66% Cacao - Topped with Espresso Beans, Hazelnuts and Cherries bar
Weight: 1.12 oz. (32 g.) / 2.25 oz. (64 g.) in total bar
Calories: 168 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $7.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: online order, from EtherealConfections.com
Today was Day #6 of Chocolate, Cherry and Nut Theme Week.
This 66% Cacao bar Topped with Espresso Beans, Hazelnuts and Cherries from Ethereal Confections (Woodstock, IL) was a handcrafted inclusion chocolate bar from owners and chocolate makers Mary and Sara Ervin. And when I say hand-crafted, I mean the Ervins started by making the chocolate themselves from scratch.*
Printed on the packaging was this statement: "Our small business in Woodstock, Illinois is centered on reconnecting people with food. We, Mary and Sara Ervin, labor over each individual detail and constantly strive to improve our craft. No big machines or industrial factories here. We envision and then taste, tweak and package everything by hand..."
Getting back to bar specifics: A festive blizzard of toasted hazelnut pieces, dried cherry bits and a hint of espresso crushed espresso beans lay underneath the inner blue foil wrapping. Said blizzard covered the back of this unique bar. I loved the look of it, the crunchy, natural sweet nuttiness of the hazelnuts, and the sparkles of authentic tart sweet cherry flavor.
The espresso flavor was subtle and blended with the other flavors. A very small amount of cinnamon helped integrate and warm the ambitious flavor combination. The 66% dark chocolate base was smooth; and any subtle flavors in the chocolate itself took second fiddle to the inclusions.
The Ervins is also to be commended for what they left out -- this was a dairy and gluten free bar with no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors. The company is also committed to using organic ingredients.
*Most chocolate sold in the U.S. (and elsewhere) is made by chocolatiers who buy blocks of "pre-made" chocolate and re-melt (and temper) the chocolate to make confections, truffles and bars. Not to take anything away from anyone who is producing great chocolate treats, but making bean-to-bar chocolate (i.e. "from scratch"), is a much more technically challenging process. And very few women are chief chocolate makers. Brava to the Ervins for being both chocolate makers and creative flavor meisters.