Betsy Ann Chocolates Review

Photo - Betsy Ann Chocolates

Betsy Ann Chocolates, based in Pittsburgh, got its start in 1938 when Betsy Ann Helsel began churning out handmade chocolates. Today, the company offers an assortment of handmade chocolate candies, truffles, bars, and customized chocolates.

I recently had the pleasure of sampling a selection of their products, and was pleased overall with the freshness and quality.

Betsy Ann Chocolates Review

Betsy Ann Chocolates Gold Bars

5.8.08

Remember the scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory where Charlie unwraps his Wonka Bar and discovers a golden ticket inside? Betsy Ann’s bars are lusciously wrapped in a beautiful metallic paper that feels as though they are encased in a golden ticket.

While all the bars I tried made good snacking material, I wasn’t able to rate them higher because of the chocolate used. (See note below.)

Dark Chocolate Gold Bar

I found this bar interesting. The darkness of this bar comes not so much from the cacao content but rather from the alkalizing (aka “dutching”) of the chocolate. This makes for a darker color, a somewhat milder flavor, and a distinctive taste – imagine an Oreo wafer in chocolate bar form, and that’s kind of the same idea. While a true chocolate connoisseur would have issues with the flavor, I found it unique. I imagine it would appeal to those out there that enjoy that sort of dark cocoa-like flavor.

Our rating: 3.25 of 5 bon bons

Milk Chocolate Gold Bar

I don’t always like milk chocolate, especially milk chocolate that doesn’t have a very high cacao content, and that’s what this was. It did have an excellent texture and made a tasty candy bar, but I wouldn’t call the flavor overtly chocolate.

Our rating: 3.5 of 5 bon bons

Milk Chocolate Krisp Rice Gold Bar

I think this was my favorite of the three bars I tried, probably because crispy rice makes one think “candy” rather than fine chocolate, so I was able to enjoy it as such. Very nice texture, and just the right amount of crisipes.

Our rating: 3.5 of 5 bon bons

Betsy Ann Chocolates Classic Assortment

5.7.08

This lovely little box included the following:

Photo - Betsy Ann Chocolates

  • Pecan & Caramel Turtle – I loved that the filling was not too sweet, and tasted fresh.
  • Cherry Cordial – I generally don’t like cherry cordials, but this one was surprisingly good – fresh and not too sweet.
  • Caramel – Sweet, soft, and lusciously melty.
  • Vanilla Cream – A surprisingly fluffy center, as though it were whipped. Quite a nice sensation.
  • Peanut Butter Cream – One of my favorites from this assortment. The cream center was light and fluffy and full of peanut butter flavor.
  • Chocolate Cream – Very cocoa-y flavor, again with the light and fluffy center.
  • Coconut Haystack – Another of my favorites, with a nice coconut texture and flavor.
  • Brazil Nut – A Brazil nut encased in a cocoa-like dark chocolate.
  • Nut Cluster – Peanuts in milk chocolate.
  • Solid Chocolate – A solid piece of milk chocolate with the Betsy Ann logo.
  • Nonpareils – Dark chocolate with sprinkles
  • Plus a few others I snarfed without managing to record!

Our rating: 3.75 of 5 bon bons

Paras Truffles – American Originals

5.4.08

I enjoyed the Macadamia Coconut and Chocolate Chunk truffles, both of which were unusual for the addition of various chunks within the ganache, but altogether pleasing. I found the Cookies and Cream and Pecan Caramel truffles to be a bit too strange for my tastes. I don’f really like Oreos, which might explain why I didn’t care for the Cookies and Cream. I’m not sure about the pecan caramel – I think the combination of caramel, pecans, and ganache didn’t quite work as well.

  • Chocolate Chunk
  • Macadamia Coconut
  • Cookies and Cream
  • Pecan Caramel

Our rating: 3.25 of 5 bon bons

Paras Truffles – International Classics

5.5.08

More traditional truffles with creamy, rich centers. The liqueur flavors were subtle and not overpowering. I would have preferred more chocolate flavor in the dark chocolate truffle, and I could definitely taste the burnt flavor of the vanillin.

  • Almond Liqueur
  • Double Dark Chocolate
  • Raspberry Liqueur
  • Double Milk Chocolate

Our rating: 3.75 of 5 bon bons

My one big hang up with Betsy Ann was their choice of chocolate (chocolatiers generally do not make their own chocolate, but rather buy it in large blocks from larger chocolate manufacturers). It uses vanillin, an artificial vanilla flavoring made from pine tree sap. Granted, I can’t always taste the difference, but when I can, there is an artificial, burnt chemical taste that colors my entire experience of the chocolate.

Because Betsy Ann uses this chocolate in their candies and truffles, too, it made them less than perfect. Had their chocolate base been of better quality, I would have very likely been bowled over by the experience, because I really did enjoy the fillings on most of their pieces. As it was, however, I enjoyed Betsy Ann Chocolates, but was unable to give it the highest marks.

Please visit Betsy Ann Chocolates online at: Betsy Ann Chocolates

 

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