Taste Test: From Local Chocolatiers
By day, Barbara Norman is a senior lab technician in molecular biology at the National Institutes of Health. By night, for the past three years, she has made an exceptional line of chocolate candy. At a recent blind taste test of the work of five Washington area chocolatiers, Norman's Blue Moon chocolate assortment was the overwhelming favorite.
Our tasting panel, led by pastry chef Rita Garruba of the downtown restaurant Butterfield 9, found Norman's fillings "rich and dense with dominant flavors that work well together." The panel liked that the pieces were relatively small and not too sweet. "These were made by someone with a sense of taste. A great job," said Garruba, who sold her own successful line of chocolates at Dean & DeLuca for several years. In an all-star box, it's tough to pick favorites. But if given first choice of a fresh assortment, we would select either the awesome coconut spice milk chocolate truffle or the equally pleasing pistachio cream enrobed in dark chocolate. - Walter Nicholls