Chocolates & perfumes, part 2 ~ coffee, cacao nibs

Pocket Coffee

Man cannot live on perfume alone; every so often, we must talk about chocolate instead. Continuing with the same theme as my last dark chocolate with "stuff" added post, here are a few of the chocolates I've tried recently, and once again, I've sprinkled in a few perfume recommendations in a vain attempt to keep things on topic.

First, let me just say: OMG, OMG, POCKET COFFEE!!1!!1! Where have these been all my life? I had never even heard of them until Kevin sent me a generous handful. Pocket Coffees are bite-sized chocolate cubes lined with caramelized sugar and filled with sweetened espresso. They're made by the Italian company Ferrero, and they're apparently only sold during cooler months (no Pocket Coffee for you in August, sorry). They seem to be marketed for the caffeine jolt as much as anything else (check out this ad on YouTube) and I can confirm that 4 seems to be my limit before I get the jitters. Personally, I'd eat them even if they were decaffeinated — although perhaps it is just as well that I can't eat as many of them in one sitting as I'd like to. They aren't easy to come by in the US, but you can order them at capriflavors. The matching perfume: Thierry Mugler's new A*Men Pure Coffee, I suppose, although I haven't even tried it yet. Hopefully Kevin will be reviewing it next week.

More chocolate + coffee: I already mentioned Dolfin's Noir Au Café Moulu (with ground coffee) in my last chocolate post. It is wonderfully smooth with a subtle coffee flavoring. If you're looking for more zing, you might prefer Scharffen Berger's Mocha bar (dark chocolate with freshly roasted coffee), which actually has enough ground coffee that you can feel it crunch between your teeth. I am torn: I like Dolfin's chocolate better, but I like the extra coffee in the Scharffen Berger. I'm afraid I need both**. Another option: Vosges' Creole Bar (New Orleans-style chicory coffee, cocoa nibs, Sao Thome bittersweet chocolate). This one has a nice crunch to it also, although that might be mostly the nibs (see below), and the chocolate is smooth and nicely bitter. It is not my personal favorite from Vosges, but it is worth a try. The perfume: Bond no. 9 New Haarlem.

Cacao nibs, for those of you who aren't familiar with the term, are little bits of cacao bean with the husk removed. Usually they're roasted but unsweetened. They're crunchy and a bit bitter (I find the taste vaguely reminiscent of coffee, others call the flavor nutty), and add a nice texture and flavor to chocolate bars. For those of you who like to kid yourself that you're doing your body a huge favor by eating massive amounts of chocolate, they're also apparently a good source of antioxidants. Lots of niche chocolate brands make bars with nibs (Santander, Dagoba, etc) but my hands-down favorite is Chinita Nibs from Chuao Chocolatier. Chuao describes the bar as dark chocolate with "caramelized cacao nibs and nutmeg"; I describe it as "hard-core chocolate crack". Spice fans, you must try this bar. They don't skimp on the nutmeg, which tastes like it was freshly ground just moments before your bar was put into its wrapper. Outrageously good. Fragrance: Le Labo Bergamote 22.

Sources: Dolfin, Scharffen Berger and Vosges can be found at chocosphere. Chuao Chocolatier has its own online store, but I found my bars at my local Wegman's supermarket (which also carries Scharffen Berger & Vosges).

** Update: I've just polished off a bar from Santander called Dark Chocolate 100% Colombian Coffee Bits, and this one handily beats both Dolfin and Scharffen Berger. They aren't kidding about coffee "bits" — the coffee is cracked, not ground, and the bar is very crunchy and has a strong coffee flavor, nearly as strong as the Pocket Coffee. It is mildly sweet, and just about perfect.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    OMG. Just what I need… pocket coffee. I've tried baking brownies with high quality coffee, and that can be nice, so the dark chocolate with fresh roasted coffee sounds tempting.
    I ordered something from Vosges as a gift last month, after you wrote about them in your last chocolate article, and the recipient was very pleased. Vosges also sent me a nice letter with a discount code for my next order (for me, this time). They seem like a class act. I still don't know how to pronounce Vosges, though.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Oooh…need those brownies!

    I don't know how to pronounce Vosges either! My favorite is the Black Pearl, but haven't been able to find one lately to write about it. Let me know what you get w/ that discount code…they make quite a few I haven't tried.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I've always loved the way Italians drink their coffee: small and strong, in coffee bars that exist only to deliver a jolt of caffeine in the most efficient manner possible. (Note that Italian espresso bars don't have seats and don't do paper cups or flavoured syrups. Just glorious small cups of esperesso that you knock back in one go.) I've long loved Pocket Coffee chocolates and always stock up whenever I'm in Italy. They're like espressos in a wrapper, with the chocolate as a bonus. Wish I had some right now…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Love Espresso bars in Italy. My all time favorite is a teeny chic bar in Bologna. Great marble, great coffee. Spotless.

