DB Infusion Chocolates: A Review

DB Infusions Chocolates

DB Infusion Chocolates is a Marx Foods customer who were gracious enough to send us a 27-piece box of their chocolates to try.  It came in on Tuesday morning and since the holiday season has us all working so hard I invited the entire team to take a break and taste some chocolates.  We cut up each truffle into quarters and went to town.  We all thought that the chocolate truffles were excellent!

I asked Matthew to write up a review since he is unquestionably the most authoritative chocolate truffle taster in the office.  Here are his thoughts:

Before even discussing their chocolates’ flavor, one must first cover the packaging and presentation.  They are simply too impressive to be ignored.

The Box
The chocolates arrived in a long embossed chocolate-brown gift box with gold trim.  It screamed luxury so effectively that I’m having a hard time using the word “box” instead of “case” (as in display case) and was an elegant showpiece for the jewel-like bonbons inside.

The box was sealed with a magnetic clasp that unobtrusively held it closed while offering little resistance to impulses to have “just one more piece.”  Inside, a cardboard matrix separated each piece from its compatriots, preventing damage to their glossy finish.

The Presentation
The chocolate work on display in a DB Infusion showcase is impressive.  Most of the chocolates we received were molded rather than dipped or enrobed, giving them a sleek elegance and clean lines.  Of these, almost all were brushed with tinted cocoa butter, adding shine and blends of vibrant colors well paired with the fillings’ themes.

A few pieces were slightly more rustic (dipped or enrobed), each garnished delicately with a few bits of sea salt, pistachio, candied zest or a crystallized flower petal.  Like the molded chocolates, these were well tempered & executed cleanly with thin shells.

The Flavor
DB Infusion’s flavors are almost universally about pushing boundaries.  If you order one of the 27-piece boxes, you’ll likely find a few expected favorites, like a salted caramel (with cashews), a raspberry-dark chocolate ganache (with Framboise), and possibly an espresso ganache.  That said, the majority of the pieces are more groundbreaking pairings like mango-passion fruit caramel, lemongrass-kaffir lime ganache, and bleu cheese ganache.

Fine chocolates should showcase intense flavors, with each offering a distinct experience from the last.  In this respect DB Infusion certainly delivers.

While some flavors were more subtle (the bleu cheese ganache is delightful – milk chocolate followed by a mild-yet-complex bleu cheese-chocolate finish) most were very powerful, demanding the tasters’ full attention even when we’d quartered the pieces to share.   The fold-out flavor guide was useful in determining which piece to try next, but nobody needed it to describe what they’d eaten after tasting.

To sum up, the experience of tasting from a box of DB Infusion Chocolates is more akin to a tasting menu at a “molecular gastronomy” restaurant than a visit to a classical French fine dining establishment.  If you’re looking to have your expectations challenged and your taste buds thrown to the four corners of the earth in 27 bites, you’ve discovered the right chocolate company.

Wild Poppy Blood Orange Chili Juice (Reviewing a product that’s not ours!)

It’s an exciting day at the Marx Foods office when somebody sends us samples.  Today is particularly exciting because they’re samples of goodies made with our products!

Wild Poppy is a California organic juice company that’s looking to take your Snapple-weary taste buds on exciting culinary journeys they’ve never experienced before.  Their flavors include Plum Licorice, Peppermint Lemonade, Grapefruit Ginger, and the flavor they were kind enough to send us: Blood Orange Chili (made with our dried Organic Habaneros).

In typical Marx Foods review fashion, we’ve decided to do a dual review of the product, so you get two distinct points of view.  Today our reviewers are Katie W. (Contest Queen, Social Media Maven & She Who Gets Things Done) and our food writer, Matthew.

Katie’s Review

The Wild Poppy Blood Orange Chili juice is sweet upon the first taste, but the heat from the habanero peppers kicks in to give your mouth a warm heat that lingers a while. The heat is not at all overwhelming, it’s actually a pleasant sensation to go along with the blood orange flavor. This juice has a great unexpected kick that sets it apart from the rest of the bottled juice crowd.

