Sunday, February 22, 2009

Chocolate as art, in the frozen north.

I spent the weekend back home in my native New England - my friend Ginelle turned 30 on Thursday, and so I headed north to attend her surprise birthday party. On Friday, my (duly surprised) hostess and I visited our alma mater's campus and then headed to downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire for some lunch and, of course, CANDY!

One very windy, icy walk later, we arrived at Byrne & Carlson, a chocolatier and confectioner with a tiny, jewel-like shop in one of the old brick houses that line Portsmouth's seaside streets. The shop is lined from floor to ceiling with truffles, French lollipops, bars of Belgian, African and French chocolate, and bags of old-fashioned penny candy.

After a leisurely browse through the wares (and after sampling some dark chocolate nonpareils and a paprika-spiked truffle), I bought three pieces of caramallow (homemade marshmallow dipped in caramel and enrobed in dark chocolate), a bar of the French Eighty-Five (dark chocolate with an 85% cacao content), and a bag of the most delicious, fruity Gummi Bears I've ever tasted.

I have yet to break out the French Eighty-Five, but I can tell you that the Gummi Bears were, without doubt, the best I have ever had. They taste like fruit and sugar, and not at all like preservatives or over-processed syrups. The caramallows were fluffy, chewy, and sweet, but tempered by the slight bitterness of the chocolate shell.

Now, I know that most of my readers are not able to make it up to Portsmouth terribly often, so I wanted to let you know that Byrne & Carlson (thankfully) offer their delicious creations for delivery via their website. Go to it, online chocolate shoppers!


Jen said...

They look so pretty, who would want to eat them?

Meg Blocker said...

Me, me!

I actually bought a plain chocolate bar - much easier to bring yourself to eat it when it's a work of art appreciated best by the tummy, not the eyes. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Can you order the caramellows!?

Long-time reader, not first-time poster.

Meg Blocker said...

Re: the caramallows: I don't think so, but Li-Lac down in the Village make a really excellent version of their own.

BTW: If anyone wants to buy me something I'd love, try some Byrne & Carlson pure fruit jellies. Yum.

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