I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the D.C. Chocolate Festival in Washington, D.C., in April. I had a blast! I had never been to a chocolate festival like it before. There were 27 chocolate vendors and several chocolate-related events. Sadly I never made it to any of the chocolate tastings, but I was able to attend a talk by Adam Kavalier from Undone Chocolate called the “Science of Chocolate,” which was very educational in explaining the process of how chocolate makes its journey from the cacao tree to the bar.
Speaking of Undone, I’m going to start with their bonbons. This was a brand new item at the time of the chocolate festival, and I was very excited to try them out!
All of the bonbons were made with dark chocolate and plain fillings.
The top left square had a fruity scent, melt in your mouth ganache, it was very smooth in texture, and had a slightly bitter and acidic flavor. There was a hint of sea salt flavoring and I’m guessing that’s what’s on top of the bonbon.
The round bonbon smelled fruity as well but it contained fruity and nutty notes in flavoring.
The bonbon with white on it smelled slightly acidic and had a sharp bite of acidity in flavor and fruity notes.
The bonbon with green on it smelled fruity, slightly acidic and flavor-wise had nutty notes.
Undone is definitely experimenting with their bonbons, and I think this is a great start! I can’t wait to see where they go from here and if they will use inclusions.
I’m also very excited to say that I’ll soon have tried all three of Undone’s chocolate bars with inclusions. Earlier I had tried their dark chocolate with chile, cardamom and cinnamon bar, but I recently received my order of dark chocolate with himalayan salt and dark chocolate with almonds salt bars. With Mother’s Day coming up, they are currently selling sets of one of their inclusion bars + tea towel that look very cute!
Undone Chocolate: Made in Washington, D.C.
I hadn’t heard of Steven Howard Confections until I went to the DC Chocolate Festival.
The first chocolate that caught my eye was their Luscious Lavender bonbon. I have tried dark chocolate + lavender combinations before, but I really, really liked how Steven Howard created a smooth, even balance between the lavender and dark chocolate flavors. I was told that lavender is difficult to work with since it’s a strong floral. You can definitely taste the lavender and dark chocolate, but neither is overpowering. The ganache filling was very smooth in texture.
I’ve also been told that rosemary is hard to work with as herbs are very strong in flavor. I’ve had a dark chocolate with rosemary bar before and absolutely hated it. It was so salty and so “rosemary” that I could barely finish my first and only bite of it. This rosemary caramel bonbon provided a much more pleasant experience. The sweetness of the caramel and white chocolate balanced out the rosemary flavor very well.
I’ve been exploring more chocolates with stouts and alcohol flavoring in them. This one has Bailey’s in it, though the flavoring was very light and delicate. The dark chocolate paired well with it.
This pina colada bonbon had a light crunchy texture from the coconut layer and smooth sweetness from the pineapple layer. The flavors of pineapple and dark chocolate lingered in the aftertaste.
Unfortunately I don’t spend too much time in Maryland, otherwise I’d be a more regular consumer of Steven Howard Confections. Otherwise they are definitely worth trying out!
Steven Howard Confections: Made in Olney, MD
Shameless Chef was almost void of any chocolate goodies by the time I got to them during the D.C. Chocolate Festivlal. And I can see why.
The ladies manning the Shameless Chef table told me that these are their Dreambites. They take cake, smash it into bits, and then throw all those bits into chocolate. Dreambites are born. They are sooooo good! Can I get a gigantic Dreambite reformed into the shape of a cake??? Their consistency was so soft. I would describe these as a cakepop, but better because there’s more chocolate in them. I agree with the ladies that it would be very easy to eat many of these at a time.
I got to sample a piece of Shamless Chef’s peanut butter cups and I would also recommend them! They were sold out at the time, otherwise I would have gotten one. They taste very organic and refreshing. They are surprisingly light in consistency for a peanut butter cup. They’re also vegan and gluten free. I didn’t taste any salt in them like I usually would from a Reese’s cup. I gave my compliments to the owner of Shamless Chef and I would definitely like to try their peanut cups sometime!
Shameless Chef: Made in Washington, D.C.