I’m still not ready to admit that I’m back on the east coast. Let’s keep this west coast feeling going a little longer, yes? Ease back east. Today we’ll move out of the Pacific Northwest, down the coast, and over to San Francisco, home to Recchiuti, a shop that churns out chocolate treats of all types under the leadership of Michael Recchiuti himself. It’s difficult to pick out a treat to admire most – the man makes everything from bars to brownies – but after seeing David Lebovitz wax poetic about the wonders of the Asphalt Jungle Mix, it was obviously time to dig in.
The box is a mix of burnt caramel hazelnuts, burnt caramel almonds, dried cherries, and peanut butter bits – all individually covered in chocolate. Tempting as it was to pour these all into my mouth at once, I was civilized and evaluated them separately.
The burnt caramelized hazelnuts are flavorful and nicely toasted, with a balanced sweet and salty caramel exterior that is coated with a nicely-melting chocolate later. The almonds are similarly exquisite, with a slightly more pronounced vanilla flavor in the chocolate emerging.
The dried cherries were actually prepared two ways in this mix: covered in dark chocolate, and covered in dark chocolate as well as cocoa powder. Without the cocoa powder, the coating is just a tiny bit waxy, but the dried cherry inside is juicy and tart. The other preparation – with the cocoa powder – is not at all waxy, and the bitter cocoa powder adds more dimension to the flavor. While the plain chocolate version is nice, the cocoa-powder dusted pieces are nearly perfect.
And about those “peanut butter pearls”? While they, too, are a bit waxy on the outside, I can overlook that to get myself to the creamy milk chocolate covering salty peanut butter mixed with perfectly crisped rice. I’m kind like that.
Here’s the hard part about eating asphalt jungle mix: Figuring out the best combination. Cherry and almond? Cherry and peanut butter? Or just eating it in large handfuls?
I suggest you get some for yourself to investigate. And send me a box while you’re at it.
Have you had any chocolates by Recchiuti? Which ones?