Box Chocolate Review

Dude, Sweet

Info Details
Country USA   (Dallas, TX)
Style New School      
Clichés. It takes 2 to tango; opposites attract; or variety is the spice of life. All offer up contrast but they still need symmetry & compatibility to work. Otherwise, hung like a mouse & gorged like a rhino make a horrible fit.

Dude, this is that.

Before anyone ponders ‘what's with the name?’ thinking it’s some play on 'toute suite', a way of getting in the mug of all faux French fartistes (Vosges, et. al.)... it’s more of a ‘Dude, where’s my car?’ moment.

Better have an answer because self-described “dudette” Katherine Clapner is a stud of major raditude. All guts ‘n guns when it comes to raiding the pantry for stuff to mix with chocolate. A Michelle McGee kind of choco-la-tear who lured tough guy Jesse James back into his nether skank element with her hellaciously signed & calligraphied hooters & the 'Pray For Us Sinners' riff from the Lord's Prayer emblazoned on her fellatrice's forehead like a headbang special after a righteous skullfuck (that lady - not this lady - deserves a Russian-mob administered legal lethal-dosage of mephedrone before the Feds quickly outlaw it on their schedules of felonious poisons).

Some pieces in this box work the miracle; well-made arguments for happiness & tweaked 'alegria' in the abstract from quants' of chocolate & cream ganache.

Others waste great JD or Maker’s Mark that the liver weeps at the prospect... unbalanced & unhinged as Dick Cheney the night Obama won the election; requiring a requiem & a hitman hired discreetly to off overweening pricks (a k a critics) whose solid bad-taste in trash fatally compromises them.

That’s OK; things change, the pendulum swings - as Foucault knows - so watch out.
Presentation   4.4 / 5
splaying dude ranch: UPS shipping box + a Republic of Texas rubber stamp pounding home the msg “Dude, Sweet”; a motley slew w/ wild transfer sheets / appliqué (the Queen of Hearts; a Skull parique; & some tripp fractal geometrics) on small but sturdy bombones
Aromas   3.2 / 5
keeps the powder dry for the most part... as in powdered sugar, Nestlé’s Quik™, granny douche bag & dust; downwind develops full-tilted musk
Textures/Melt   5.6 / 10
Shells: medium gauge; uneven pour & thickness; generally sound snap
Centers: viscous paste, mud, chalk & clay; a few quick-set Jello™ pudding forgotten-in-the-back-of-the-fridge-for-a-month – dehydrated / dissociated
Flavor   35.1 / 50
bold & brazen; daring & adventurous; integration issues (unbalanced acids, bases & tannins – oh my) occasionally overshadowed by unimaginable yet rather compatible combos that stun up against each other, built on stalwart couverture, the foundation to forward-leaning infusions, each piece dialed at nearly consistent pitch
Quality   21.8 / 30
Too much experimenting going on; not enough attention to fundamentals. Some sadly-composed flavor offsets, others sit unsettled. An intriguing box with room to grow.
Couverture: Guittard; Valrhona; Barry-Cacao; El Rey
Puro – 74% Dominican fleshed out with black-olive salt; rides deep ‘n low in the saddle to reach that high attainment – ‘segmented synergy’, beautifully orchestrated, harmonized & proportioned; lives up to its name w/ virtually nothing extraneous getting in the way; excellent
Marzipan-stuffed Date – whoa, never seen one of these big dogs before; whole Medjool date lathered w/ very animated almond, then rolled in powdered sugar; ancient, parched-desert taste... updated; no chocolate, just down-home soul food
Unmarked / Unidentified - thick shelled snap breaks open onto notes of cocoa, apple & grape; good bones & persistence on the strength of turning rather stringent & vegetal
Guava in the Buff– one mighty sweet tart; gelée of candied fruit thinly enrobed in Dark Choc that only tames the guava toward the finish; bit of a miss by way of overkill
Tobacco – yep, Lousiana-cured... ya smoked it, snuffed it, dipped or chewed, now eat it; sure you can give it up but you’re not a quitter & neither is this.... very clear & clean tobacco leaf taste hooks up well w/ a Dark-on-Dark pairing; saliva-inducing sizzle & burn, then a little quesy... hits bottom / deep base notes like a gravity bong; incl skull-parique design similar to blotter or micro-dot tabs - Dude, Sweet Dealer - a warning that too much of a good thing can be wonderful (thanks Mae West) but deadly (sorry Prof. Norton), for a substance can alternatively be both medicinal & poisonous. Portends the death of the (Marlboro) hero.
Zanzibar – dunno if Dudette just winging it or what, but African yellow-curry & red banana conspire to evoke one of the great spice islands in the world off the coast of Tanzania, East Africa; smoked curry on the intake - slightly more amped than the rest of the set – then banana mashed into lots of warm notes (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom); enough to make a Bantu banter
Marakesh – a bit of a Zanzibar redux except this swaps out banana for dates & points the needle a little more sharply to a Raz al Hanout spice mix that takes taste-buds well over the Atlas Mts in Maroc
Black & Blue – hurts w/ affection; Young’s piss-prissy Chocolate Stout (brewed w/ actual cocoa) decked in an argyle-pattern forced to man-up to the real stuff; sticky & tawny yet carbonated too thanks to rye -> currants -> plum notes + butter creating lace retention for long dissipation; bottle it a Nitro can; a tremendous pour that leaves a wound once realizing it’s gone
Marley – hemp (ahem), of course... seed, butter, oil (expectorate again) – all but the whole herb; hemp on its own can create a case of the gags but w/ Choc it’s ‘easy, mon’ as the Prophet Bob preaching legalese skankin; almost imperceptible (operative word ‘almost’ as the flavor busts hump) for the best taste in your life... you won’t remember
Depression – just the opposite of its name... roasted beet, Texas olive oil & Dark Choc all converge to an otherwordly aspect; makes quite a lasting impression
Carrot Cake – candied carrot that's licorice’d & vanillinized + visceral ginger just claw their way into cocoa tannins; fantastic symmetry
Old School – fine tooth juxtaposition twixt smooth chocolate & coconut
Mint Julep & Makers Mark - puts on a licorice burn in the finish

Reviewed Spring 2010

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