I was recently given the opportunity to try a box of Ococoa’s Butter Cup Collection. I thought I knew chocolate. I thought I knew what flavors go well with chocolate (peanut butter, mint, and Sunkist, to name a few). I thought I knew what to expect from a box of chocolates. Then came Ococoa.
I get a lot of mail and have been receiving two to three packages per week for the last few months. When a box arrived last week, I assumed it was a homeschooling product I was expecting and didn’t bother to look at the return address. I got a knife, sliced the tape on the box, opened the flaps, and said, “I smell chocolate….”
That is a very pleasant, very enticing way to open a package.
The Butter Cup Collection is packaged in a simple yet elegant box. A red and brown sleeve with the distinctive Ococoa logo encases the solid brown box. The colors immediately evoked (for me anyway) thoughts of rich, smooth chocolate. Here is my somewhat crummy picture of it:
Inside the box were nine different chocolates coupled with various nut butters and fruits. One of the unique aspects of Ococoa is that owner Diana Malouf steps outside the bounds of normal chocolate confections when making her Butter Cups. She has paired dark chocolate with unusual and exotic flavors that I never would have personally thought to be appetizing, much less delicious. (Don’t worry, Diana proved me wrong.)
From left to right, the flavors in the Butter Cup Collection are:
Top row: Macadamia Guava, Sunflower Honey, Cashew Apricot
Middle row: Sesame Fig, Classic Peanut Butter, Marzipan Truffle
Bottom row: Hazelnut Chocolate, Almond Cherry, Pistachio Date
Since I’m a Candy Addict mom, I had to share the Butter Cups with my husband and two oldest sons. The entire box was gone in less than an hour, which is extremely sad for two reasons:
- The list price for a 9-piece box of Ococoa chocolates is $22.
- They were absolutely delicious.
I’m almost at a loss where to start reviewing each candy since they were all so very good. The Butter Cups all stand about 1.5 inches tall, taller than your normal boxed chocolate. They are all a crisp dark chocolate with, as I mentioned, various fillings. I like a soft chocolate, and these were a little too hard to bite into in my opinion, but many of the flavor combinations outweighed the extra crispness of the chocolate.
I guess I’ll start this whirlwind tour with the Marzipan Truffle since it was the first one I sampled. If you’re not familiar with marzipan, you should go out tonight and find some somewhere. Marzipan is basically just ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites mixed to make a paste. It is a gourmet food that will set you back a pretty penny. I once bought a six ounce tube of it to use in a recipe for $6. It’s high quality stuff.
Anyway, back to Ococoa’s Marzipan Truffle. On its top is a thin slice of almond drizzled with more dark chocolate. The inside contains two layers of marzipan with a layer of dark chocolate ganache between them. (I feel the need to admit that I had never heard the word ganache before.) The inside is creamy and light with a mild almond flavor. I actually would have liked for the almond flavor to be stronger, but my husband said he thought it was perfect.
This is one flavor combination that I thought sounded strange at first. I love sunflower seeds and can eat half a jar in one sitting, but sunflower butter with chocolate? The Sunflower Honey Butter Cup has a thin candy shell, complete with yellow bees, on its top. Though I felt that this candy piece was a little too hard to bite into, the overall flavor of the sunflower butter, honey, and dark chocolate is absolutely, stunningly, delightfully delicious! I find myself craving another one every time I think about it. (I can’t believe I only got to eat 1/4 of this Butter Cup! If I’d had any idea how good it would taste….)
With little sesame seeds sprinkled over its top, the Sesame Fig Butter Cup is an unusual chocolate to say the least. A fluffy blend of dark chocolate and toasted sesame surround a gooey fig center. According to my husband, “If you like Fig Newtons, you’ll like this.” (He loves Fig Newtons, by the way.) Though the fig flavor is milder than that of a Fig Newton, it is still easily detectable and is well-balanced by the sesame.
Mmm, cashew butter. As their price testifies, cashews are among the epitome of delicious nuts. Ococoa’s Cashew Apricot is a dark chocolate cup filled with creamy cashew butter and a small amount of apricot in the bottom. The cashew butter is full-flavored and sweet and will satisfy any cashew lover. It blends well with the apricot without being overpowered by the fruit-flavor.
With a small hazelnut adorning its top, the Hazelnut Chocolate Butter Cup hints at its flavor before you even take a bite. It’s a simple combination of hazelnut butter and dark chocolate. Inside, I found it filled with the pure hazelnut butter and a bottom layer of blended chocolate and hazelnut. I’m a nut lover (or just a nut), and this was the first time I’d had a chocolate with hazelnut. I was quite pleased with the flavor combination. The texture of the hazelnut butter was basically the same as your standard peanut butter filling. The hazelnut on top gave a nice crunch to the otherwise creamy filling.
Did I mention that I like nuts? Almonds are my favorite, especially when they’re covered with cinnamon and sugar. Ococoa has taken toasted almonds, turned them into butter, and combined then with cherries and dark chocolate. Mmm, excuse me while I melt… Okay, I’m back. The Almond Cherry has a candy shell on top, just like the Sunflower Honey, lending an extra crunch to the toasted almond. The cherry flavor is tart and may not be appreciated by sweet-cherry lovers. However, I think you’ll find that sweet almond, tart cherry, and smooth dark chocolate go very well together.
Being the superb daughter that I am, I promised to save the Macadamia Guava for my mom so I can’t give a personal description of its flavor. I do know that it contains ground macadamia nuts and a bottom layer of tangy guava. On its top is a bit of coconut for an added flavor experience. Based on the rest of the Ococoa Butter Cups, I’m sure this one is an interesting and tasty flavor blend.
The Pistachio Date is unmistakable with the bright green pistachio on its top. Full of pistachio butter (I didn’t even know you could make pistachio butter) with dates on the bottom, this Butter Cup is another unusual but intriguing flavor blend. The pistachio butter is smooth and blends well with the dates while chewing. There’s a hint of coconut too. My four year old loved this one.
I’ve saved the Classic Peanut Butter for last. You’ve had peanut butter cups before, right? Just about everyone has. I’ve eaten hundreds or thousands of them in my life. I can tell a great peanut butter cup (Reese’s PB Egg) from a lousy peanut butter cup (you know what I’m talking about). Diana at Ococoa has done something to the peanut butter cup that will forever affect my ability to enjoy Reese’s. It’s really a simple thing that she did, but it has taken the peanut butter cup to a whole new level. What did she do? She added salt. Just a sprinkle of Alaea salt on top. (What’s Alaea? you ask. I have no idea, I answer.) Sweet and salty make an amazing flavor combo, and the Ococoa Peanut Butter Cup is no exception. The peanut butter (which happens to be organic) is very good, somewhat mild in its flavor, but the addition of salt makes the taste of this cup fantabulicious. (Fantastic fabulous delicious, for the uninitiated.)
While I must admit that I can’t see myself paying $22 for a box of chocolates, I won’t hesitate to also admit that these elegant and unique Ococoa Butter Cups are worth their price. It’s important to remember that Diana makes these chocolates by hand. Each one really is like a little (edible!) work of art.
Any one of the Ococoa collections would make a nice gift for any chocolate lover.
I was impressed with all of the Butter Cups, but I have an overwhelming need to award the Sunflower Honey and Classic Peanut Butter flavors the CandyAddict.com Awesomely Addictive Candy Award.