Poco Dolce Bittersweet Chocolate Nut Tiles

It’s holiday season! And in my case, chocolate season. Winter is a great excuse for me to order and receive fancy truffles, caramels, and toffee under the guise of ‘gift sampling,’ that rarely makes it to the actual ‘gift-giving’ phase. This might also explain why, for the past five years, I’ve given members of my family used books, socks, and framed chocolate wrappers. I’m considering getting an L.L.M. so I can milk the impoverished student gig a few years more. Sorry, Mom. Enjoy your gently used sweater. DSC_6440I received this box of tiles in the mail the other day, from Poco Dolce. A few years ago, I reviewed their popcorn toffee and really enjoyed it. It’s a boutique chocolate company out of San Francisco with a very streamlined, variant set of products, all of which I’d like to stuff in my face. These are their newest tiles, the Mixed Nut Tiles. Technically, they’re bittersweet chocolate tiles with grey sea salt, with the stamp ‘NUT BOX’ underneath, but there’s only so many times I can type the word ‘NUT BOX’ without feeling like I need to take a shower. DSC_6441The tiles are made of bittersweet chocolate- oddly enough, Poco Dolce does not list the percentages. (Help from comments shows that she uses 61% Guittard)¬†Suffice to say, it’s a dark, rich chocolate, one of my favorites. It has a thick heft to it- the tiles are really satisfying in size and weight, like a compact slice of cake. The flavor is pretty basic- a little smoky, with some dark caramel notes, but doesn’t detract from its mix-ins. The website lists a mixture of nuts for the tiles, with almond, macadamia, pistachio, and hazelnut, but the nuts were distributed in a very scant, scattered way for the price ($20 for eight large-ish tiles), and we only detected macadamia and almond. It has the familiar crunch of a Hershey’s Almond bar done in an artisanal fashion, but I found myself wishing- likely for the first time in my entire life, for more nuts. More sea salt, too. Still, that’s nitpicking (nutpicking?) for how lovely these are. The tile series would make a great gift or addition to a holiday party.
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4 comments

  1. Kevin

    To her credit she does not really work by a precise set of formulas for her recipes. That includes the couverture sometimes which she will bump up occasionally to Guittard’s 65% on a whim. But with growth and the need to meet purchase orders I have noticed little lapses in attention to details that add up. For example, you mentioned the haphazard and meager mix-ins. Also, sometimes she pours the salt on a little too much. Other times she lays off it with a bit too little. Those may just be my personal taste preferences but when I see a salted tile that has not been enrobed fully in chocolate then I know someone at quality control is either sleeping on it, chatting online, or just missed it. Something else too is that Guittard rarely burns chocolate and you mentioned a smoky note. I too have tasted a smoky note in Poco Dolce. I have also tasted really burnt notes. I think she is maybe cooking her chocolate and like the salt and the enrobing she gets carefree. The only other thing I can think of that would contribute to that is maybe vanilla which Guittard is quite fond of can be caustic every now and then.

    • Jess Watsky

      That’s a rational critique- I did receive a followup letter from her shortly after the review, and she did make a point of saying that the batch of tiles that I received product from did not meet her personal ratio of chocolate to nut inclusion, and that would be corrected. Although she did not comment on the chocolate- I’m not as familiar with the nuances of Guittard couvertures, though. Interesting observations!

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