Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Chocolate review: Alter Eco Deep Dark Sea Salt Organic Chocolate

It's been raining cats and dogs for several days now and always a comfort food in times like this is chocolate. And so we checked our cache to also see if there were chocolates due for eating (more because of expiration dates). A chocolate that I had forgotten about is one that I bought in Australia last year. This Deep Dark Sea Salt Organic Chocolate by Alter Eco is probably among the best that we've had.

Deep Dark Sea Salt claims to have "rich bold salty sweet" taste
Details on the chocolate at the back
Alter Eco's briefer on the sources of cacao and the process of making this chocolate
Nutrition information
There's a pleasant surprise in the box that provides a lot of details about the cacao used for the production of this chocolate.
Here are some interesting statistics and science related to cacao farming and chocolate-making
Image of a cacao famer
My only regret about this chocolate is not being more of it at the IGA store near the entrance to the hotel I was staying at in Melbourne. I hope to see this in another store as it is excellent chocolate at a lower price than the Valrhonas.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Chocolate review: Twenty Squares dark chocolate mint crisp flake 55% cocoa

Here's something like a flashback. I was in Australia last year in July and bought a few bars of chocolates from the store near my hotel. One of those bars turned out to be with mint. I probably overlooked the mint as it was a dark chocolate and also had crisp flakes. I generally don't like mint with my chocolates. I find the taste overpowering that of chocolate. That's been true for both the inexpensive and relatively pricey ones I've had.

This chocolate claims to be all natural and gluten free
Details at the back of the package
Here's a close-up describing the making of the chocolate including the source of the cacao.
Ingredients and nutrition information
This chocolate was a bit surprising in that there is only a hint of mint in the taste. For me, that is good because the mint does not overwhelm the chocolate. There also was no lasting aftertaste from this chocolate so again, for me, that was also okay. Will I get this chocolate again? Maybe not as I am still not a fan of chocolates with mint. However, I do recommend this for people who like mint in their chocolates. :)

Friday, April 6, 2018

Chocolate review: Twenty Squares Simply Dark 65% Cocoa

I had forgotten about a few chocolate bars that I purchased during my trip in Australia last year. I found these as I was arranging our stock with the addition of a few bars I got from my recent trip to the Netherlands.

65% dark chocolate from Twenty Squares
Details on the chocolate at the back of the box
Information on the sourcing of cocoa is at the back. There's also a warning on the box about the bar containing milk, soy and tree nuts.
Nutrition information including the bar being gluten free is shown.
This is a smooth chocolate you can probably purchase at any supermarket, grocery or convenience store in Australia. Definitely a good buy and, as I recall, good value for money for a 100g bar.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Chocolate review: Cicada Artisan Chocolate Almond & Sea Salt

I continue with the recent series of posts on chocolates. It may seem as if we are having too much chocolate but these are ones we tasted weeks or days ago and we do try to manage our "cache" so that we have good chocolates to enjoy whenever we want to. Among the good one we got to enjoy is this artisan chocolate from Sydney.

Cicada Almond & Sea Salt packaging looked quite quaint
Details on the chocolate at the back
Close-up showing the ingredients, info on the maker and nutrition information

This is really good chocolate and my only regret is not being able to buy more of these when I was in Sydney. The taste and texture were just right and not raw as you might expect from an artisan chocolate. I have written before about the chocolate and sea salt and the saltiness here is just right and does well to enhance the chocolate.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Chocolate review: Twenty squares 55% cocoa dark chocolate blood orange

The haul of chocolates from Australia in July included a bar of Twenty Squares chocolate. As we have already found that dark chocolates and oranges go quite well together, this was a no-brainer purchase for me. It did not disappoint. I bought this one from the convenience store at the ground floor of my hotel in Melbourne and as I wasn't able to open it while there, I decided to get another bar in case it was good and we wanted to have another.

Twenty Squares 55% dark chocolate with blood orange
Details on the chocolate at the back
I like a good story about the chocolate I am eating and there is one for this chocolate, which claims to be gluten free with no artificial ingredients.
Nutrition information

Needless to say, we enjoyed this chocolate, which was smooth at 55%. It was as expected for dark chocolate with orange. Its a good thing we have another bar in our cache. This series on chocolates I bought from my trip to Australia will be overtaken by posts of chocolates I brought from my more recent trip to Vietnam. Then there is also the haul of Italian chocolates from the earlier European trip the Clairvoyant had in May. I will try to post about each of these chocolates as we eat them from time to time.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Chocolate review: Los Lacayos Nougat

One of the highlights of my trip to Australia was going around a Saturday outdoor bazaar in Sydney. There, I spotted a stall where they were selling artisan chocolates. This attracted me and I struck up some small talk with the vendor, who explained their chocolates were all handmade and not the mass produced kind. I forgot to ask about the exact source(s) of the cacao but she did say it was fair trade beans. I got a few bars for 4 dollars each, just making sure I got only the dark chocolates instead of the milk chocolates. It didn't hurt that the packaging are quite attractive, too, as evidenced from this dark chocolate with nougat

The details are at the back of the package
The chocolate is produced by Cicada Artisan Chocolate and proudly made in Australia. They have a website that you can easily google for more information about their chocolates. This one claimed 70% single origin chocolate from Papua New Guinea. The chocolate itself was enjoyable and the nougat sandwiched by the chocolate gave you something to chew on especially if you stored the chocolate in the refrigerator for quite some time and ate it immediately after taking it out of the ref. My only regret is getting one bar to take back home. I probably should have bought at least two. :)


Monday, August 28, 2017

Bondi Beach

I thought it would be nice to post about the beach as it has been raining hard the past few days. Well, the sun finally came out last Saturday and yesterday was quite warm. Today looks like another bright, sunny day. 

