Box Chocolate Review

Cielo

Info Details
Country USA   (Cranford, NJ)
Style Neo-Modern      (to New School)
lo
med
hi
CQ
Sweetness
Intensity
Complexity
Impact
Sleeper of the NYC Chocolate Show ’07... just off in a corner without the superstore fanfare of the big box names. Some of Diane Pinder’s pieces have a supreme confidence & quiet about them; self-conscious, in fact - they know their DNA & are very comfortable in their skin.
Presentation   3.8 / 5
understated & unassuming; truffles lined up, single-file, in a box w/ clear sleeve; imperfect Fit & Finishes
Aromas   3.6 / 5
subdued balance, some veering toward supernumerary sugar
Textures/Melt   8.5 / 10
Shells: thickly luxurious
Centers: generally soft w/ intermediate 1.5:1 ratios
Flavor   43.6 / 50
collection-dependent; super-clarity, clear as fresh-picked from the backyard garden; robust in size & bold in combination w/ balmy, Mediterranean influences taking a spare Tuscan approach - olive oil, sea salt, balsamic - in one collection & a more expansive int'l broad-stroke in another
Quality   26.4 / 30
Fluctuating. Superb balance points & near perfect equilibrium between phantom subtlety & falling forward flavors.
Selections
Couverture: Callebaut, Green & Black's, El Rey
Salted Caramel – finesse caramel, poised ganache, patient on the uptake ‘til a stealth caramel rolls in
Almond-Caramel – a tooth yankee; again, follows same sneaky pattern of the salted cousin w/ a merciful marzipan in the taste-center
Cherry – tastes regional & culinary, living up to its claim of Tuscan-style choc
Cremino - ample sized to fit 3 different ganaches inside: caramel, hazelnut, & Dark Choc enrobed in deeper Dark Choc shell w/ strong earth tones; bold & assertive
Balsamic – dome-shaped truffle w/ shimmering red & gold glaze marbleized on top; red grape & cherry notes burst thru - sweet ‘n tangy - adding both brightness & mellowness to counter a deep roasted chocolate; astute
Olive Oil & Sea Salt – surf & turf...faint salt carried on a Med breeze scours olive groves for high/low constrast; as sodium brings up chocolate, grassy oil tones follow on to a ground-level, slightly bitter finish
Gateway to God - serene vertical stack of Tung Hing cassia, Szechuan Pepper, & Dragon’s Eye Fruit... all seamlessly layered, knockin’ on heaven’s door not w/ a gong but a citric ping on the tongue
Classic - a misnomer; chocolate a casualty from tough caramel loosened up in Armagnac fortified by Tahitian vanilla; sticky sex before the cigarette
New England Autumn - “Indian pudding” (cornmeal, molasses, butter, Chinese 5-spice [whatever long-distant relation that has to Amerindians in New England], maple syrup, walnuts & bracing / decapitating apple sauce [Granny Smith?]); an acquired taste that takes awhile getting used to... as awesome as walking thru a forest splendor of Fall colors w/ a handful of scalps; horrific, beset w/ integration problems, choke on it
Pillow Book - a rousing argument between sencha green tea & fresh-shaved wasabi on a bed of Asian pear soaked in Japanese yuzu, all of it kiboshed in sugar & milk; overly complicated
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