Following up on the Election Day Special, I just reviewed the elephant and donkey truffles from Moonstruck Chocolates.
Let’s move now to the other election chocolates that made headlines, here and elsewhere, from L.A. Burdick of Walpole, NH and Cambridge, MA. As with Moonstruck, I was first introduced to Burdick when my friend Paul, a.k.a. Dr. Boutin, came to visit and brought me a little Burdick box. (Note: unlike most of my friends, who have PhDs, Paul is a real doctor. So it’s conceivable that he might actually save someone’s life, instead of helping the person express their feelings about dying or reciting a passage about death from Ovid). Anyway…
Obama visited Burdick’s factory in Walpole during the primaries, and famously ate a chocolate mouse.
Building on that publicity, Burdick decided to make election-themed chocolate assortments. Brilliant capitalism. Some of the chocolates had specific geographical connections to the candidates, and some were just thrown in there to fill out the box. We’ll detail each of them below.
I haven’t been to Walpole, but the Cambridge store has the ambiance of a bustling European tea and cake house, except with more baseball caps and sneakers.
I happened to go on Halloween, and the election theme was combined with a spooky death theme.
The chocolate cases are extensive and varied.
Not part of the Obama or McCain assortments was the Baton Framboise, pictured below on the left. I decided to pick up one of these because I knew that Jonah would enjoy it. I was right. The interior was a chewy raspberry jelly, with an intense flavor. Grade: A
Included in both assortments, and also purchased separately by me, was Richelieu. The filling had a mild cherry flavor, but the dried cherry on top created a perfect combination. After sharing the first one, we were both vying for the remaining two. Grade: A-
Burdick offers three varieties of mice, two of which were in the McCain or Obama boxes and one which wasn’t. I bought a lone dark mouse (below, left) to achieve full coverage of the mouse catalog. It had a mild orange flavor combined with a very strong dark chocolate flavor; the filling was a light, fluffy mousse. All of the mice had almond ears, which introduced their own distinctive texture in addition to the aesthetic contribution. Grade: B+
The white chocolate mouse (below, center) came with the Obama assortment. If you are a fan of cinnamon, this is the one for you. It is the best cinnamon chocolate I have ever had, anywhere. Grade: A-
The milk chocolate mouse (below, right) was part of the McCain box. It had a mild kirsch flavor, but I found that the flavor of the almond ears upset the delicate flavor balance. Grade: B-
The McCain box featured Peanut Butter, Kentucky Rye, Hot Pepper Tequila, Arizona Citrus, and Kentucky Truffles along with some standbys.
Peanut Butter: We both loved the filling, which was smooth with an intermittent tiny crunch and fairly firm. The peanut butter flavor wasn’t overwhelming but had a forceful undertone. Grade: A-
Kentucky Rye: The ganache was nice, but I happen not to like whiskey. Jonah, who doesn’t care for drinking whiskey but can handle the taste better, found that it had a nice blend of liquor and citrus flavor. Grade: B+
Hot Pepper Tequila: When they said hot, they meant hot! I like neither hot pepper nor tequila. Jonah doesn’t mind spice, but found that the white chocolate couverture added nothing special. Grade: C-
Arizona Citrus: Smooth ganache, nice couverture. Mild citrus flavor, with an emphasis on orange. Grade: A-
Kentucky Truffle: Very truffle-y. Excellent filling. Couverture broke off strangely, but it was excellent all around — super subtle. Grade: B-
Honey Truffle: Filling was reminiscent of Demel caramels but had a more gooey texture and wasn’t nearly as good. Jonah’s reaction: “Ugh.” Grade: B
Lemon Pepper Truffle: Very lemony. Grade: B
Unlisted Fig: It’s the one in the photo below that looks like it has a golden raisin on top. Fruity with a smooth filling. I’m not big on surprises, but I do enjoy solving puzzles, so the fact that it was unlisted was kind of fun — more fun than eating it. Grade: B-
Obama’s assortment also included Richelieu, Kentucky Truffles, Honey Truffles, and Lemon Pepper Truffles, so I won’t repeat those. In addition, there were Kansas Corn Crunch, Hawaiian Pineapple, Kenyan Coffee, and Lemon. Jonah loves pineapple and coffee, and my family is from Kansas, so the deck was stacked.
Kansas Corn Crunch: Mild crunch, smooth filling, mild boozy flavor. Not sure about the corn part. Grade: B
Hawaiian Pineapple: Like the Baton Framboise, the filling was jelly. It had an extremely strong pineapple flavor. Jonah is more of a fan of both pineapple and jelly than I am, so his grade is A-, while mine was B+.
Kenyan Coffee: Wow, did Jonah like this. Long after he’d eaten both of them, he kept asking if there were any left in the box. The flavor was strong but not overwhelming; a perfect coffee chocolate. Grade: A
Lemon: The description says, “Lemon and rum ganache, coated with milk chocolate and Trinidadian spice.” I expected better than this strong lemon flavor with a fluffy filling. Grade: B-
In the chocolate competition Obama’s box came out slightly ahead by our standards, but it was surprisingly close. Whomever you may have wanted to win the election, Obama’s win was good news for the Land of Chocolate, because Burdick is still selling the Obama box (currently rebranded as the Inauguration Assortment).
I guarantee that when Jonah reads this, he will say nothing about the inauguration and instead will resume reminiscing about that amazing Kenyan Coffee. We’ve got priorities around here.