Showing posts with label Vietnam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vietnam. Show all posts

Monday, June 4, 2018

Chocolate review: Alluvia Chocolate Cocoa Nibs

I mentioned a second Alluvia bar. I opened this while the Clairvoyant was away last May but felt I had to seeing the 'Best Before' to be a year after the production date. It was a good excuse. :)

Alluvia's dark chocolate with cocoa nibs
Details on the chocolate at the back of the package including the price tag
The cacao used for the chocolate is from an area in the Mekong Delta
There's no mention about the minimum cacao content and not so much details about the nutritional value.
The wrapper reminded me of the movie "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" with its golden ticket
Seal for this high quality chocolate
This bar turned out to be a good one despite it being way past the "Best Before" indication. I didn't get a tummy ache from eating this chocolate (over a few days) so I think its time in the refrigerator preserved it enough. It was not as smooth as the first Alluvia bar but then perhaps that's because I didn't eat it at at time it was supposed to be eaten. Add to that the cocoa nibs infused in the chocolate that also influenced the taste. I would recommend this chocolate for those who go to Vietnam and want to find some nice souvenirs. The quality, for me, was a pleasant but not a big surprise considering they should be able to grow high quality cacao in Vietnam where they already produce top quality coffee.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Chocolate review: Alluvia 70% dark chocolate

Reviewing our stash of chocolates, I found that we had a few more bars from my trip to Vietnam last year. I picked this bar of Alluvia dark chocolate (I am usually the designated picker from our cache.). This one had a "Best Before August 2018" on it so I thought it's ripe for the picking.

Nice and simple package design for this chocolate that's proudly made in Vietnam
This is a very good chocolate that's probably under the radar of those shopping for souvenirs in Vietnam.
Details about the chocolate state that the cocoa is from beans produced in an area along the Mekong Delta. The cocoa content is 70%.
Gold foil wrap for the chocolate
The chocolate bar bears the brand.

The chocolate is smooth and just had a hint of bitter that should be expected from a 70% cacao bar. The 100g chocolate bar retailed for 8 USD (about 400PHP at the time). It is on the expensive side but this is high quality chocolate that's comparable in taste if not better than other more expensive chocolates that I've had. There is another Alluvia bar that we had just recently and I will be writing about that soon.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Chocolate review: Henk Dark Chocolate 72% Cacao

Our cache of chocolates included this one from Vietnam. I already wrote about several that I purchased during my September 2017 trip to Ho Chi Minh City and all except one were smooth despite their being dark chocolates having high cocoa content. We opened another chocolate from our Vietnam stash recently and this one proved to be a good one.

Henk dark chocolate claims to contain 72% cocoa
Details on the den so co la (dark chocolate) at the back of the package
The chocolate retailed for 5.00 USD at the HCMC international airport duty free shop.
Nutrition and expiration information
I will definitely get these chocolates if I get the chance to go to Vietnam again or if ever I see them in a shop somewhere. They give good value for money for a quality dark chocolate.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Chocolate review: Vietnamcacao Valentine Chocolate

We close October with another chocolate I got from the trip to Ho Chi Minh City. This is a dark chocolate from Vietnamcacao curiously called Valentine chocolate. I guess, this is being marketed as something you give for Valentine's Day?

Vietnamcacao's Valentine dark chocolate
Details at the back of the package
The chocolate claimed to contain 75% cocoa powder but only 24% cocoa butter
Information on the maker

At 2.50 USD (about 128 PHP), this chocolate is better than the company's Origin, which I featured in a previous post. It doesn't taste as raw as it is more refined even for a 75% cacao content. However, it is not as smooth as the Henk chocolate we ate before this one. And so among the three Vietnamese chocolates I have written about so far, this will be #2.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Chocolate review: Henk Dark Chocolate 65%

Another chocolate I got from the recent trip to Ho Chi Minh is this one with real nice packaging. Henk chocolate produced this dark chocolate with a box that gave you a nostalgic feel of a postcard. The image is that of Bin Thanh market

Henk dark chocolate

So co la den translates to dark chocolate

Nutrition and other information at the back
The first question I got from the wife when she tasted the chocolate (I let her sample it first.) is if this was milk chocolate. I just had to check as I remembered making sure to pick up only dark chocolates from the shelf at the duty free shop in Saigon's international airport. It is a dark chocolate and a smooth one. Its creamy even for a 65% dark chocolate, which I thought indicated its very good quality. This was definitely better than the previous Viet chocolate I featured in this blog. This is a steal at 4.00 USD (about 200 PHP) for a 100g bar. I will definitely get these the next time I am in Vietnam and spot them in a shop.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Chocolate review: Vietnamcacao Origin 75% cocoa

