Category Archives: Food and Drink

Stonewall Kitchen Dark Chocolate Chili Cinnamon and Nibs Bar

I’ve never reviewed a chocolate bar before and I will, furthermore, confess a shameful love for plain Hershey’s bars that dates back to the time my grandmother was first left with me unattended and violated my mother’s up-to-that-point successful “no … Continue reading

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Chocolat Frey’s Chocobloc 72% Dark with Honey-Almond Nougat

Chocolat Frey AG was founded in 1887, and is presently the number one chocolate in the Swiss retail market. Like all good chocolatiers these days, Frey is environmentally and socially conscious, which extends not only to its procurement of raw … Continue reading

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Lindt’s Excellence Dark Chocolate with Caramel and Sea Salt

We are no strangers here to Lindt chocolates, and it’s generally a happy association — on our part, at least. The latest example of Lindt’s chocolates to cross my desk is a new flavor in their “Excellence” line — dark … Continue reading

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Lindt Excellence Roasted Hazelnut Dark

Dark chocolate!  How lovely. Breakfast of champions, some may say.  Well, I say that all the time, so I think that counts.  Toss in some “heart-healthy” hazelnuts, and I’ll live forever, right?  Don’t answer that. But in my quest to … Continue reading

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Taza’s Coconut Almond Chocolate Bar

This is my second encounter with Taza’s stone-ground chocolate, this one a bar with 80% cacao, with coconut and almond. Needless to say, everything is organic. (To refresh your memory, Taza is an American company headquartered in Somerville, Massachusetts, that … Continue reading

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Contadino Pinot Grigio Vivace

Champagne wishes and  caviar dreams, isn’t that how it goes?  But what if your wallet is more soda and chips?Well, there’s always the wines under a ten-spot.  Or, with this Pino Grigio, a hair under five (I picked mine up … Continue reading

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Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company’s No 3 – Dark Strawberry Champagne Truffle Bar

Champagne and chocolate is definitely a treat.  Add some strawberries, and I’m in heaven.  (Please don’t add chocolate to those strawberries though; inevitably both end up soggy.) So a bar that combines three of my favorite things should be a … Continue reading

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Lovely’s Salted Cashew Chocolate Caramels

Valentine’s Day!  Huzzah!  I don’t so much care for the holiday – I enjoy the romance in the air, but hate the restaurant crowds – but I do love a theme.  And, of course, a chance to eat candies without … Continue reading

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Starbucks’ Cherry Mocha

I’m a sucker for cherry flavored anything. That’s because I’m a bing cherry addict. I’ll get my fix any way I can, from the real deal to back-alley hard candies. I ain’t ashamed. So when Starbucks unveiled their Valentine’s Day … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Tunes

What happens is that the tune happens to you — you don’t happen to it. You can’t help it, because it’s not you, it’s the tune. Night after night, morning after morning, day after day, the tunes live inside your … Continue reading

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Dick Taylor’s Craft Chocolate’s Belize and Toledo single origin bar

Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor are a couple of former boat builders in the Northern California port city of Eureka. They’ve turned their efforts now to crafting high-quality chocolate, and they’re doing an excellent job. They’re making bean-to-bar chocolate bars … Continue reading

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Chocolove’s Three Chocolate Candies

Chocolove is an American company headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, that produces chocolate bars and candies using all natural ingredients and following the traditions of European chocolatiers. What came across my desk was three packages of “nut-butter cups” — one the … Continue reading

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Mort Rosenblum’s A Goose in Toulouse

Mort Rosenblum, a longtime reporter based in Paris, used his connections, his considerable interviewing and writing skills, and his passion for good food to create A Goose in Toulouse, a personal odyssey in search of the future of French cuisine. … Continue reading

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Trader Joe’s Boozy Little Chocolate Truffles

Trader Joe’s Assortment of Boozy Little Chocolate Truffles seems to be a seasonal item, which is possibly why they’re not listed on the Trader Joe’s website, which in turn is why I’m not able to provide any background information. Trader … Continue reading

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Xocolatl de David

By the register little chocolate squares beckoned. Labeled, somewhat exotically, ‘Xocolatl de David’, there were three sorts, but the one that caught my eye read “72% Ecuadorian Chocolate with Black Truffles and Sea Salt”. Not a chocolate truffle, mind you, … Continue reading

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Trader Joe’s Organic Hot Cocoa Mix

I love books.  I love music.  I absolutely adore beer.  And when the cool breezes start to blow, I need hot chocolate.  It’s a requirement around here. So when I got some “TJ’s” cocoa in the mail, I rushed to … Continue reading

