Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews
Laced with palinka and candied cacao nibs
This chocolate bar is both uniquely Hungarian and perfectly suited for holiday celebrations! Artisan dark chocolate handcrafted in the center of Budapest that’s laced with candied cacao nibs and perfumed with the most famous Hungarian spirit, palinka! The name of the brand, Rózsavölgyi, looks a bit intimidating to an English speaker (as do so many Hungarian words), but eating the bar is about as easy as it gets. “Rozha-vol-yee” is the closest I can get to proper pronunciation. In English, it means “Valley of the Roses” which is an evocative, positively memorable, and marvelously beautiful image to stick in your head!
The little artisan chocolate shop of Rózsavölgyi was started by chocolate maker Katalin Csiszar and her husband Zsolt Szabad in Budapest nearly 20 years ago, back in 2004. They were the first new chocolatiers to start up after the Communist government fell. Katalin does all the chocolate and the wonderful packaging design; Zsolt manages the production. Like so many of the chocolatiers we work with, the Rózsavölgyi folks are operating bean to bar—they have positive relationships with growers in all the producing countries with which they work. Zsolt roasts at the lighter end of the spectrum, so even the darkest of the Rózsavölgyi chocolate is still on the subtler side of the spectrum. Their packaging, by the way, is as amazing as their chocolates!
I love all the Rózsavölgyi chocolates, but given the many New Year’s toasts that will be taking place this week, I have this particular bar on my mind, and also on my counter at home. It’s uniquely Hungarian and exceptionally delicious! The bar is made with carefully crafted bean-to-bar dark chocolate that’s laced with palinka, the famous Hungarian “schnapps” and candied cacao nibs. The aromatics of the whiskey, the crunch of the cacao nibs … the whole thing comes together in a wonderful way. Complex, balanced, not strong at all but fantastically full flavored with a lovely long finish that leaves me going back for more with great regularity! We also have three or four other offerings on hand from Rózsavölgyi. If you have a food-loving Hungarian on your gift list, some of these bars and a package of paprika would almost certainly be greatly appreciated!