Friday, January 04, 2008

BonBonBar: Favorite things

So on the day I vow to return to the gym there is a severe weather alert, bridges close, roofs and scaffolding blows into roadways as rain pours and winds approach 80 miles per hour. I dunno. Perhaps the universe is trying to tell me something? I'm pretty sure the message is "stay home and eat candy."

I've been following the blog Sweet Napa for ages and have to admit I was taken with Nina's idea for creating really high quality candy bars and confections from the moment she shared it with her readers. Now many moons later her company, BonBonBar is a reality. The philosophy behind the company is to use fresh ingredients that are organic and local whenever possible, that chocolate should only mingle with equally spectacular ingredients, like butter, cream, California nuts, vanilla beans, and sea salt and to banish artificial ingredients, including high-fructose corn syrup.

When Nina offered to send me some of her products I was thrilled. Of course my house was filled with candy and chocolate at the time but being the professional I am, I managed to give it a try nonetheless. Ah the sacrifices I make! One bite and I was smitten.

BonBonBar is selling only a few items at the moment and I can proudly say I have tried them all. The Malt Bar is like the world's best Kit Kat bar. It comes in both dark and milk chocolate and I was amazed that I actually liked the milk chocolate version best. The shortbread is crisp and buttery, the malty layer is rich and the chocolate coating just the right balance.
Malt Bar

The Caramel Nut Bar is a combination of fresh and toasty mixed nuts, cocoa nibs, with a slightly salty caramel filling that is soft and gooey all covered in a deep dark chocolate.
Caramel Nut Bar

The bars are a bit pricey at $5 a pop, but a really decadent treat. I shared them and found a little goes a long way. The marshmallows which come in passion fruit and vanilla were the biggest revelation. Frankly, I've not been impressed by "artisanal" marshmallows in the past. The ones I've tried have always been too rubbery and didn't have that strong a flavor. Worst of all, they didn't melt well in hot chocolate or in s'mores. The BonBonBar versions are light and fluffy and have a lovely texture, just like I was hoping for, and in addition they actually smell and taste like the flavors listed on the package.

None of these treats are fancy pants sophisticated confections, but are like idealized versions of things you probably loved as a child. For me, BonBonBar offers not just delicious and high quality treats, but the cure for candy nostalgia. Here's hoping Nina takes on a few of my other childhood favorites, a Chunky bar, and a Violet Crumble...