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Allen Pierleoni /

Our tasters gave mixed reviews to the summer-themed artisan chocolates from Moonstruck of Portland.

Our tasting panel meets Moonstruck chocolates

Published: Thursday, Jun. 26, 2014 - 11:31 am

Most of us would agree: There can’t be too much chocolate. We all know it’s made from cocoa beans, the dried seeds of the cacao tree, and tastes darn good. Science has determined it’s good for us, too, which means we can lose the guilt.

We happened to come across some artisan chocolates from the Moonstruck Chocolate Co. of Portland, specializing in hand-decorated and hand-packaged confections that show quality and artistry (

It’s promoting its summer collection “inspired by the colors and flavors of citrus and strawberries, as well as the tastes, textures and images of the seaside” ($5 to $75).

We sampled the Exotic Citrus Truffle Collection (key lime, Meyer lemon, pink grapefruit and orange), the Clownfish Collection (truffles in the shape of brightly colored tropical fish in peanut butter, sea salt toffee, blackberry and raspberry flavors), sea salt-spiced caramels in dark and milk chocolates, and a bar of milk chocolate studded with “crispy orange brulee.” Missing were the rocky road sand dollars, dark chocolate strawberry truffles and tumbled beer berries.

Here’s what the tasters had to say:


Citrus Collection

Meyer lemon: Lemony, but not overtly so.

Key lime: Best-tasting of the bunch; enjoyed the sugar coating, good key lime flavor.

Pink grapefruit: Sweet and not very citrusy.

Orange: Creamy melting ball that did not taste like orange nor chocolate, just sweet.

Clownfish Collection

Peanut butter: Peanut butter is so subtle, it was hard to tell it’s there.

Sea salt toffee: Buttery with just a pinch of salt; probably would not recognize this as a toffee flavor.

Blackberry: I didn’t taste the berry, just sweetness.

Raspberry: Tasted strongly artificial.

Sea salt vanilla caramels

Chocolate coating is virtually untastable. Caramel is tasty but nothing I would crave or buy.

Milk chocolate crispy orange brulee bar

Flavor is uneven. One piece had decent orange flavor, but the next piece tasted only of orange. I did enjoy the crunchies, though.


My favorite definitely was the sea salt caramels — the milk chocolate version, not the dark chocolate, which surprised me. Those blended the best, and the caramel itself was very good. Just enough salt, too.

Citrus Collection

Key lime: My next favorite; nicely tart, a little crunchy from the sugar coating.

Meyer lemon: Pleasant lemon, could be tarter.

Orange: Not very distinguished for either chocolate or orange.

Pink grapefruit: No citrus flavor; all floral-sweet.

Clownfish Collection

Very indistinct flavors. Peanut butter hardly tasted like peanuts. The coating was gloppy. Sea salt caramel was the best.

Milk chocolate crispy orange brulee bar

Needs more orange! Quite sweet; the crispy bits were good.



Citrus Collection

Key lime: My favorite, I really likes the contrast of sour/tart and sweet.

Meyer lemon: The sour offset the very sweet chocolate.

Pink grapefruit: Could hardly taste the flavor.

Orange: Nice flavoring; did not taste artificial.

Clownfish Collection

The fish chocolates are so cute! However:

- Overall flavoring is too sweet.

- The outer white chocolate didn’t really melt in my mouth like good quality chocolate. The flavors were indistinguishable.

Sea salt vanilla caramels

The caramel was very good, the chocolate covering was OK. I would have liked the dark chocolate to be more bitter to offset the sweet caramel. I liked the sea salt sprinkles, they added another layer of texture and flavor.

Milk chocolate crispy orange brulee bar

Too sweet, and the orange flavor was not strong enough. I liked the crunch. I like orange/chocolate combos, but not this one.

Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter @apierleonisacbe.

Read more articles by Allen Pierleoni

About Appetizers

Chris Macias has served as The Sacramento Bee's Food & Wine writer since 2008. His writing adventures have ranged from the kitchen at French Laundry to helping pick 10 tons of zinfandel grapes with migrant farm workers in Lodi. Chris also judges regularly at food, wine and cocktail competitions around Northern California. His profile of a former gangbanger-turned-pastry-chef was included in Da Capo's "Best Food Writing 2012."

Read his Wine Buzz columns here
(916) 321-1253
Twitter: @chris_macias

Allen Pierleoni writes about casual lunchtime restaurants in The Sacramento Bee's weekly "Counter Culture" column. He covers a broad range of topics, including food, travel, books and authors. In addition to writing the weekly column "Between the Lines," he oversees the Sacramento Bee Book Club, in which well-known authors give free presentations to the public.

Read his Counter Culture reviews here
(916) 321-1128
Twitter: @apierleonisacbe

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Sacramento Bee's food critic.

Read his restaurant reviews here
(916) 321-1099
Twitter: @Blarob

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