Saturday, June 17, 2017

Booze, Chocolate, and Toffee

7 Flavors of Mel's Toffee
A while ago, our Chocolate Coconut Acolyte told our Facebook page about a discover of hers -- Mel's Toffee. We cover a few of their flavor on this date and today we return to look at four other varieties of toffee. These four flavors – Dark Horse Chocolate Raspberry Toffee, Maple Bourbon Pecan, Right Brain CEO Stout, and Coconut Almond – all partly get their flavors from various alcohols so I asked our Coconut, Alcohol, and Mocha Acolytes to help me test them. We met one Saturday morning and tasted them using our standard testing methods. I only sampled two varieties so most of this article will be drawn from the experiences of my three assistants that morning – Elizabeth, Lisa, and Cindy. All of these toffees soy and milk if those are allergens for you; I'll list other allergens as we look at specific flavors. Made with real butter, these are not vegan products if that is a concern for you as well. I was sent one bag of each of the four flavors we're covering today for free from Mel's Toffee in exchange for a fair and honest review; no other form of compensation was received.

Mel's Toffee Coconut Almond Toffee
We started with the Coconut Almond which gets part of its flavor from Arcadia Aleo's Cocoa Loco, a Triple Chocolate Stout. Since I'm not a fan of coconut, I didn't taste this toffee; if you have a coconut allergen this has both coconut oil and flakes. These are toffee pieces that are dark in color, oddly incandescent one of the tester commented, with pieces of nuts and coconut flakes as well as dark chocolate drizzle. The fragrance was similar to coconut shortbread but not much chocolate. It is very solid and crunchy yet dissolves in the mouth and it only made a soft sound when the testers bit into a piece. Any of this toffee that stuck on the teeth also quickly dissolved. The taste was buttery and sweet coconut but the amount of chocolate varied greatly, the testers only got chocolate when they bit into a drizzled line. However while the toffee is called "Coconut Almond" none of the three testers tasted any of the nuts even though they could see them. It was the flavor differences from the title that led to a remarked different in final opinions about this flavor -- one would buy it, one would eat if again if offer, but one was disappointed and wouldn't have it again.

Mel's Toffee Right Brain CEO Stout Toffee
Right Brain CEO Stout is made from a stout brewed with coffee beans so I sat out this tasting as well since I hope you all recall how much I hate coffee. This toffee also include Oreo crumbs which means it has wheat, I know some of you avoid wheat. It was difficult to zoom in close enough and still show you the label but I think you can make out the Oreo crumbs on the top of this varieties' pieces. Click on the photo to get a closer look if you like. The toffee itself was lighter in color so the drizzle and the crumbs stand out more. This had a very strong coffee fragrance. These piece broke apart more easily when the three testers tried them and therefore the crunch they made was softer when they bit into them and as they chewed them. It was also not as sticky as the first variety had been. In terms of flavor the coffee was the strongest element followed by stout, buttery sweetness, and then some chocolate if you bit into the drizzles. The Oreo crumbs added a bit to the texture but not so much to the flavor. None of the three testers would buy this variety again because they really wanted more from the Oreo crumbs and the chocolate to counter the coffee's intensity.

Mel's Toffee Maple Bourbon Pecan
Maple Bourbon Pecan is made with Jim Beam Maple. In terms of allergens, both pecans and graham crackers (wheat) are on the ingredients list. This toffee is slightly darker in color so the chocolate drizzle doesn't stand out as well in the photo. The scent is strongly maple and bourbon with hints of graham crackers for one tester; one tester thought the maple fragrance had a strong smokey quality to it as well which a couple of us thought was a lot like bacon. This was as solid as the first toffee but stickier, a lot sticker on our teeth. It made a snapping soft that ranged from soft to sharp depending on the tester and the thickness of the piece they had. All four of us tasted a strong maple flavor, one still picked up the smoky essence. Bourbon and then sweetness followed but no one could taste the pecan or the chocolate unless we bit right into those. No one mentioned a graham cracker flavor or crunch either. I liked this flavor. I and one other tester would purchase it in the future while another would definitely keep eating it but the fourth really didn't like the smoky fragrance or taste she was picking out.

Mel's Toffee Chocolate Raspberry Toffee
Chocolate Raspberry Toffee is made with Dark Horse Raspberry Ale. This flavor includes Oreo crumbs so that means wheat is part of the ingredients that some of you may be looking to avoid. This one was the prettiest that we tested -- you can see the chocolate drizzle against the lighter toffee and the Oreo crumbs stand out as well. The scent was buttery toffee but the raspberry element seemed so slight that it might have merely been our expectation of it that created any hint of it at all. Thus we were all surprised by how strong that raspberry ale flavor came out when we tasted them, it was the primary element followed by buttery sweetness, strong hints of chocolate, and even an Oreo flavor.  These pieces made a good strong snap when we took a bite and the crunch was constant; the toffee stuck less to our teeth compared to the previous three flavors. All of us would buy this variety again because the balance of flavors was perfect this time around. The Chocolate Raspberry Toffee was by far the favorite of these alcohol based varieties of Mel's Toffee.

Have you had Mel's Toffee before? If so, leave a comment and tell us what you thought of it. If you've had all of the four varieties we revealed today, do you agree with our opinion that the Raspberry Chocolate was the best?

If you haven't do you think any of the four flavors we covered today – – would be something you'd like to try? Leave a comment and let us know that, too.

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