moments of pleasure

LET'S face it.  There are very few women who don't see chocolate as more than just a collection of ingredients which taste nice. Chocolate speaks to us. It says; "Here, I know your day was rubbish. Eat me and feel better.", "I know your bf's an idiot. But I'm tasty and comforting.", "Awww - feeling hormonal and grumpy and tearful? I'll help."
I don't actually eat a lot of chocolate. Y'know, being diabetic and all that. So when I do need it - it has to be good chocolate. Dark chocolate is my preference. Velvety, dark chocolate with natural antioxidants which melts slowly, with a good texture leaving a coating on your tongue. Mmmmmm.
So imagine my delight when I found out about chocolate which claims to be "rich in natural goodness" with up to 3 times more natural antioxidants than other dark chocolates.
Beyond Dark Moments of Pleasure is 70 per cent dark chocolate which  is gluten, wheat and dairy free, and suitable for vegetarians and vegans!
 I nicknamed it "healthy chocolate" and my friends were queuing up to help me taste test it.
I was sent a package of 35g bags in plain, hints of raspberry and hints of orange flavours. I couldn't wait to try them!
 I had invited friends for dinner at the weekend and to be honest think of myself as a bit of a show off when it comes to this kind of thing.
My menu for the evening began with a tapas style starter with king prawns and fresh squid pan fried with garlic butter, homemade bread with flavoured oils and vinegars and hummus for dipping, assorted continental meats, olives, anchovies... you get the picture.
This was to be followed by roast bacon-wrapped pheasant (shot by my neighbour) with apple, goose-fat roasted potatoes and parsnips and fresh veg. Apologies to any vegetarians - I am most definitely carnivore!
I wanted a good pud to round off the meal and to be fair it's not my favourite course to prepare so I wanted something quick and easy.
Recently I was lucky enough to go to one of the chain restaurants launched by Jamie Oliver- Jamies Italian - and had enjoyed desert there so much I thought I'd have a go at reproducing it.
So - Panettone bread and butter pudding served with a chocolate and expresso sauce.
Panettone bread and butter pud is easy - slice your panettone thickly, spread with butter and lay in a dish (I used a lasagne dish) I sploshed over a good helping of Baileys liqueur. I mixed two eggs, 360 ml milk ( you could mix milk and cream), dropped in a teaspoon of vanilla extract and hurled the whole lot over the bready mix. This needs to be baked for 35 mins. (I did it at 180 degrees in a fan oven) Some people do it in a bain marie. I don't bother.
The sauce - I emptied one bag of Beyond Dark drops into a microwaveable jug, minus a handful or two for tasting purposes, obviously. I gently melted them and added a couple of teaspoons of very strong coffee ( be careful not to overpower chocolate) and enough cream to give a nice saucy consistency.
  The resulting combination was gorgeous - rich but not overpowering. It went down very well!
Claire reads the small print
before trying a moment of
This of course left me with the bags of flavoured chocolate to try.
My friends Jane and Claire were strangely very willing to help with this project so at todays "Knit and Bitch" coffee morning I brought them through for a taste test.
We started with the raspberry flavour. The girls could taste the flavour but at first I couldn't. Bizarrely after trying the orange flavour and going back to the raspberry ( for research purposes obviously) I could pick up the subtle flavour much more easily.
Jane doesn't care about the small
print - she just eats the gorgeous
What can we say -we thought both flavours were gorgeous. They would be great to cook with, add to cakes or decorate deserts with but I liked them best, by the handful, chucked into my grateful mouth.
More friends arrived in the afternoon so I offered them a taste too. One liked them but thought they should be bigger while the other loved the orange but wasn't keen on the raspberry, describing them as "bitter".  I think it's a matter of personal preference - I find milk chocolate mostly too sickly while my son would kill for anything from the Galaxy range.
On the whole I would say if you like dark chocolate you will love these.

madmumof7 was sent six 35g bagsof chocolate for review purposes
They are available from Harrods,  branches of Sainsbury and Holland and Barratt, from some independent retailers and by mail-order from Amazon or direct from 
Opinions are the reviewers own.

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