Matthew’s Review

Blood oranges rank up there with vanilla, yuzu & elderflower as one of my all-time favorite flavors.  I’m less wild about dishes with a lot of heat.  I like my food to have kick, but it needs to be part of a harmonious flavor profile, not just hot for the sake of being hot.  When Justin handed me a bottle of blood orange chili juice, I was skeptical…was pairing the two in juice a good new direction or a gimmick?

Your first sip of Blood Orange Chili starts out sweet and citrusy.  By itself, this first note would probably be too sweet, but following right behind it is a wave of spicy habanero that keeps it from getting cloying.  That heat is warming & invigorating.  It’s quite strong, but it won’t have you panting.  Take another sip, and you’ll find that sweet-citrus start blends brilliantly into the residual heat, smoothing it out nicely before delivering another installment of your chile fix.

It’s a well-crafted, nicely balanced juice that takes two very bold flavors and makes them meet in the middle with delicious results.  It makes me very interested to try their other flavors, and I’d particularly recommend this one if you’re in to spicy food.

Update: Additional Juices

The folks at Wild Poppy sent us their other flavors to check out, here are Matthew’s thoughts:

Plum Licorice
After tasting the blood orange chili, I was expecting the plum licorice flavor to have a pretty hefty licorice/anise aspect to its flavor.  This juice actually tastes most strongly of plum, with the licorice blending into the plum flavor.  I think it’s adding depth, giving the plum more character, but you’d have a hard time picking it out as a separate layer of flavor.

In short, if you hate licorice, you have nothing to fear here…but if you’re a big licorice fan and are hoping for strong anise with your plums, you may be disappointed.

Regardless, it’s still delicious plum juice – sweet, musky, and a little tart.  The color is beautiful and the sweetness is well balanced.

Note: at this time the plum licorice flavor is not organic.

Peach Vanilla
The aroma of this juice is worth the price of admission alone – smooth, creamy, peachy-vanilla.  The juice’s actual flavor is a blend of tangy peach and creamy vanilla.  Unlike the Plum Licorice juice both elements are quite strong.  It’s good, but was a tad too sweet for my tastes (probably due to the vanilla accentuating the agave nectar).

Grapefruit Ginger
This juice would be better named Ginger Grapefruit.  The ginger is really the star of the show, with the grapefruit playing tart backup.  This juice is quite spicy (though not as spicy as the Blood Orange juice).  At first I thought it was rather harsh, but the more sips I take, the more I like it.  If you like spicy ginger beer, you’ll probably like this juice.

Peppermint Lemonade
This juice tastes like a star mint/candy cane dipped in lemon juice – mostly peppermint, bitter, a little tart, and sweet at the end.  Honestly, I didn’t care for it. I like the idea of pairing mint & lemonade, but perhaps a more mild spearmint would be better.  Some tweak that made it lemonade with mint, not peppermint-ade with lemon.

Editors Note:  To each his own.  I (Justin) thought that the peppermint lemonade was on point.  I loved the minty note to the lemonade.

Brands are not always better

Just a quick thought on the value illusion of brands.  And, with that strike through I probably have made my point and don’t need to say anything further.  I will keep talking anyway.

We taste tested a dozen or so vanilla extracts and pastes the other day.  At first, we tried tasting them straight but that was completely unhelpful and kind of gross.  So, we made a very big batch of whipped cream and added equal parts of the extracts and the pastes to small batches of cream.  That did the trick.

We figured that the brands with elegant packaging would beat out the more generic looking brands.  They didn’t.  Those yellow bottles in the middle cost about half the price but they are more pure and certainly more tasty than the more expensive and elegantly packaged bottle on the right.

Brands always provide increased value to somebody.  If they are actually better quality product they naturally provide value for the customer.  But if it is just a fancy label on a generic product the only value they provide is to the pocket of the producer.  Without actually knowing the products, it is impossible to tell whether the brand is worth the extra money.  In the case of these vanilla extracts it is most certainly not.  In the next couple weeks, we will start selling the more generic-looking vanilla extracts.  People will be attracted by the price, but turned off by the packaging.  But we can feel good about selling these vanilla extracts and that certainly provides value … to me.