Denise Kitashima Dutton Reviews Yuengling’s Hershey’s Chocolate Porter

Review by Denise Kitashima Dutton: What do you get when two great Pennsylvania tastes decide to mix it up? You get a fantastic porter that’s well worth searching out. Yuengling knew what they were doing when they collaborated with Hershey’s. And the brewery definitely let the chocolatier take the wheel. And it’s glorious.

It’s truly Willy Wonka beer, because even though it has a beautifully dark porter look, it tastes like chocolate milk in the glass. You know, the good kind, with extra syrup. No wonder the brewery sold out the moment it hit taps. (Don’t worry though. They made more.)

Belly up to the glass and get a clean nose, with a whiff of clear water. Then the chocolate hits you. No, not the cocoa. The CHOCOLATE. Cocoa nib? Never heard of her. There’s more syrup and chocolate on the tongue, with the tart nib barely getting through past all the beautiful Hershey’s sauciness. This is pure chocolate decadence, and it slides down the throat.

The head is a lovely dark cream, full of bubbles and froth. But it quickly becomes all but nonexistent, settling down the minute your glass hits the table. Perhaps the infusion of chocolate makes the beverage a bit heartier, the head a bit lesser. But who cares, as this is one helluva brew. I had to triple check the ABV on this one, because I’m not used to such a rich flavor profile in such a low alcohol beer. If this is how Y&H work together, here’s to many more collaborations. Can we get a Reese’s next, please?

Pairing this one with anything chocolate – perhaps a Hershey’s Special Dark – is a no-brainer. But a spicy-sweet barbecue, smoked cheese, or slow-roasted veg wouldn’t be bad choice either. Or just go all out and plop in a scoop or three of your favorite frozen creamy stuff straight into the glass. (I’m thinking butter pecan ice cream, or vanilla Soy Delicious…)

Okay, now I’m hungry.

Yuengling Hershey’s Chocolate Porter
Style: Dark Brewed Porter
ABV: (alcohol by volume): 4.7%
IBUs (international bitterness units): unknown/not given

Denise Kitashima Dutton Reviews “Diana Malouf’s Ococoa”

Review by Denise Kitashima Dutton: Every so often an unexpected, and very welcome, treat shows up in my mailbox, courtesy of Cat, who’s constantly on the lookout for new chocolate-related review opportunities. This time around it was a box of bonbons from Diana Malouf’s Ococoa – candy that is both beautiful to look at and a pleasure to eat.

Made of largely vegan-friendly ingredients (honey is the lone exception), the chocolates are shot-glass shaped, and larger than most popularly known peanut butter cup candies.  Each cup is a thin shell of dark chocolate, which has a mild flavor and silky mouth feel, around a unique filling. The top of each cup is beautifully decorated with a simple, thin slice of nut or fruit, or a delicate painted design such as bees or cherry blossom. And inside each cup . . . well, these are definitely not your run of the mill flavors! Included in the 9-piece box are one each of the following:  Classic Peanut Butter, Pistachio Date, Sesame Fig, Hazelnut Chocolate, Almond Cherry, Cashew Apricot, Marzipan Truffle, Macadamia Guava, and Sunflower Honey.

Across the board, these are some of the most unique and flavorful filled chocolates I’ve had the good fortune to taste.  Each cup incorporates a very delicate balance of sweet and savory in each bite, successfully playing the boldness of the fruit or honey against the more subtle flavor of the nut butter. There’s also a harmony of textures, creamy nut butter or ganache against jelly or jam, set off by the chocolate shell. All in all, a delicious treat to be savored.

A full list of the flavors, along with pictures of each cup, formerly could be found on the Ococoa website, however, the business is now closed. (A wide variety of pictures can still be seen on Instagram.) My personal favorites are the Sesame Fig, Sunflower Honey and the salty goodness of the traditional Classic Peanut Butter (truly, the addition of Fleur del Del and sea salt to the cup itself is a perfect addition to the creamy peanut butter). I would have heartily recommended this collection to anyone who likes exotic flavors, or wanted a little something out of the ordinary: there was sure to be something here to tempt them.

