by Alice Medrich
Tasting Notes by Alice Medrich
These figs are luxurious and sensuous. Enjoy the wonderful interplay of contrasting textures with complementary flavors. Crisp bittersweet chocolate couverture gives way to chewy fig with crunchy seeds, then thick smooth chocolate cream. Fran has chosen a rich ultra smooth ganache, neither too sweet nor to bitter to enhance the delicate but intense honeyed sweetness of the fig. Serve at room temperature, cut into wedges.
You won't find a fresher or higher quality "candy bar" than Frans Almond or Macademia Gold Bar. Only the size and shape make them candy bars. What I taste is perfectly executed European style soft caramel—not pale and cloyingly sweet but reddish amber with a rich well developed caramelized sugar flavor set off with a hint of salt—combined with impeccably fresh crunchy nuts, and coated in fine quality bittersweet chocolate.
When Fran Bigelow founded Fran's Chocolates in 1982, it was a two-employee operation in a quaint Seattle storefront. Fran opened her business with the goal of selling extraordinarily high quality chocolates, caramels and desserts to customers who valued the distinction between mass marketed and truly exquisite handmade chocolates. Her objective then was to provide the ultimate taste experience, by cooking with the finest ingredients in small batches using no preservatives or artificial additives. This commitment to quality remains the guiding philosophy today and one of the major reasons Fran has been heralded as America's Best Chocolatier by "The Book of Chocolate" and food critics nationwide.
We are the first American company founded in the past sixty years to make chocolate from bean to bar and the only one to use small batch processing. We follow a classic European tradition of manufacturing chocolate in small batches using vintage equipment. Returning to methods developed nearly a century ago allows us to monitor each step of this complex process to ensure consistency to taste and texture. After each variety is individually roasted to perfection, the cocoa beans are combined for grinding and prolonged conching over temperate heat. We use only whole bean vanilla and the purest large crystal sugar. The restored, vintage machines we imported from Europe allow us to meet our precise standards continuously. The care we give to both the art and science of chocolate-making results in a product of superior character.
Pastry chefs have told us that it is ideal for baking and couverture, or for the simple pleasure of eating out of hand. This chocolate is an expression of our appreciation of fine foods and made from the best, basic ingredients. We hope you enjoy it.
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