World’s Most Bizarre Chocolates
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Plum Liqueur Chocolate
These chocolates are from Japan but are also available in Korea, China, Thailand, and Taiwan. Sadly, they do not ship to the U.S. and the only way to purchase them is at the annual New York Chocolate Show. Each of these beautifully hand-decorated truffles is made with ganache which contains Japenese plum Liqueur (Umeshu). However, the liqueur is actually made from unripe apricots that are soaked in sugar and shochu, which is a semi-strong distilled Japenese spirit.
Havana Tobacco Chocolate
Although it is illegal to bring these chocolates into the U.S., they originate from Burges and Antwerp in Belgium but are also available in upscale restaurants in Germany, Holland and other areas in Belgium. A self-proclaimed shock-o-latier Dominique Persoone crafts around 60 bizarre varieties of truffles, but his most illicit have got to be the Havana. It is so illicit because it is crafted with real cigar leaves which are marinated in rum and cognac. The flavor leaves a very peppery feeling in your throat, simulating the sensation of actually smoking a cigar.
Pig’s Blood Chocolate
A chocolate shop in Portland, Oregon, took inspiration from blood sausage, which is popular in Western Europe and Asia. The owner, who is a former sous chef, only makes this ‘special’ chocolate for holidays such as Halloween and Valentine’s Day. This bizarre creation is made with cinnamon, smoked Spanish paprika, and blood. It is then enrobed in Felchlin 72 percent Ecuadoran chocolate and dusted with more paprika. It is no surprise that this chocolate is one of the least popular flavors available at the chocolate shop, but nonetheless, it still receives special orders.
Cucumber Vodka Chocolate
Well, this is one way to get in your ‘5-A-Day’. This exotic, handmade truffle is crafted with traditional French methods. The boldly flavored white chocolate ganache is infused with cucumber purée, mint, and vodka. It is then covered in dark chocolate and leaves a slight tingle on the tongue, because of the alcohol. This chocolate is only available for six months out of the year starting from April because fresh ingredients are insisted by L’Artisan du Chocolat.
For all those who like to party hard, Absinthe Chocolate is available in New York, in a shop on the Lower East Side. This chocolate which was once an underground experiment, flourished into a product that people buy and enjoy, after the absinthe ban in the U.S. was lifted. This interesting chocolate consists of a Callebaut bittersweet chocolate ganache with pear, anise seed, fennel, and commercially brewed absinthe.
Shiitake Mushroom Chocolate
This ganache contains dried mushrooms and earthy Peruvian dark chocolate. It is hand dipped in 70 percent Colombian chocolate. Shiitake is from Asian cuisine for umami. It usually has a savory taste but in this chocolate, it lends a subtle, warm flavor. The truffles are created with a personal and direct touch due to Fair Trade certification being expensive for small farmers. This ensures that the cacao is improved and the farmers earn a fair wage. The truffles are available in the Midwest or online.
French Toast Chocolate
Inspired by today’s comfort foods such as tortilla, chips, french toast and ramen, Komforte Chockolates created French Toast Chocolate. It contains a wide variety of ingredients which gives it, its butter flavor- 33 percent milk chocolate, cinnamon, bagel chips, nutmeg, and molasses. It is considered a specialty chocolate and is available in specialty store across the country and online.
Gouda Cheese Chocolate
For all you cheese and chocolate lovers, Japan has found a way to formulate both into a Gouda Cheese Chocolate bar! Bizarre kinds of chocolate are something Japan is known for, they are a big hit with tourists, becoming popular souvenirs over the years. Soy sauce is one of the favorites for chocolate in Japan. However, one of the most difficult flavors to find is the European Cheese. This chocolate contains 58 percent Gouda by weight, which leaves a salty, smoky and sour taste.
Camel’s Milk Chocolate
This chocolate was created by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, and Al Nassma is the only company which produces the camel’s milk chocolate. Camel’s milk chocolate is literally considered to be “liquid gold” in the Middle east because the milk has 3 times the amount of Vitamin C than cow’s milk. It’s also considered to be “liquid gold” because of how difficult the milk is to obtain, as camels make a fraction of the amount of milk that cows do. Its flavor is quite malted and minerally. It is available in selected countries- UAE, Oman, Japan, and online.
Cheeses So Bizarre, They Will Leave You Scratching Your Head
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1. The Cheese Made of Real Gold- A Stilton Cheese
In hopes that this cheese will be a perfect addition to your Christmas menu, cheese makers created a stilton cheese… made of real gold. Clawson Stilton Gold is 67 times more expensive than regular stilton, selling for £60.87 per 100g slice, or £608 per kilo- almost 1,000 U.S. Dollars!