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Taza Chocolate’s Mexican-Style Stone-Ground Super Dark

In spite of the name, Taza is an American company manufacturing, among other things, Mexican-style stone-ground chocolate. Yes, that’s just what it says: the chocolate, from organically grown cacao, is ground between mill stones. Founder Alex Whitmore first ran across … Continue reading

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Alter Eco Dark Blackout 85% Cocoa Chocolate Bar

“I’m sending you some chocolate.” – has there ever been a more wonderful message? “It’s 85% cocoa.” – maybe not so much?  I don’t like dark chocolate over 75%. That’s what I’d tell people. All of the chocolate I’d had over … Continue reading

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Happy Farms Preferred Transylvanian-Romanian Cave Cheese

I love cheese. I love Halloween.  Transylvania is on my travel bucket list. So when my local Aldi unveiled Transylvanian cheese this season, I was all over it. And I’ll be sad when this seasonal treat leaves shelves, because it’s … Continue reading

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Dunkin’ Donuts’ “Spider Donut”

‘Tis the season. When October comes ’round, lots of places get their theme on and go full ghoul. Dunkin’ Donuts is no exception … but their execution of the Halloween spirit looks like actual murder. I bring you: Spider Donut. … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Minding the Stockpot

Even visitors to Kinrowan Hall get put to useful work if someone such as the Kitchen staff needs a hand as Elizabeth, author of such works as The Stratford Man novels of Ink and Steel and Hell and Earth discovered … Continue reading

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Diana Malouf’s Ococoa

Every so often an unexpected, and very welcome, treat shows up in my mailbox, courtesy of Cat, who’s constantly on the lookout for new chocolate-related review opportunities. This time around it was a box of bonbons from Diana Malouf’s Ococoa … Continue reading

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Bali’s Best Candies: Latte, Espresso, and Tea

It’s rare to find a beautifully designed package that actually has great product inside; less so when the subject is coffee candy and the reviewer is … well … picky as hell on both counts. But Bali’s Best Premium Collection, … Continue reading

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Vivani’s Organic Dark Chocolate Espresso

In spite of the name, Vivani Organic Dark Chocolate Espresso is made by a German company, Ludwig Weinrich GmbH, which been in the business of producing fine chocolates for a century. Like so many contemporary confectioners, Weinrich uses only organic … Continue reading

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Sirius Konsum’s Chocolate & Lakkris

I absolutely adore black licorice.  Wasn’t always so.  I used to turn my nose up at it when I was Trick-or-Treating age, and my father gleefully took the offensive items out of my bag and sighed with happiness at each … Continue reading

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Council Béatitude Cherry Tart Saison

Have a taste for a pour that’ll really sock it to ya? Well then my dear, have I got a pour for you. Cherry Tart Saison is the WWE champion of Saisons, one that will tempt you with its bright, … Continue reading

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Flying Dog Bloodline (Nitro Pour)

There are some people who turn their nose up at a “fruity” beer.  I am not one of those people.  Okay fine; I can be one of those people, if the beer in question is a syrupy mess.  Or the … Continue reading

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Flying Dog Family Tree

I tend to have a huge Sad when the weather starts getting warmer.  Not because it’s gardening season; I love fresh vegetables and the inevitable cauldron of walnut pistou served up in the kitchen (try it slathered on Cook’s sourdough. … Continue reading

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Susan Cheever’s Drinking in America

Not only has alcohol been intimately involved in the history of the United States of America, it has been closely associated with some of the key moments in that history, from the very beginning. That’s the argument that Susan Cheever … Continue reading

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Zotter’s Labooko Peru ‘Criollo Cuvée’ 82% chocolate bar

I received this bar, which came in a two-pack, as a gift. It’s some of the best dark chocolate I’ve had in ages. It’s made by the Austrian firm Zotter, which  makes organic fair trade bean-to-bar chocolates. They makes tons … Continue reading

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Comfort Food

Is it a bowl of your mother’s fish chowder Or a warm doughnut dusted with powdered sugar? Comfort food is as individual as each of us. We here at Sleeping Hedgehog are interested in your story! This is Jennifer Stevenson‘s … Continue reading

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Cadbury Chocolate’s Milk Chocolate with Roasted Almonds & Royal Dark Bars

Cadbury, currently the second largest confectionery manufacturer in the world (behind Mars-Wrigley) has been in the business of making candy for quite some time. Founded in 1824, the company originally focused on beverages – coffee, tea and drinking chocolate. Chocolate … Continue reading

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Baylee’s Best Chocolates

I suspected these chocolates would be good when my dog tried to grab them before I could sample them. Even through a manila envelope and padding, apparently, Baylee’s Best Chocolates are powerfully attractive to a sensitive nose. On opening the tooth-dented box, … Continue reading