    I also bake with chocolate and coffee. I use Green Mountain coffee – not bitter or greasy at all. Truly enhances the flavor, and no one knows.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I need Pocket Coffees :-)

  6. Anonymous says:

    I believe it's pronounced Vohzh (long o). Katrina Markhoff has done a great job with those chocolates. My personal favorites are Recchiuti out of SF(…his Kona Coffee are scary-good…be careful – they pack a caffeine punch! But, oh so good. I wear Elixir des Merveilles when eating those…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Those Ferrero pockets look delicious, though I fear one might be my limit.

    For scented chocolate if you can bring yourself to go for milk chocolate too, New Tree Lavande, with lime is exactly like eating Yardley perfume covered in chocolate.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I think you've probably touched on this before, but have you tried the NewTree or Dagoba lavendar chocolates? I favor the NewTree with its smooth milk chocolate in cute 1X2 inch blocks.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Dang, woman, did you have to post about this? Did you really have to?


  10. Anonymous says:

    Thanks — will check out Recchiuti!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Mine are almost gone, so will be joining you in wishing I had some very soon…

  12. Anonymous says:

    Well do tell us what you bake!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Ooooh, with lime! So far, I keep giving milk chocolate bars a chance but I never love them, but will have to look for New Tree.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Have tried the Dagoba, and am meaning to do another Dagoba order soon. Not the New Tree though (see above).

  15. Anonymous says:

    The gods have listened. Chocolate and espresso. Together. I have no words.

  16. Anonymous says:

    LOL — if I have to eat it, you have to read about it ;-)

  17. Anonymous says:

    Hope you can get them easier than I can!

  18. Anonymous says:

    we 're rolling in them in Germany. Candy swap??

  19. Anonymous says:

    Feeling dizzy just reading about Pocket Coffee. Heaven!
    Since we're veering off road, subject-wise, will share news bit from the a.m. paper which reminded me of your recent contest.
    “London: Name of self-help book wins oddest-title award, 'If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start with Your Legs.' ”
    Am also fond of the title of the 2006 winner: “The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification.”
    Faux perfume book titles, anyone?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Vohzh it is indeed. :-)

  21. Anonymous says:

    The coffee choccies sound nice, although I wouldn't be able to have them since I have cut caffeine out of my diet almost completely (I have the odd Coke, like once every six months) and chocolate already contains caffeine. And I found I had a slight intolerance to chocolate too (not b/c of the caffeine) and I haven't had any since last September. Anyway, here in the UK, Ferrero has a bit of an image problem, mostly because of a terrible ad that is shown from time to time on the telly (if you've never seen it, go here: It is considered incredibly naff and people don't readily admit to liking Ferrero stuff. Apart from that preposterous ad, why the Brits should be so snooty about that Italian brand is beyond me, considering how revolting most British chocolate is (namely, Cadbury's, of course, which doesn't really deserves the name of 'chocolate' – not *my* assessment, that of a specialist trading standard commission).

    I'm a Swiss or Belgian chocolate girl myself.

    Ferrero has an image problem, but *I* have a problem with stuff that's sold under false pretences: like an American company calling itself Vosges Chocolates, when the product is not French. But that’s just me, I expect. LOL!

  22. Anonymous says:

    I do not love Lindt, can't say why — something about the chocolate. Too sweet, maybe? I keep trying their bars and not liking them. My son's absolute favorite is Lindt Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate though. But will look for HipEliving, great name!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Rolling in them! I am jealous. We need a chocolate swap board, like MUA's.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Waaah, no chocolate at all! I couldn't stand it.

    That is a truly ridiculous ad — the ads for Pocket Coffee, at least the 2-3 I watched, are at least funny. So agree on Cadbury. Don't know if they used to be wonderful, but they're not now.

  25. Anonymous says:

    It was tough at the beginning, but I started feeling better (I used to get a muzzy head ‘the morning after’ any day I’d had chocolate; I wanted to see if I could clear my system out) so that became an incentive to carry on. After that it’s been like a challenge: every time I felt like having some chocolate, I thought, ‘I wonder if I can stand it one more day.’ And, before you know it, it was seven months! I now don’t feel like it at all – or hardly ever. What I’m aware of is that I’ll probably get a massive migraine the next time I have even a tiny square of chocolate. My deadline is on Monday, maybe I can afford to have a migraine on Tuesday. LOL!

    That ad did a lot of harm to the brand.

    Nah, Cadbury always was terrible: much too much fat and sugar, not enough cocoa solids. Until quite recently, the Brits didn’t have access to anything better so they were quite content with Cadbury. The history of the chocolate (and sweets) industry in England is *very* interesting – all the founders of the big brands were Quakers and social reformers, and it’s all to do with the colonies and sugar, etc.

    Of course, next to Hershey’s…. *running away*

  26. Anonymous says:

    I like Lindt, Suchard and Nestlé. It's a childhood thang: I used to spend most of my holidays in Switzerland (in Vevey, where Nestlé choc is made).