While going around in Sydney, my friend suddenly had an idea to go to the beach to admire the sights there. Bondi Beach is famous for its waves and is lose enough and very accessible from the city. I have read about Bondi Beach and it being very crowded during the summers. When we got there, it turned out it also attracted quite a crowd during winters! None of the bikini-clad women that we joked we probably would see in the summer but mostly people out on picnic, a walk or...surfing! Aussies seem a hardy folk and most came with their wet suits so they could brave the chilly waters. Some didnt even bother to wear wet suits and just donned their trunks or bathing suits before wading into the cold waters with surf boards in hand.

Bondi Beach as seen from our bus
Many people were just seated, walking or picnicking at the park facing the beach
The waves were inviting to a lot of people and a lot brought their cars and surf gear to the beach
Here's an idea of the parking situation that afternoon at the beach.
There was quite a crowd at the beach itself
The scene is not what you'd expect during the winter. But how can you blame people for enjoying the sun when the temperature was 21 degrees C?
The boulevard was line with shops, cafes and restaurants.
Someone even proposed via a aerial message and that added to the sights that afternoon. We stayed there for a couple of hours before going back to Sydney to continue our "walking tour" of the city.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Saturday Bazaar at The Rocks, Sydney

It's Saturday and a month ago, I had a great one going around Sydney with a good friend. One of the highlights of that trip to Australia was the opportunity to walk around a great city. It helped that the weather was also quite splendid that July 29 and it wasn't difficult to go around to enjoy the outdoors. After our trip to Cockatoo Island, we walked around The Rocks and chanced upon the outdoor bazaar in the area. We decided to check out the shops at the bazaar and I ended up getting a few items here and there including some artwork from a local artist, which I will post about soon. Here are a few photos I took of the bazaar.

People were enjoying the good weather
These sausages were really good!

There were also buskers around and their music was a welcome background to our walk around

We had our lunch under the bridge near some of the tents selling really good food. We had sausages and some soda though we were tempted to also try out the pasta offered by another tent.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

ANZAC Memorial, Sydney

One of my uncles from my father's side of the family was a Korean War veteran. He used to tell us a lot of stories about his stint in Korea from 1950-51. Among those were his experiences fighting with and against soldiers from other countries. Among those he fought with were Australians and New Zealanders (Kiwis?). They were collectively called ANZAC, short for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. I recall his tales about their fighting together to hold the line against wave upon wave of North Koreans and Chinese and their success in doing so despite the high price they paid for their gallantry.

The ANZAC memorial is devoted to the memories of fighting men from Australia and New Zealand who sacrificed themselves in many theaters of war including those in Europe, North Africa and the Pacific.

The ANZAC memorial across a reflection pool
A sculpture that represented the sacrifices made by the men and women of ANZAC
View of the reflection pool and Hyde Park from the memorial building

I wanted to take more photos inside the memorial but I thought and to me it would have been disrespectful to the people to whom this landmark was built for. Inside the building are several memorials to ANZAC troops for the major engagements they fought in. For details, one can check out their website here. War is never a good thing but then these have to be fought in order for good to confront and ultimately triumph against evil. And this requires much sacrifice. Memorials such as this reminds us of how much sacrifices fighting men have had to make so we could live in peace.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Sydney Opera House at night

I just could not travel to Australia and not have the chance to see one of the architectural wonders of the world. I am referring to the Sydney Opera House. I think this is The Highlight of my travels this year despite 5 months remaining in 2017. And this is right there beside the Clairvoyant's highlights from her trip to Barcelona (Sagrada Familia) and Rome (Colloseum, Sistine Chapel, etc.). Following are 'up close and personal' photos I took of the Sydney Opera House the Friday night I was in Sydney.

More photos of my trip to Melbourne and Sydney soon.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Chocolate review: Madecasse Sea Salt & Nibs

The first chocolate bar I bought in Melbourne was this one that was made in Madagascar. I spotted it on a shelf that featured locally made chocolates among the mass produced ones. I got one and another bar of chocolate made in Australia to satisfy my chocolate cravings on the cold nights there.

This bar was proudly made in Africa, Madagascar to be precise
The back of the label contains much details about this chocolate.
The label explains that the makers wanted to change the world by making a better bar of chocolate. They did this by making a bean-to-bar chocolate in Madagascar.
Nutrition information including this chocolate having at least 63% cacao content
Another view of the back of the label with the flap up to show some nice information on the cacao used in the production of this chocolate. They used heirloom cacao, which is said to guarantee the highest quality of cacao.

This retailed for 5.25 AUD or about 208 PHP, which is a relatively inexpensive price to pay for high quality chocolate. There are other mass production chocolates that are priced higher than this but are inferior in taste and texture. I thought this chocolate was an excellent product out of Madagascar/Africa and regret having only bought I more to take home. I am sure the Clairvoyant would also enjoy this crunchy chocolate, particularly the fine blend of sea salt and cacao nibs for one to munch on.