Denise Kitashima Dutton has been a reviewer since 2003, and hopes to get the hang of things any moment now.  She believes that bluegrass is not hell in music form, and that beer is better when it’s a nitro pour.  You can find her at Green Man Review, Atomic Fangirl,, or at that end seat at the bar, multi-tasking with her Kindle.

Denise Kitashima Dutton Reviews Butterfinger Dark

Review by Denise Kitashima Dutton: I love dark chocolate. It’s something everyone knows, because I don’t mind saying so. But I think I’ve found something that has me thinking that perhaps dark chocolate has its limits. Because with Butterfinger Dark, these two great tastes don’t quite make a satisfying whole.

Same crisp, crunchy, nutty filling. The dark chocolate is smooth and sweet, a nice cocoa punch. But the two tastes don’t seem to play well together. Instead of the blend of chocolate and buttery toffee, my mouth felt like it was playing a tennis match. One moment it was toffee, the other chocolate; back and forth, never the twain shall meet.

The bar I reviewed was a share pack, with two pieces per package. Each piece is slightly bigger than the average Fun Size bar you’d pick up for Halloween. But Butterfinger Dark comes in a single bar, as well as snack size bites.

Though Butterfinger Dark bars are gluten-free, they’re not dairy free; milk solids are added to the chocolate, and though it’s “less than 1%”, it’s there in case you’re trying to avoid that sort of thing. (Me, I think it gives the coating a nice, smooth mouthfeel.) They’ve also got ground peanuts that give the bar that “dusty” bite, and the blend of peanut and toffee is that lovely mix that this brand is known for.

While this bar doesn’t live up to the beautiful balance of the original Butterfingers, if you’re itching to give it a try I’d recommend using it as an ice cream topping. Smash the bar a bit, then sprinkle the crumbs over the flavor of your choice (I’d recommend vanilla, so you can get the maximum Butterfinger flavor for your buck.) As a lone star though, this bar is a bit too much of a good thing. Yeah, I’m just as shocked as you.

Denise Kitashima Dutton has been a reviewer since 2003, and hopes to get the hang of things any moment now.  She believes that bluegrass is not hell in music form, and that beer is better when it’s a nitro pour.  You can find her at Green Man Review, Atomic Fangirl,, or at that end seat at the bar, multi-tasking with her Kindle.

Denise Dutton Reviews: Diamond Salted Dark Chocolate Walnuts

Review by Denise Dutton: I tend to stick with savory nuttiness (hello there, Smokehouse Almonds, and chili roasted pistachios!) But Diamond managed to blend sweet and savory into a delightful snack that had me reaching for more and more. Oh well, I guess lunch is this bag. Oopsie-doodle. I have no regrets. *grabs another bite and chops down with relish*

The dark chocolate looks like streusel topping that’s adhered to each piece of walnut, thanks to a VEGAN blend of cocoa, salt, coconut oil, and various flavors like vanilla and maple. There’s also a touch of rosemary extract that gives each bite a little je ne sais yummy. That gives a lumpy, bumpy texture that allows for different pieces to have slightly different levels of chocolate-to-walnut ratios, but all the better. That difference gives each nibble a similar, yet unique, flavor that doesn’t bore your tastebuds. 

The walnuts themselves have a delightful crunch that gives way to smoothness as the oils within are mixed with fiber and flavor. Neither the nut nor the flavors overpower the other, something that’s all too rare with covered/enrobed treats. Am I eating healthy? Probably not, as I’m wrapping up this “serves 4” bag all in one go. But with the light touch on sweetness and the definite walnut-y flavor? It sure feels like it.

