Top 5: Foodie Gifts
1. BT McElrath Chocolate Bars
Famed local chocolatier BT McElrath recently introduced a line of chocolate bars that might be considered a budget-sensitive alternative to his award-winning truffles. The bars come in cute little boxes (made with paper certified from the sustainable forestry initiative) with bold graphics and sassy copy written by witty local scribe Dennis Cass.
The plain dark and milk chocolate bars are fine, but the funkier ones showcase McElrath's strength of enhancing a chocolate's inherent flavors by layering on more of them. The Chile Limon bar, for example, has nice hits of smoke and pucker--it starts with a brightness and finishes with a hit of heat--though I felt they overpowered the chocolate a bit.
My two favorites flavors are the Salty Dog (dark chocolate with toffee and sea salt, so it's sort of like salty caramel combined with chocolate) and the Passion Fruit/Tangerine, which has these gorgeous, arty swirls of white and dark chocolate. A lot of dark chocolates have cherry/berry flavor notes but the tropical tartness of the passion fruit and tangerine makes it one of the most interesting flavored chocolates I've had in ages. Find the bars for about $3-$4 at places BT McElrath is sold, including Surdyk's, Linden Hills Co-Op, and Kowalski's.