I remember reading about Marcie Blaine Artisanal Chocolates of Philadelphia in one of my favorite design/food blogs, Oh Joy!, back in December. That's when I immediately put it on my list of things to do when I visit Dan in Philly this year. When I made a visit over the Easter weekend, Dan and I made a stop there.
Marcie Blaine is housed in Chef Marcie Blaine Turney's boutique shop, Verde, which specializes in women's jewelry and accessories, while also carrying a selection of clothing and items for the home. Chef Turney's chocolates are handcrafted in a small studio kitchen in the back of Verde.
Marcie Blaine sources its ingredients from Lancaster County, especially for organic cream and butter, as well as nearby farms for seasonal produce, herbs, and honey. The flavors of her artisanal chocolates are inspired by her restaurants with cuisines stemming from Mexico, India, and the Mediterranean.
The chocolates offered that day!
The "Philadelphia Series"--includes Philly Pretzel (i.e., peanut butter pretzel ganache), Philly Skyline (i.e., crispy hazelnut with milk chocolate praline), Love Park (i.e., raspberry ganache), and Liberty Bell (i.e., 70% cacao with vanilla bean).
I decided on a box of six chocolates. From the top left, counterclockwise: (1) Liberty Bell, (2) Italian Flirt (i..e, rosemary, pine nut, and caramel), (3) Philly Pretzel, (4) The Kitchen Sink (i..e, "dark" with "all the good stuff"), (5) Philly Skyline, and (6) Cashew Caramel (i.e., salted roasted cashew caramel).
I found the Philly Pretzel and Philly Skyline to be quite original, and incidentally, my favorites out of the six chocolates I selected. The peanut butter pretzel ganache of the Philly Pretzel was very similar to the same filling inside a Butterfinger bar with the added bonus of pretzels! Additionally, adding hazelnuts to any type of chocolate or chocolate dessert is always a winner for me. The crispy texture and fragrant flavor of the hazelnuts mixed in with the milk chocolate praline (i.e., a combination of caramelized sugar with nuts and milk chocolate)
While the originality of the Italian Flirt and Cashew Caramel enticed me to select them initially, I thought the caramel was a bit overpowering, where the flavors of rosemary, pine nut, and cashews were slightly clouded by the sweet tasting and thick textured caramel. I admire Chef Turney's incorporation of unexpected flavors into her artisanal chocolates, but I was anticipating more powerful supplementary flavors to enhance the rich dark chocolate used. The Kitchen Sink was a nice solid dark chocolate, which was a nice break from the other chocolates' flavors. The Liberty Bell was very similar in taste, but I couldn't really taste the vanilla bean infused in the ganache.
Findings: I like the "Philadelphia Series" that has signature city items (e.g., pretzels, the Liberty Bell, the LOVE sculpture at JFK Plaza, and the city's skyline) silkscreened in edible 'ink" on the chocolate. The visual aesthetic as well as the solid flavors of the chocolates in this series make for a great souvenir gift from Philly.
The dark chocolate used in Marcie Blaine chocolates was of a very nice quality. Very smooth and perfectly bittersweet--just how I like my dark chocolate. I would definitely go back to try other flavors, and try to use them for wine pairing chocolates. I feel like the flavors infused in these chocolates may come out better if paired with the right wine. I really want to give Marcie Blaine a better chance to show off its full flavor spectrum. I especially look forward to trying the prosecco-infused chocolate!
Price point: $11.95 for a box of six assorted artisanal chocolates.
--April 23, 2011
Marcie Blaine Artisanal Chocolates
108 South 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107