoa. For comparison, your regular Hershey’s chocolate bar contains around 35% cocoa. This thing was really dark. Too dark and bitter for him, and for most people he tried to unload the bar on.

Finally I got the chocolate and loved every bit of it. I always liked chocolate. I used to eat half a bag of Hershey’s Kisses every Friday. But this ultra-dark stuff is a whole new world.

I must have mentioned it to my dad, because he brought back from his last trip of Israel about ten bars of Cote D’Or Brute (86%) and Lindt Excellence (85%); neither Israeli brands, by the way.
On Wednesday I went chocolate hunting to the downtown Whole Foods Market. I bought two bars of Xocolatl (74% + chilies – the way the Aztecs liked it, sort of), one of Dolfin Noir 88% de Cacao and a single bar of Theo Venezuela Limited Edition Dark Chocolate (91%). The freaking bar was $7 USD!!! Better be incredibly good. I haven’t tried them. We’ll see.

I could not find any of the elusive Prima Materia (100%). That’s the next step. Maybe it’s time to do some online shopping.

Oh, and speaking of Venezuela: Have you joined La Polla America yet? Time is running out!

Elite Mekupelet VS Cadbury Flake

On March 24th of 2006 I learned about the Cadbury Flake… I must admit that it wasn’t easy to learn that the strange chocolate bar from that far away land of milk and honey wasn’t all that unique.

Not only that, but as I started asking people about it, those who were aware of the existence of both candies always had strong feelings about which one is better. Puzzled, I discovered that this was not only an issue of chocolate, but of deeply entrenched national pride. It was too much fun to pass on. I had to hold a head to head contest.

After a seemingly eternal wait, a shipment of Cadbury Flake chocolate (actually, only three bars) arrived from Dubai, UAE. I had some Elite Mekupelet in my personal stash… so it’s time to decide once and for all:

Who is king of the flakey chocolate?
(Click on any of the pictures to see a full size version)
Elite Mekupelet VS Cadbury Flake

Continue reading Elite Mekupelet VS Cadbury Flake

Happy Birthday to me

Marcos Kirsch

Last Wednesday (May 3) I turned 28 (as you can see in the Friends and Foes of Marcos Calendar).Paty baked a delicious chocolate cake for me (my favorite!). Thank you Paty!If you didn’t call or email to wish me a Happy Birthday, the least you can do at this point is leave a comment below.

Another childhood myth shattered

This one is every bit as disturbing as finding out that your dad is really the “Tooth Mouse” (the Mexican version of the Tooth Fairy), that and that wrestling is fake.

I grew up thinking that the delicious israeli Mekupelet chocolate was made with this ultra-secret process that no one could duplicate (but many had tried). I even heard the legends about how you could tour the Elite factory and see how all their chocolates are made, except for Mekupelet, which was their most important secret.

So I was shocked when I gave a Mekupelet bar to Nisha Ganwani, who was born and grew up in Dubai (and knows a ton about chocolate)… and she said it is exactly like a british chocolate bar sold over there: the Cadbury Flake.

A shipment of Cadbury Flakes is now on its way from the United Arab Emirates, so that I can verify her claim. I will update you on this – because I know you are just dying to know. But for now… all the same… another part of my inner child has died.

[Update 3/27/2006]: Nisha has just informed me that a shipment of Cadbury Flake bars is in transit from Dubai to Austin and should be arriving on April 28th. I guess a guy is swimming accross the ocean with a bag full of it.

[Update 4/4/2006]: The Marcos Kirsch Experience® exclusive correspondant in England, Jessica Lechner, has just informed me that the Flake tastes more sour, and is worse. This matches another report by Sarai Melichar, who is a chemical engineer in Houston TX and specializes in eating chocolate. She describes the Flake as “gross“. She repeated the word “gross” and “yuck” many times throughout the report. We are still awaiting the tests that will be performed at the main labs, in Austin, TX.

How many M&M’s are in the jar?

Last Thursday, there was a company-wide party. That morning, they put a big jar full of M&M’s (regular, not peanuts) at the lobby of the Truchard Design Center. You were supposed to estimate how many M&M’s were in there. Whoever makes the best guess, wins a $50 Gift Certificate at Best Buy (and everlasting glory).Continue reading for details on the complicated process involved in this chocolatey adventure. Continue reading How many M&M’s are in the jar?