Ladies… here’s my best piece of advice at the moment.
If you find yourself single, get yourself a Food Husband. They’re an excellent investment. If you get yourself a good one, they are no muss, no fuss and generally, quite agreeable. You don’t have to do their laundry, pick up their socks or even make them dinner. You don’t have to have deep discussions about your “relationship” or “where are we going with this?” You simply go out and eat food with them and have some pleasant conversation.
If you’re really lucky, you’ll wind up with a great one like I have, who just happens to be a food photographer, a food writer and a blogger for the Food Network. This is an added bonus because, it means we get to eat out even more than we would otherwise and, he doesn’t care how many photos I take when we eat.
However, what pushed him over the top as possibly the best food husband EV-ER was this chocolate bar he bought me last week: Bissinger’s Coconut Caramel Red Hawaiian Sea Salt Bar.
We had made a pit stop at Urban Fare on Alberni after a sushi lunch across the street. Urban Fare is my go to spot in Vancouver for adding to my chocolate bar “collection”. They carry a very wide range of artisan and local bars that you just can’t find anywhere else in Vancouver.
Oddly enough on this trip in, somebody was actually manning the chocolate counter (it’s usually deserted but everything is easily accessible to the shopper) and asked if she could help. It turned out she managed the department and did all the purchasing for it. BINGO!! We had a nice chat with her, she let us try a really fun bar that had pop rocks and chili in it (that’s coming soon!) and then she told us we had to try this Bissinger’s bar.
The name was enough to convince Sean that he had to buy it and he also bought me my own bar (knowing my very horrible weakness for salted caramel). It was hot out and I carted it home along with the other three bars I’d purchased for myself. I had planned to photograph and sample them a few days later but… the Bissinger’s bar kept whispering at me (screaming is actually more like it…) and I gave in.
I’m so glad I did. This was the best chocolate bar I have tried in… I don’t even know how long. Forever maybe. As Sean said when he tried his, it brings to mind the pie scene from When Harry Met Sally. Yeah… like that.
The bar is milk chocolate made from 100% African Beans (they say it’s for a richer chocolate taste) and uses cocoa and cocoa butter from Rainforest Alliance Certified Farms. It weighs in at a healthy 99grams.
It’s divided into 6 very large squares. One square could easily make a nice after dinner dessert (if you have that much willpower). The flat side of the bar is coated with toasted coconut. When I tried to snap the bar to photograph, I actually wound up crushing it a bit. I chalked it up to being soft from the heat and it meant I had to get busy with the camera fast because just look at all that caramel oozing out!
The caramel is thick and gooey, very rich and creamy. I always find most “salted” caramels aren’t salty enough for my tastes but this one was. I thought it was perfect and the salt gave it an almost warm finish in your mouth and it did a lovely job of neutralizing the added sweetness the milk chocolate gave the bar. Some may find it a little too salty but it was perfect for my palette.
The caramel is thick and so is the chocolate. The coconut on the outside of the bar means it doesn’t get lost in the overall flavour and still adds a nice texture. This is not a delicate or subtle bar by any means, and I actually liked that about it.
The one thing I did notice after putting it in the freezer to firm up a bit after shooting, was it still didn’t snap well. The base chocolate is very thick but the chocolate on the top is thin, making it difficult to snap the bar with out breaking into the caramel pockets. Oh well… just be prepared to munch up that caramel quickly and don’t forget to lick your fingers when you’re done!
Bissinger’s sells their chocolates and confectionary on their website to customers in the US, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. They do say for other international orders you can contact them by phone. I was unable to find a list of stores that carry their products but, for those in the Vancouver area, Urban Fare seems to have you covered (but not the Olympic Village store – I tried to refill on the weekend but they didn’t carry it!)