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Shiner Texas Warmer

While I’ve never been to Texas, I’ve been a fan of Shiner ever since I tasted their incredible Bohemian Black Lager.  So when a friend brought over Shiner’s brand-new winter warmer brew, Texas Warmer, I had to give it a … Continue reading

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Nice Holiday Milk Stout and Naughty Egg Nog Ale

  I love a good stout.  Hell,I’ll even take a mediocre stout if I’m really desperate.  Because there’s nothing like the full-bodied flavor of a dark beer.  So when Flying Dog Brewery here in Maryland decided to repeat their “Naughty” … Continue reading

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Kage Baker on Barm Brack

Barm Brack is a soul cake — traditional Scots recipe calls for a bean or silver coin or some other token to be baked into it and the person getting the winning slice gets fame or good luck or sacrificed … Continue reading

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Richard J. King’s Lobster

Richard J. King’s Lobster is part of a series on “Animals” from Reaktion Books, and, in spite of what we might expect when dealing with a creature mainly interesting for its gustatory qualities, the culinary history is a minor part … Continue reading

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Sara Perry’s The Tea Deck 

Presentation is important. It’s what catches our attention, induces us to pick up something (or someone). It’s the prequel to a relationship. It is a step that can be skipped, but people in the business of selling rarely do. As … Continue reading

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Bill Barich’s A Pint of Plain: Tradition, Change, and the Fate of the Irish Pub

Joseph Thompson penned this review. There’s nothing worse than travelling with a dreamer on a mission to recapture his or her youth. The old fishing holes are puddles, quaint villages become banal suburbs, and magical forests shrink to mundane thickets. … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Porridge

Englishman Dr. Samuel Johnson’s dictionary once slammed porridge, defining oats as ‘a grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.’ Obviously he never had a good bowl of hot porridge with applesauce mixed … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate Story: Turkish Coffee

Coffee should be as black as hell, as strong as death, andas sweet as love. — Old Turkish saying We’ve been playing backgammon to escape the heat of the summer, gathered round small tables at the Green Man Pub, or … Continue reading

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Weston Hingler’s Secrets of the Tsil Café

Secrets of the Tsil Café is a coming of age story set in the world of food and enhanced with numerous recipes. Weston Hingler is the son of two cooks. His mother, a strong-minded but slightly neurotic Italian caterer, raises him … Continue reading

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Noel Riley Fitch’s Appetite For Life, The Biography of Julia Child

For many of us, the name Julia Child brings to mind memories of television broadcasts featuring a somewhat fluttery older lady as she prepared some sumptuous dish. For some, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, her 1961 book with Simone Beck … Continue reading

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Remembrance of Things Chocolate

The best hot chocolate I ever had was not in Paris, though some Parisians I know would be very upset to hear that. And honestly, there’s a lot to be said for sitting at a cafe on the Bastille, sipping … Continue reading

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Carolyn Wyman’s Spam: A Biography

Yes, spam. The stuff that Monty Python made such memorable fun of a skit oh so long ago. Now you won’t find any spam here at this Estate as we’ve got more natural meat here than you can shake your … Continue reading

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William Sitwell’s A History of Food in 100 Recipes 

Some books are so obvious that I wonder why it hasn’t been done before. Indeed I suspect it is, but this take on it is certainly a very good one. Iain ordered it for the Estate Library and passed it … Continue reading

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Betina J. Wittels and Robert Hermesch’s Absinthe: Sip of Seduction, a Contemporary Guide

This book promises a great deal, and delivers most of it. It’s designed beautifully from beginning to end — the cover is colored the perfect shade of pale green to match the absinthe in the glass in the photograph under … Continue reading

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Dagoba Chocolates: Dagoba Hazelnut, Dagoba Dark Chocolate and Dagoba Xocolatl

You could think of Ashland, Oregon as the home of Southern Oregon University, of the beloved Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and of the Ashland Peach, which was deemed a huge success at the 1893 World’s Fair. Or you might think of … Continue reading

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Lillie Belle Farms’ Purple Haze 75% Bean To Bar Dark Chocolate

Never open a review with a cliche, right? Well, rules are made to be broken, so … I know they say you can’t judge a book by its cover. Turns out you also can’t judge a chocolate by its wrapper. … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Central European creature comforts

Jack Merry here. If you’ve got a bit of time to spare, I could use your help! Remember me mentioning a couple of weeks ago that the fellow violinists in the Huddled Masses Violin Ensemble (at their reunion somewhere in … Continue reading

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