  27. Anonymous says:

    Well. Ferrero's Pocket Coffie, Ferrero Rocher (chockolate and fine toasted nut), Mon Cherry (chockolate and cherry in brandy souce), Rafaello (toated cocco nut cream and white chockolate) are with Baci Perugina ( dark chockolate adn a whole nut in chockolate souce) a sort of institution here in Italy and you can find them almoust everywhere. They are cheap and very good, according to the taste and Pocket Coffie become famous during the 8o's due to it bust of coffeine, more before RedBull and it is a sort of drug to night direvers.

    Savo from MIlano, Italia

  28. Anonymous says:

    Hersheys was not always terrible, if my memory serves, but the milk chocolate bars are pretty darned bad now. I had my son do a taste test of several milk chocolates and he was amazed to discover the truth: Hershey's doesn't even taste like chocolate these days.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I used to love those Perugina Baci, but haven't had one in years. The rest I don't know. I can see that the Pocket Coffees would have come in very handy back in my college days though :-)

  30. Anonymous says:

    *buys a 32 pack of Pocket Coffee*

    Gonna have to add this site to “Not Allowed to Read When Hungry”. Normally it's safe because I don't impulse buy perfumes (much). But the choooocolate…

  31. Anonymous says:

    Even their name is positively crack-addictive-like: “Pocket Coffee”–in case you need an upper and can't wait two blocks until the next D&D or Starbuck-e-roo's jumps in your way. Final verdict: I need, need, need pocket coffee.

  32. Anonymous says:

    LOL, Robin, these kept me awake through 600 hours of GERMAN classes. (600 real hours, in Germany, one YEAR ONE YEAR..pocket espresso!)
    I would trade them for Türkish Tea with my classmates. HUGE hit.
    Have you tried the Surprise Eggs yet? The chocolate is too sweet in them, but the toys are cool! (they are not sold in the USA, because it is not legal to have a toy encased in chocolate. sigh. well that is what I was told)

  33. Anonymous says:

    Vooohhhzzz :)

    you don`t have to pronounce, you just have to consume it! ;)

  34. Anonymous says:

    she is a genius, and from what I hear a lovely person..and ooohhhh how I loooooveeee VohhhhzzzgeZ

  35. Anonymous says:

    Robin, I agree with you, it is a bit too sweet, even the very dark, I do not get this. I think it has changed in the last 20 years. It was creamier, I swear, the texture does not taste (feel) the same. I can say the same for Godiva. Not the same. Or I am not the same.


  36. Anonymous says:

    I know you said above that one didn't have to pronounce it, just consume it, but in case you do want to pronounce it correctly, it's vohzh (the first 's' is silent, as is the final 'es'; it's pronounced as if it was spelled Voge). :-)

  37. Anonymous says:

    They ought to have little vending dispensers in the few blocks left on earth w/o a Starbucks, LOL…

  38. Anonymous says:

    600 hours — that must have been a LOT of pocket coffee!

    Have not seen the Surprise Eggs, and guess I won't if you can't sell them here — figures.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I think you're exactly right on Godiva — they aren't as good as they used to be. Also true that there is WAY more competition now in the high-end chocolate world — and don't think they're keeping up.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Sorry I missed your post – I love to bake (it's therapy for me) and I bake from scratch. Brownies, cakes, flourless choc. cakes, anything, really! Ask me for a recipe and I'll give you one! We're foodies here!

  41. Anonymous says:

    I don't eat chocolate, ever. I have never eaten and enjoyed that Vosges chocolate with bacon.
    Oy, now I must go to the store!

  42. Anonymous says:

    I used to love to bake too, but have given it up. Now I get the same therapy from reading food blogs :-)

  43. Anonymous says:

    LOL! That bar w/ bacon is fun. Can't decide if I like it, but it's fun.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Ferraro makes them, too, take a look at wikipedia (under Kinder Surprise) fascinating eggs. I love to get one sometimes.

    It was a lot of pocket coffee. But sometimes I just brought a thermos of espresso from home or chocolate or both, OR the pocket espresso.

    Have you have Turkish coffee or Turkish Tea, yet, Robin? Good Strong stuff!

  45. Anonymous says:

    I adore Turkish coffee…although don't get it anymore now that I live in the middle of nowhere. Turkish tea I'm not familiar with though, what is it?

  46. Anonymous says:

    sorry this took me so long to get back, it is brewed very very strongly with special black tea from Turkey, in a lovely pot which I cannot describe if I tried, and often people add hot water to it, and sugar, and serve it in these tiny hour glass shaped clear glasses.

    When I took my 600 hours of German language classes, most of my classmates were Turkish, and the women invited me into their circle and fixed me this wonderful tea every day during the breaks.

    It is not only a wonderful tea, but there is a very strong social aspect to being invited to share the tea and take a tea break. I loved it.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Sounds much like Turkish Coffee made with tea then: strong, sweet. Will have to see if I can try it sometime.

  48. Anonymous says:

    warning: next you will be seeking out those cool tea urns! (I could think of much worse things to happen, though!) Let me know what you think!

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