We’ve known of Coconama in Richmond for quite some time, and have had a few sample before, but never took the plunge to get anything. This time was different. I’m sure the fact that samples were tirelessly handed out helped a lot too. Among the flavors we sampled were Blueberry, Lemon Basil, Coffee, and Earl Grey. But most of all we were very intrigued by the pre-packaged cup ($5) that was aptly named “Coconama Salad”.

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Paul Croteau Confections at Campagnolo Caffe

Paul Croteau Confections

Paul Croteau Confections had approached a bunch of local food bloggers to sample Mr. Croteau’s creations.  He is currently the pastry chef of Campagnolo Restaurant and Refuel restaurant, and now he’s ready to “spread his wings” and open a confection shop of his own.

We were invited to Refuel restaurant to have a tasting.  Unfortunately I was not able to make it but I was offered a sample pack of the goodies to be picked up another time.

Paul Croteau Confections: Patés de fruits

First up were the Patés de fruits (pronounced “pat de fwee“), which were essentially fruit puree boiled down to a concentrate and thickened.  Raspberry and Passionfruit were the flavors.

They were both very intensely flavored, and obviously pretty sweet.  They were pretty soft and gives no resistance when you bite into it.  I guess I was expecting more of a gummy texture but I don’t think that’s the point of pates de fruits anyways.  I much preferred passionfruit to raspberry mostly due to the fact that the raspberry one tasted a lot like those hawthorne patties Asians have when taking Chinese medicine….if you know what I mean.

Next was the Almond square which was described to me as sort of like a florentine cookie.  It was flavored with nuts and candied citrus peel set into caramel with a cookie base.  This was very, very oily though, and I felt the whole morsel was overpowered by the citrus peel.

Paul Croteau Confections

Wrapped in the wax paper was the Soft salted caramel, which I was excited to try.  I’ve always wondered how salting something sweet would intensify the flavors.

Now I had mixed feelings about this.  I did like that it was certainly a new combination of flavors for me.  Right away you are hit with the slight saltiness which melts into the sweetness.  And that was kind of the problem.  It was too soft and melted too quickly.  Mind you I liked the fact that it didn’t stick to your teeth and quite honestly the flavor was actually very very good.  If only it was a little bit firmer then to me personally it’ll be perfect.

Next was the Grignotine and it was one of my favorites.  It was quite simply candied walnuts hazelnuts covered in chocolate and dusted with cocoa powder.  Simple.  Awesome.  You can probably keep eating this without thinking as it was not overly sweet.  Even more awesome??  The hazelnuts are locally sourced~!  Seems like PC Confections try to use local products as much as possible 😉

The Nougat contained nuts such as almonds, pistachios and hazelnuts, covered with chocolate on two sides.  Personally I would’ve liked more nougat than nuts so it’s not my favorite.  That’s not to say it wasn’t good.  Just personal preference 😉

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Frey White Lemon & Lime Chocolate

This was another find at Target.  Frey Chocolate is exclusively available at Target and they make really interesting chocolate combinations.

Now I know that real chocolate enthusiasts may condemn white chocolate.  However, the unique flavor combinations Frey produces really makes these white chocolate a unique experience.

For instance, the first flavor of theirs that I tried was the Cinnamon & Blood Orange White Chocolate.

Frey Chocolate: White Lemon and Lime

I went back wanting to get the same flavor again.  However it was sold out.  So I got the Lemon & Lime flavor instead.

Frey Chocolate: White Lemon and Lime

There are real bits of lemon and lime in it, making it tangy and sweet at the same time.  After a while, you may taste some spicy notes in it.

How come?  See the black bits?  It’s black pepper.  I would never have thought to have pepper in my chocolate, but here you go~!

Want a TRULY spicy chocolate experience?  They also have the Dark Chocolate with Cayenne Pepper!

Interesting tidbit…Frey Chocolates is the one chocolate truly made in Switzerland with true Switzerland Alpine Milk!  The other swiss brands are owned by Kraft and thus have production outlets all over the world.

King Leo Soft Strawberries & Cream Puffs

My sister brought this back as one of the souvenirs from when she flew to Georgia for a convention.  She thought it would be something I’ll be interested in and she was right.

King Leo Soft Strawberries & Cream Puffs

I had to open them right away since she wanted deperately to try them (and I thought they were for me!!).  From opening the box I could smell the aroma of strawberries.  However, it was the “fake” scent that is always used in strawberry flavored candies.  It was sweet and tart.

King Leo Soft Strawberries & Cream Puffs

The box says “Soft Right Out of the Box” so I was equally eager to try them.  I’ve always preferred soft, chewy taffy-like candies to hard candies.

King Leo Soft Strawberries & Cream Puffs

Much to my dismay, these were not soft at all.  They were crunchy like how crunchy caramel is like.  I’m not sure if it’s because these are old and stale (hmmm…it DOES say “Since 1901” at the top though…).  There was no best before date on them.  Taste-wise, they were sweet and tart, just like how they smelt.  Overall they’re great tasting.  Would’ve been better if they were soft candies like they were advertised though.