This cheese took the title of the most expensive cheese the UK has ever made. It would cost £6 just for the cheese to top one cracker! Clawson claims that the premium white Stilton is so high in price because it is shot-through with a mixture of real edible gold leaf and real gold liqueur. They also claim that they’ve even been contacted by a famous popstar and a Gulf- based oil Sheikh who are desperate to sample a piece of the expensive cheese.
2. The World’s Most Expensive Cheese- Pule
Pule, being Serbian for foal, is made at the Zasavica Special Nature Reserve in Belgrade, Serbia. It costs $1700 a pound! The reason being for this is donkey’s milk. It takes around 25 liters alone, of donkey’s milk to make a mere one kilogram of the white, crumbly cheese.
According to the dairy’s manager, there is no other special ingredient which goes into making the cheese, its price is just based purely on the going rate for donkey’s milk (around 45 dollars per liter). However, Pule isn’t produced commercially anyway, so even if you’re a billionaire, you wouldn’t be able to just rush over to your local cheese shop to buy some.
3. The Cheese That Is So Stinky, That It Was Banned From Public Transportation- Epoisses
Epiosses, one of the smelliest cheeses you can find, was one of Napoleon’s favorites. Just to give you a taste of how repulsive the odor of this cheese is, it was banned from public transportation all over France. This cheese is made from cow’s milk and is washed in pomace brandy.
It is a very smelly, runny cheese but they say if it starts to smell too strongly of ammonia, it is no longer edible and should be thrown away. However, if it smells like someone who hasn’t showered in a week, enjoy!
4. The Cheese Made With Flying Maggots- Casu Marzu
Popular on the Italian island of Sardinia, Casu Marzu is a sheep cheese. The name literally means “rotten cheese”, which is ironic, because it is made with maggots and also why some have adapted the name to “maggot cheese”.
To create the maggot cheese, you begin with a slab of local sheep cheese, Pecorino Sardo, but you let it go beyond natural fermentation to a stage of infested decomposition. Larvae of the cheese fly (Piophila
Casei) are then added to the cheese, and the acid from their digestive system breaks the cheese’s fats down, making the overall product liquidy and soft. Casu Marzu usually contains thousands of larvae by the time it is ready for consumption.
Generally, the locals consider it unsafe to eat the cheese once the larvae have died, so it is served with the translucent white worms, that are one-third of an inch long, still squiggling. Many people brush the maggots off the cheese before eating it, while some others do not. The people who leave the maggots on the cheese may have to cover it with their hands as the maggots can jump up to six inches when disturbed.
5. The Cheese Made With Mite Excrement
Germany is definitely the world’s cheese powerhouse, producing over 1.8 million tons of 400 odd varieties of cheese annually. However, among all that cheese, one cheese, in particular stands out the most. Made in Würchwitz, this cheese is a highly sought after delicacy because of its unusual production process.
By allowing quark to sit in thousands on dust mites, Milbenkäse is the cheese that is made. Enzymes come from the mites’ excrement and they ripen the cheese. After one month, the cheese turns into a yellowish color, after three months, it turns into a reddish-brown, and after a year, the cheese turns into a blackish lump, which is most desirable to aficionados. People consume the mites along with the cheese. It is often described to taste bitter; people also believe it may have curative effects that keep people from being allergic to house dust.
6. The Cheese That Doesn’t Melt- Halloumi
Originating from Cyprus, Halloumi is a traditional cheese. It is suitable for grilling and frying because of its high melting point. You won’t find any BBQ in Cyprus without Halloumi, as it is a delicacy.
Another odd, but a common thing you see is Halloumi eaten together with watermelon in the warm seasons. The juice from the watermelon is refreshing while the Halloumi gives of a delicious taste.
It is one of the dishes that you’ll usually see served in a Cyprus Meze, and quite often, you’ll see the cheese alongside a cold beer in a taverna.
7. The World’s Strongest Cheese- Vieux Lille
The alternate names of this cheese are “Puant de Lille” and “Puant Macéré”, and they quite literally mean “stinking pickle”. This is just a mere description of how pungent the smell of this cheese is.
A British cheesemonger, The Teddington Cheese, which sells cheeses from around the world, only calls few kinds of cheese “pungent”. This is because, when they describe something as pungent, they really mean it, their icon behind the word being a man in a gas mask. If they were asked which is the strongest cheese in their shop, Vieux Lille would be a ‘strong’ contender for first place. This cheese is NOT for the faint-hearted. Along with its pungent odor, it has a strong and salty flavor.