This could be a fun toss-in for salads that contain fresh fruit (a frisée and strawberry salad springs to mind, and now I want one immediately), addition to a charcuterie board, or even as a topping to a mole dish or any chili that has a hint of cinnamon and/or cocoa. Or, you could be like me and simply mainline these darlings with a glass of your favorite beverage. Right now, it’s a delightful Rojo, but thanks to the sweet/savory blend, any varietal will do. Heck, even you ice wine enthusiasts could dive in (add in some sliced pears to really go crazy…) And yes, teas, coffees, and other non-alcoholic bevvies would be delightful too; perhaps skip the hot cocoa though, as that option might overpower the delicate balance of this snack.

Just rip open the packet, pour out into your gaping maw bowl of choice, and enjoy.

Denise Kitashima Dutton has been a reviewer since 2003, and hopes to get the hang of things any moment now.  She believes that bluegrass is not hell in music form, and that beer is better when it’s a nitro pour.  You can find her at Green Man Review, Atomic Fangirl,, or at that end seat at the bar, multi-tasking with her Kindle.

Review: Lindt Lindor Dark Chocolate Truffles

By Denise Dutton: Dark chocolate is awesome. We all know this. It’s decadent. It’s bittersweet. It’s good for your heart. It may even prevent some forms of cancer! But when chocolate touts itself as dark but isn’t? It’s not just a sad trombone for me. It’s a sad trombone I want to smash onto someone’s head. What can I say? I Hulk out when I’m lied to. It’s a thing. So these truffles and I probably shouldn’t attend any concerts together. All I’m saying.

It was tough to figure out the exact cocoa percentage in these truffles; Lindt/Lindor has 60% and 70% Extra Dark Chocolate truffles, which typically are the vast majority of info that will pop up. Even Lindt won’t say.   But, finally, Carmelina spilled the tea. So, in pure terms, it’s dark chocolate In Name Only. True dark chocolate has percentages between 50-90%, so these truffles could be considered milk chocolate with aspirations. And that definitely comes through in the appearance, and mouthfeel, of these candies. 

The truffle filling is the exact same color as the shell, so it’s tough to figure out what starts when, unless you pop the pack into the fridge to let the shell harden up. And even then, the high level of cocoa butter keeps things soft and smooth, rather than that satisfying snap true dark chocolate has. Biting into one of these truffles has your teeth sinking into the chocolate as a knife would through butter; an easy slide that lets you know this is gonna be a smooth experience, but isn’t the satisfying bite I was hoping for. 

Milk chocolate lovers will absolutely adore the way the butters and milk solids in this chocolate melt in their mouths. Me? I thought it was a lovely change of pace from my dark chocolate intrigues, but as a gal who has to watch her saturated fat intake? I’d much rather spend my limited SatFat calories on something good and good for me, rather than something that’ll “do for now”. Yep, it’s like that y’all. 

These truffles are lovely with a cup of coffee or tea, or whatever warm beverage you have on offer. Otherwise? They’re too rich for cooler temps, leaving a cocoa-buttery fat skim on your tongue (that that warm bevvie will melt right off.) As with any other fatty/rich food? Champagne or other sparkling wine can also pair nicely. Maybe even a lovely aged brandy; whisky might overpower things, and balance in your snacking experience is key.

So, my dark chocolate loving compatriots? If you’re craving some darkness in your life, I’d choose Lindt’s 60 or 70 percent truffles rather than these. While they’re smooth and rich, and melt delightfully on the tongue? They’re just not the same as the real thing. 

P.S.: The batch I received through Amazon had a bit of “fat bloom” on them. Nothing to worry about, they’re still A-OK in terms of being safe to consume. But in case anyone else was wondering what’s up with a strange gritty or oily white coating on their chocolate? It’s bloom. And as I’ve never has this happen with Lindt chocolates before, I’m betting the strange “summer before spring” weather fluctuations we had earlier this month was the cause of it. Can’t be fun for chocolates to sit in a delivery truck when weather ebbs and flows…