When I first heard that Ismael came out with an apple pie flavored bonbon, I headed to the Old Town Alexandria farmer’s market the following Saturday. That morning while feeling sleep deprived and tired from a long work week, I listened fascinated to Ismael talk about tempering and how it affects the swirls and lines we see on the back of chocolate bars. He spoke about how he’s always striving to improve his chocolates and will make tweaks and changes without telling the customer. The customer may not be able to tell the differences made, but he can.

Every time I speak with Ismael I walk away feeling like I’ve learned something new. Most of the time it’s me listening to him speak, but I enjoy hearing from the chocolate makers themselves what they want to share with the consumer and other technical information that I otherwise would not be able to hear. The experience of learning from chocolate makers in person cannot beat Googling the same information online because you can hear and feel their passion and love for their products. It’s really neat!

After spending around 45 minutes with Ismael, I bought some apple pie and rosewater bonbons for myself and two other friends who couldn’t go to the market with me. I had arrived at the market that morning with a mocha in hand feeling crazy tired, but I walked away feeling re-energized.

Unfortunately I started coming down with a cold when I tasted these, so my scent and taste buds are a little off, but I tried my best! I tasted these mid-September.

Ismael said both the apple pie and rosewater bonbons were painted by hand. The others are spray painted and have a smooth, even coat of paint, but the hand painting would take more time and patience. The apple pie bonbon used four colors of paint while the rosewater used three. The colors used for the apple pie bonbon were red, white, green and yellow to represent the different stages of color an apple goes through. The colors used for the rosewater bonbon were red, yellow and green to represent the colors of roses (Ismael, please correct me if I’m wrong on this).

The process of hand painting takes a long time since one color can be applied to the mold at a time. Say, red can be applied first, then Ismael has to wait for 5 minutes for it to dry before he can apply the next color. If the color(s) don’t dry within 5 minutes, then the paint is going on too thick or something else is wrong (the result would be a dull looking bonbon) and painting the molds would have to start over again. Once the painting is finished, that’s when the chocolate and filling can go into the molds.  The end product is beautiful, colorful, shiny looking bonbons.

From the apple pie bonbon I could smell subtle apple, caramel and spices like nutmeg. I first tasted sweetness from the caramel and some tartness from the apple. The spices were also delicious and gave a warm feeling to the bonbon. The sweetness of the caramel and apple filling brought out the fruity sweetness of the Dominican chocolate that Ismael uses. The subtle spices lingered in the aftertaste. It was very good!

From the rosewater bonbon, the scent of rosewater was subtle from the filling and I could smell sweetness as well. The flavor of rosewater exploded in my mouth as the filling quickly melted, but it was a light rosewater flavor. I could definitely taste the chocolate shell itself. Since the floral flavor of the rosewater was stronger than the natural fruity flavor usually found in Dominican chocolate, it brought out more of it’s nutty and chocolatey flavor. The fact that I tasted more of the nutty flavor in the chocolate with the rosewater filling was a pleasant surprise and very unique. I like the scent of rosewater and it was nice to experience it in a bonbon.

Both were delicious bonbons, and as apple pie is seasonally appropriate, and if I make it back to the Old Town Alexandria farmer’s market soon, I’ll be grabbing more of them! The two friends who I also bought bonbons for also raved about the apple pie bonbons. I didn’t hear much from them about the rosewater, so I will have to follow up with them.

Chocotenango: Made in Washington, D.C.

These are my personal thoughts and experiences. I did not receive pay or any compensation for reviewing any products. Website links to articles, companies and other sources of information directly related to the topic written within the posts were included during the time of writing and the writer will not be held responsible for future changes on such website links. All images are original and the property of Time To Eat Chocolate unless specifically stated otherwise.