Top Pick Of The Week

April 13, 2010

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These solid chocolates are deftly flavored with your choice of savory, hot and sweet spices, plus coffee, tea and spirits. Photo by Jerry Deutsch | THE NIBBLE.

WHAT IT IS: Molded solid chocolate “bonbons” flavored with spices.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: There are spicy chocolate bars and tea-infused chocolate bars on the market, but they’re not fancy or giftable. Here are handsome boxes of chocolate with solid molded chocolates, infused with delicious flavors.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The chocolates are flavorful, different, special and cholesterol-free.

.Chocolate From The Spice Rack: New, Novel, Nifty

CAPSULE REPORT: Allow us to introduce you to “solid bonbons.” Wait, you say: Isn’t a “solid bonbon”* just a piece of solid chocolate?

*A bonbon is a hard shell of chocolate filled with a variety of centers—caramel, cremes, ganache, etc.

Not exactly. It is true that more than a few boxes of traditional filled bonbons will include a piece of solid chocolate molded into a coin, a flower or other shape. But we think that Spice Rack Chocolate of Fredericksburg, Virginia, has created a new variation, neither classic bonbon nor classic solid chocolate.

The chocolatiers have married the spice cabinet (and the liquor cabinet, and a few other kitchen cabinets) to solid semisweet chocolate (54% cacao), creating 30 different flavors of solid “spiced” chocolate in pretty molded shapes. They’re not bonbons or plain solid chocolate: They’re (in our designation) solid bonbons!

In the hands of Spice Rack Chocolates, solid chocolate is flavored with coffee, favorite kitchen spices (basil, rosemary), hot spices (chile, wasabi), spiced fruits, spirits (Cognac, rum) and tea. There are six collections, focusing on each of these themes.

There’s a bonus to “solid bonbons”—no cholesterol from buttery caramel, creme centers or ganache.

And there’s no Forrest Gumpian uncertainty, because there are five different flavors in each box, and each is color-coded.

These are a real find for chocolate lovers and for people who need to give gifts to them. Learn more about the chocolates in the full review below. And think of them for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts.

THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.

More Top Pick Chocolates

Chokola'j XOX Truffles Schocolat Chocolates
Chokola'j. If you prefer your spiced chocolates with ganache, check out these artisan chocolatiers who use coriander, lavender, lemon verbena, stout, tea and much more. Read the review.

XOX Truffles. You’ll get lots of hugs and kisses when you serve these classic melt-in-your-mouth French truffles. They’re made in 11 flavors with wine and spirits and 15 flavors without. Read the review.

Schocolat Fine Handmade Chocolate. From a tiny town in Washington come perhaps the best expression of liqueurs and chocolate we’ve come across. All the other flavors rock, too. Read the review.


This is Page 1 of a two-page review. Click on the black links below to visit other pages:


  • THE NIBBLE’s Chocolates Section
    Reviews and articles about our favorite chocolates, plus our Chocolate Glossary
  • ARTICLE #2: Seapoint Farms Edamame
    Now available nationwide, this very healthy snack and recipe ingredient known to many Japanese restaurant fans will be a hit with the entire family.
  • RECIPE: Gourmet Soy Dishes
    It’s National Soy Foods Month. Try these three recipes from Chef Craig Koketsu: Spice-Seared Tofu, Tofu Gnocchi and Tofu Rice Pudding for dessert.

Spice Rack Chocolates: New, Novel, Nifty

Spice Rack Chocolates Overview

Mary and Paul Schellenhammer are yet another example of successful business executives who were inspired by the chocolate muse.*

Mary spent 15 years in sales, then became a personal chef to pursue her love of food. She became focused on herbs and spices. One day, she created an unusual combination of rosemary and solid chocolate that was simply delicious. She began to leave these chocolates for her clients and served them when catering parties. 

Soon requests started coming in for the chocolates as gifts, and before she realized it, the personal chef business had become a chocolate company. 

Husband Paul loved to cook as well. After 12 years in the defense industry, he was also ready for a career change, and decided to help with the growing chocolate business. Following a year of “research and development,” five flavors of chocolates debuted in September 2006, using a proprietary blend of two Belgian couvertures.


These chocolates go well with spirits and liqueurs, as well as with tea and coffee. Serve them after dinner or nibble on them anytime. Photo by Evan Dempsey | THE NIBBLE.

The chocolates are now sold in fine shops and, of course, online. Continue to the next page to learn more about the six “flavor families” which include coffee, tea and spirits (non-alcoholic) as well as spice.

—Karen Hochman

Continue To Page 2: Varieties Of “Spice Chocolate”

Go To The Article Index Above

*Other ex-business chocolatiers we’ve reviewed include Mary Leonard of Chocolat Céleste, Joan Coukos Todd of Chocolat Moderne and Kee Ling Tong of Kee’s Chocolates.

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