Sometime just before Valentine’s Day I went to the Chocolate Lover’s Festival in Fairfax, VA. I’ve been living in this area for a few years now and I had NO IDEA that this event had been happening!!! I was at first disappointed because I’ve heard about the amazing chocolate festivals held on the west coast and in NYC, and I thought for sure there had to be something going on around D.C. But it’s better to know now than never 🙂
The festival itself was small and it only took me a few minutes to breeze by the stands, mainly because the building in which the event was being held was small and it was very crowded. Some stands sold chocolate that you can already find in grocery stores (like Divine and The0) while most were local chocolatiers. I was actually expecting more sophisticated truffles and bonbons to be present, but I saw mainly what I consider kid-friendly chocolate. Stuff that didn’t look that great in presentation. I would prefer a nicer looking truffle over various shaped chocolate lollipops, if you understand what I mean. I would go again next year because I was able to pick up a couple of chocolate bars that I had not tried before and some bonbons from a local chocolate store based out of D.C. (which I will cover in the next post).
So… I started having concerns about this chocolate once I opened the box. I have never, never seen chocolate wrapped like this. I mean, I get that some chocolate could be kept in a plastic wrapper (Dolfin does), but this looks cheap and sloppy.
The way the wrappers are sealed is also questionable. It’s the way I would expect non-food items to be treated.
This is the dark chocolate with merlot bar. Yes. It’s a mess. A huge mess. Nowhere on the outside of the box does it warn you that this contains a layer of gelatinous substance. I tried breaking it apart like one would normally break apart a bar and it just stretched and kept stretching :/
I was with a couple of friends while I was taking pictures of these chocolates and I exclaimed aloud my surprised at the stretchiness of the merlot filling. They pretty much had to see it to believe it. In a weird way it was also funny to watch, but really, “stretchy” should never be used in relation to chocolate, filling or not.
I’m going to rant a little bit.
Virginia Chocolate Company, why do you bother putting break lines on your chocolate bars if it’s not going to break apart like normal?? The texture of the gelatin is like having a fruit rollup or gummy bear gone-wrong. It smells grapey, but it doesn’t really taste like wine. Maybe my focus wasn’t so much on actually tasting the gelatin, but wondering why it’s so weird :/ And the chocolate itself? Tastes ok for like the first couple of seconds, and then it’s kind of a dirt aftertaste.
Consensus on this bar? It’s just weird. Don’t get it. My advice for Virginia Chocolate Company. I understand that having the merlot flavoring in the gelatin filling is creative. Wine + chocolate is not new. The gelatin itself is different. But it doesn’t work. Look to Chocolate Fusion for some inspiration and try infusing your chocolate with the merlot.
As an added note, I had my friends try out the chocolate. None of them liked it. Then I shared the rest with my coworkers. The verbal feedback was not good.
The milk chocolate with strawberry bar was much better. The milk chocolate was a bit sweeter than I’m used to. The strawberries gave it bit of a crunch. One of my friends called them “Special K strawberries.” The strawberry bits were generous in size being in large chunks rather than tiny bits like I’ve seen in other strawberry milk chocolate bars.
I’m not sure if I even want to try any other chocolate by the Virginia Chocolate Company after such a weird experience with their merlot bar 🙁 I don’t even know if I’d recommend them in general.
Virginia Chocolate Company: Stafford, VA