This morning I finally got the package I have been bugging LBC for five days about.
The loot? Nine varieties of Theo and Philo chocolate bars.
Not one for delayed gratification, my co-workers at Human Nature Zamboanga and I immediately conducted a taste test. We all know the eyes always eat first. This is how they looked:
Gorgeous packaging, right? Chic and patriotic.
The nine bars made up the entire Theo and Philo line of chocolates. They had the usual (milk chocolate, dark chocolate) but I was most excited to try the unusual and very Pinoy flavors (Siling Labuyo? Ginger? Kapeng Barako? Calamansi?). Joy, Julie, and I loved opening the wrappings. Under the colorful outer covering there is a layer of silver foil secured with a round gold sticker embossed with the words Theo and Philo.
Theo and Philo Artisan Chocolates are the only truly Filipino chocolates - made here from bean to bar. The cacao is from Davao and the sugar is from Bacolod. I first heard about them from Anna Meloto-Wilk, president of Human Nature, when she visited the branch a month or two ago.
This will be sooooooo great as a gift to someone who is (1) a chocoholic, (2) a patriot, (3) a person who likes receiving unique gifts/a person who has everything -- there is always someone like this on our christmas list, right?, (4) a person who appreciates good design.
A disclaimer before I proceed to the taste test. I am not a chocolate connoisseur. Neither are Joy and Julie. Julie though has keen taste buds. And she was more adventurous than Joy. Joy did not want to try siling labuyo, ginger, and calamansi at all and only did so because i made her. :))
The chili, though mild, lingers in the mouth. The chocolate is the kind that melts in your mouth and coats your tongue. The chili with it. Very unusual. The but I have a few friends who I think will love this.
Another unexpected varient is the green mango with sea salt. Wow. I love Theo and Philo for coming up with this. Surprisingly, my daughter Jana who joined us in the taste test, chose this as her favorite. I expected her to go for the milk chocolate. The green mango chunks are undeniably there. They weren't just hints but really there. The sea salt too. I already know who I am going to give this to for Christmas. I know you know who you are. :P
This one was also nice. Candied calamansi peel, I think. The effect of eating it is exactly like eating a chocolate chunk after having squeezed calamansi over it. Nice.
This one tasted like a coffee flavored hard candy. For people who like coffee. Julie could taste a langka (jackfruit) aftertaste. She thought a langka variant would be great.
I liked the Barako better than the Toffee though. When we opened the package, you could really smell the coffee! I would say my sister Maita would love this if only I didn't know that she would love everything here.
This was Joy's favorite. It was the only one with a different packaging -- a cardboard box. This one is luxurious comfort food.
This is the 70% dark chocolate. Very valentine's day packaging, no? This would look so good tied up with a thin dark brown ribbon.
For Joy and me, this was too ginger-y. Theo and Philo used candied ginger. This is a flavor you need to get used to. Or for people who love their ginger.
This is my favorite. I am no longer sharing this. Keep your hands off it, thank you very much. There were no discernible pinipig or pili bits. It was more like everything was ground up and mixed up with heavenly results. When I was eating it, I don't know why but I thought of polvoron. Maybe because Goldilocks polvoron uses pili nuts?
Theo and Philo are a bit pricey (retail price is Php 105) for a bar sized 4.5 by 2.5 inches. But of course you know that basing the cost of a chocolate on its size is sort of...dumb. Shipping cost was a bit expensive as it was sent here with ice packs so they don't melt or anything while in transit. But they are so worth it.
A lot of my friends are getting this for Christmas. Hahaha. No more surprise for you. Sorry. With Human Nature products, of course. So my gift packs will not only make the receiver (hopefully) and the giver (that's me) happy, but the Filipino farmers who grew the ingredients as well.