The trip to Vietnam last month yielded not a few bars of chocolates. It got very interesting when I was a store at the airport that sold local items. Apparently lost among the shelves of coffee was a shelf of Vietnamese chocolates. I couldn't find these earlier so it was a delight to see many brands and variants. Among those I bought

Vietnamcacao's Origin 75% dark chocolate's box states "Technology of Belgium"
Ingredients and nutrition information at the back of the box

This chocolate was the first one we sampled after I arrived home from the airport. The chocolate was okay but I thought it was a bit raw-tasting compared to the more refined chocolates I've tasted. The comparison would be with the Freefood Co.'s Coco Dolce dark chocolates that I featured before in this blog. This was not as refined as the label would have you believe (Technology of Belgium). The chocolate retailed for 2.50 USD or about 125 PHP.  That is quite expensive for 35g bar of chocolate that's not as smooth as other chocolates I have featured before. However, you could probably stretch it as an artisan chocolate. I wouldn't.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Atis in Vietnam!

Atis or sweetsop is my favorite fruit. One of the highlights of the trip to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) aside from the conference I attended, was going to Ben Tanh Market where may of us got our souvenirs to take home. On the Sunday we were there, we checked out the fruit stands to get some to eat back at the hotel. I was delighted to see they had atis, which was also in season in the Philippines, only that theirs were larger and heavier. We haggled a bit as we tried to get a feel of the prices for fruits. My friend brought lanzones, too, and both of us thought it over if we were going to buy some of the large chicos that was also available and ready to eat. The atis, we were told, can be eaten the following day.

I bought a couple of these large atis
Here's a standard pen for reference on the size of the atis

We didn't get to eat our atis until 2 days later. It was worth the wait though as we were treated to really juicy fruit with just the right sweetness. I shared my fruits with other colleagues who weren't able to join us at the market earlier.

I brought some of the seeds with me back to Manila. I will be planting those and hopefully they will grow and bear fruit in the future.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Pho 2000

Since this was my first trip to Vietnam, I was looking forward to enjoying their food. After a nice long walk around our accommodations where we were able to take a few photos of attractions like the Opera House and City Hall, we ended up at Ben Thanh Market to check the prices of some items we planned to purchase before coming home later in the week. Satisfied with our expedition, my friend and mentor took me to the nearby Pho 2000, which became famous when then US President Bill Clinton ate there. There we had our rather early dinner.

They had a simple straightforward menu
There were only a few of us eating at the restaurant as it was only 5:30 PM when we were there.
The logo of the restaurant states "Pho for Presidents"
We both ordered chicken pho that came with bean sprouts and mint leaves
We also ordered and enjoyed fried spring rolls
As we were tired from our walk, we also ordered coconut water in the shell. This was quite a refreshing drink and so suitable after our walk.
The restaurant has a lot of framed photos of former US President Clinton enjoying his meal there.
The original restaurant was on the ground floor of the building. That area has since become a branch of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Pho 2000 moved to the 2nd Floor but access is through CBTL. They have good food and an efficient staff at this restaurant. Its perfect for those who want to enjoy authentic pho but also want a clean, safe place where they could have a good meal.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ho Chi Minh City landmarks

I am currently in Ho Chi Minh City, attending an international conference. The city that was formerly but still popularly named Saigon is a vibrant one with a city center that's practically walkable. There are lots of motorbikes, which are still the main mode of transport. Even Uber and Grab have motorbike features in their apps and it is surprising that you don't see road crashes involving motorcycles quite frequently given their riders' behavior and maneuvers in traffic. Following are a few photos of landmarks that I took during our free time from the conference.

Panoramic photo of the replica of Notre Dame cathedral and surrounding areas.

Replica of Notre Dame
City hall and a statue of Ho Chi Minh
Opera House
More on Saigon soon!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Vietnamese painting

The Clairvoyant's second trip to Vietnam more than a decade ago yielded a few artworks including small ones that are now spread around our home. The small ones are mostly prints that we framed and hung in pairs. One oil painting stands out among that haul and which I feature in this post.

The photo above does not do any justice on the painting. It is really much more impressive and I always like to look at it from a certain angle and lighting when it seems to come alive. The brush strokes are also impressive for me who is not an expert on art. It currently hangs in our bedroom where it fits perfectly against our accent wall. I forget who the artist is but there's a certificate of authenticity with us somewhere in our archives at home. Also, we recently found that there is another work of the same artist that we have not yet framed. I will feature that as soon as its framed for better appreciation.