Happy November, dear friends! The time to begin ramping up all things hygge (elements of feeling snug) has somewhat arrived! November’s the month of intermittent rain here on the island. It’s not uncommon for the weather to be incredibly sunny when it’s time to rise and shine, followed by the heavens opening at lunchtime – or vice versa. Some days are simply cold and rainy. It’s only fitting to begin November’s posts with a perfect treat for this quirky weather! It’s time to say hola to the newest addition to the blog.
I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love a great brownie. It’s not a common occurrence in my daily sweet tooth life – but when a chance to sink my teeth into a delectable brownie presents itself, I might say ‘yes’. How about brownies with a touch of coffee that have arrived all the way from Spain with Belgian chocolate? That sparks an enthusiastic “I’ll grab my fork RIGHT NOW” reaction.
These bite-sized brownies, created by a Spanish brand called Mr Brownie, are available at a local grocery store here on the island. To me, Mr Brownie’s logo resembles Mr Potato Head from Toy Story meets the Pringles dude with his classic mustache. As quirky as I happily pictured Mr Brownie to be, I was excited to taste another cake with connections to Spain.
It turns out that the brownies can be warmed up, hence reminding me of Tesco’s cookies last Christmas!
It’s time to taste! In the name of science (and my heightened curiosity), I commenced the brownie adventure by biting into the pieces that weren’t warmed. They possess two distinctive layers: a moist cake-like brownie at the bottom with a dense consistency, and a fudgy layer on top with an effect of being under-baked, although it isn’t actually under-baked. Each brownie has the quintessential ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ experience, which would please brownie connoisseurs.
It’s not just ‘good’, it’s SO good. As much as I adore Belgian chocolate (it’s one of my favorites), it would also be fun to taste Spanish chocolate in the brownies. The sleuth in me began wondering: what would Spanish (or perhaps in a combo with Belgian chocolate) taste like in a brownie? My guess is that it’ll be similar to these brownies. Regardless, I absolutely loved chomping on these sweet delights. I felt like I was chilling at a coffeehouse, much like my previous encounter with the brownie realm, even though I was sitting at home blissfully!
A rich chocolatey taste takes the stage brilliantly, hence being the soul of these brownies. Chocolate isn’t afraid to shine – it steps into the spotlight and delivers in a cake that celebrates this wonderful ingredient. This, to me, makes a marvelous brownie.
Coffee isn’t as prominent as chocolate to my taste buds, but I detected traces of coffee’s taste towards the end of each bite. Nevertheless, these are great little brownies that pack a punch that every chocolate fan would appreciate.
After that, it was time to taste-test a batch of warm brownies. These brownies are almost identical to the non-warmed ones – the only differences are texture and temperature. The brownies are a bit softer after they’ve been warmed, and just as delicious taste-wise. I’m impressed by the execution of these creations, because they’re close to a batch of freshly-baked brownies that have been sitting in the oven!
When deciding on my favorite of the two rounds, I realized that it’s a tie between warm and non-warm brownies. That’s because it depends on when you’re planning to chow on them. To me, the warm brownies are perfect for rainy days because they’re the ultimate comfort food on cold and stormy days. Non-heated brownies are perfect for a hotter weather, as it adds a delightful boost of energy when the radiant sun is blazing outside.
When I began pondering on the relationship between Spain and chocolate, the first image that projected in my mind is chocolate sauce dips for churros at Spanish restaurants. Being more familiar with savory Spanish dishes like paella and tapas-style munchies, I’ve never thought of sweets like brownies and chocolates in Spain before. This brownie expedition led to my little discovery of the gorgeous Spanish province of Zaragoza in Northern Spain, where Mr Brownie originates from.
The province, which is under 2 hours away from Madrid and Barcelona via train, is home to cool places such as a leaning tower (yes, an actual leaning tower!) and an origami museum that’s referred to as ‘EMOZ’ (who would’ve thought that there’s a space dedicated to this beautiful art all the way in Spain?), but it’s also known for its deep roots in Spain’s chocolate history.
Plotting visits to chocolatiers and bakeries that celebrate this precious ingredient in their creations is a must when roaming Zaragoza, along with visiting the place that began the chapter of chocolate in Europe. I learnt that Monasterio de Piedra (translated as ‘Stone Monastery’) is the birthplace of chocolate in Europe. It’s pretty exciting to have a piece of Zaragoza in my pantry right here in the Lion City, which is well over seven thousand miles away from Spain.
All in all, I greatly enjoyed my mini foodie adventure. This pack of brownies is one of my new fave additions to the snack stash!