Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Chocolate Tree - Pisco Sour Nibs 70% Dark bar - August 20, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chocolate Tree
Pisco Sour Nibs 70% Dark bar
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.41 oz. (40 g.) / 2.82 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 196.4 calories in 1 bar (1/2 package)
Cost: $11.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #10 of Chocolate and Spirits Theme Week.

Today's Pisco Sour Nibs 70% Dark bar was made by Chocolate Tree (Dunbar, Scotland).

The company has created a series of bars that combine origin-based spirit-infused cacao nibs with cacao grown in the same region. Very nice idea.

In today's case, Pisco (and the popular Peruvian Pisco Sour cocktail made from this spirit mixed with lime and bitters) was blended with "ultra-premium cacao nibs from the Chililique community of Piura" (Peru), and organic chocolate from the same origin.

This chocolate was smooth. The cacao nibs tasted fresh, and had a soft chew/crunch. The lime (lime oil) and bitters gave the bar a subtle citrus accent. The Pisco (6%) liquor* was very subtle.

*Pisco is a pale amber (or clear) brandy made from fermented grape juice (from grapes grown in the wine-making regions of Peru and Chile (south of the Atacama desert and north of Santiago). The fermented juice is distilled to make a spirit. Pisco was developed by early Spanish settlers centuries ago. The Pisco Sour (cocktail) is popular throughout Peru and neighboring South American countries.



Monday, August 19, 2019

Chocolate Tree - Mezcal with Nibs bar - August 18, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chocolate Tree
Mezcal Nibs 70% Cocoa Dark bar
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) / 2.8  oz. (80 g.) in total package (2 bars in pkg.)
Calories: 196.4 calories in 1 bar (1/2 package) (per label)
Cost: $11.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #9 of Chocolate and Spirits Theme Week.

Today's Mezcal Nibs 70% Cocoa Dark bar was made by Chocolate Tree (Dunbar, Scotland).

This relatively sweet 70% chocolate, made with criollo hybrid cacao Tabasqueno (Mexico) was studded with crunchy cacao nibs and had a boozy aroma and flavor from the mezcal (also from Mexico).*

The description for this bar on the Chocolate Tree packaging read as follows: "400 years ago, the Spanish conquistadors discovered a love for cacao in Mexico and they also taught distillation to the Aztecs. We have soaked the ancient criollo hybrid cacao of Tabasqueno in Mezcal, the agave spirit, to bring you a chocolate with deep rich notes of bloodlust, agave, and smoke."

*Ingredients: organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar, organic cacao butter, organic cocoa nibs, mezcal



Somerville Chocolate - Hops Dark Milk bar - Aug. 17, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Somerville Chocolate
Hops Dark Milk bar - Dark Milk infused with Beer Hops bar
Good ++
Weight: 1.25 oz. (35 g.) / 2.5 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 188 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $12.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate and Spirits Theme Week.

Today's Hops Dark Milk bar - Dark Milk infused with Beer Hops bar was crafted by Somerville Chocolate (Somerville, MA).

This dark milk bar had citrus and hoppy earth notes with a slight bitterness in finish. That is, it tasted very much like beer hops. (The maker's description also suggested we might taste pineapple and evergreen notes from the hops.)

The 53 percent cacao (37% cacao nibs + 16% cocoa) chocolate was made with a blend of cacao origins, and infused with Mosaic beer hops.




Fossa Chocolate - Sake bar; Goma Goma - Sesame Bar; Askinosie Sake Nibs over green tea ice cream - Aug. 16, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Fossa Chocolate
38% White Sake bar
Good + - Good ++
Weight: .67 oz. (19 g.) / 1.34 oz. (38 g.) in total bar
Calories: 101 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $14.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Fossa Chocolate
PekoeAndImp Tea Chocolate Honey Orchid Dancong Hongcha bar
Good ++
Weight: .618 oz. (17.5 g.) / 1.23 oz. (35 g.) in total bar
Calories: 93 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $14.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Cloudforest and Fisk (Fisk Projects)
Goma Goma (Gray Chocolate Sesame) bar
Good
Weight: .61 oz. (12.4 g.) / 1.234 oz. (25 g.) in total bar
Calories: 91 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $7.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Spirits Theme Week.

Today was an Asian-themed day featuring two clever and rich flavored bars that contained cacao butter, but no cacao solids. And, we sampled a bowl of green tea ice cream topped with sake-soaked cacao nibs.

And, in the spirit of this theme week, we paired these bars with refreshing green teas, and a small Singapore Sling cocktail.

The Sake bar from Fossa Chocolate (Singapore) was sweet, creamy, ivory-colored white chocolate with small honey-colored chunks of sake and rice (sakekasu) with a faint umami twist.

The Goma Goma "Gray Chocolate" had the creamy texture and mouthfeel of cacao butter and milk, and an interesting subtle sweet, black sesame flavor. What was noteworthy was the absence of cocoa solids. The ground black sesame seed base looked almost like a conventional chocolate bar.

Last but not least, our favorite item today, that did contain cocoa solids, was a bowl of green tea jasmine ice cream topped with a generous serving of Askinosie roasted cocoa nibs (single origin, Tenende, Tanzania) that had been marinated in sake with a few grains of ginger and matcha. We'd rate this a Good ++ - Good +++.





Saturday, August 17, 2019

Goodio Chocolate - Cranmary - 62% cranberries, rosemary, coconut and gin bar - Aug. 15, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Goodio Chocolate
Cranmary - cranberries, rosemary, coconut and gin bar
Good ++
Weight: .848 oz. (24 g.) / 1.69 oz. (48 g.) in total bar
Calories: 130 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $8.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Spirits Theme Week.

Today's Cranmary - cranberries, rosemary, coconut and gin bar was handcrafted in Helsinki, Finland, by Goodio Chocolate.

The maker's description for this bar read: "Chocolate like Nordic summer night meadow, flavoured with tangy cranberries and herbal rosemary."

The aroma of this raw, vegan bar had fruit, herb, chocolate and light coconut notes. The texture was relatively creamy (cacao butter) for stoneground chocolate. The dominant layered flavors were an interplay of cranberries (tiny bits and powder) and rosemary, with a hint of coconut (coconut palm sugar, coconut flakes). The gin contributed a very subtle layer of herbal/botanical flavor.

And speaking of gin, this 62% dark chocolate bar was developed in collaboration with Kyro Distillery Company (Finland). The distillery produces single malt rye whisky and a Napue rye-based gin...with botanicals that include "meadowsweet, sea-buckthorn and cranberries"...with a slight "spicy pepper note."




Thursday, August 15, 2019

World Market - 64% Strawberry Champagne Dark Chocolate square - Aug. 14, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

World Market 
64% Cacao Strawberry and Champagne Dark Chocolate small bar
Good
Weight: .375 oz. (10.6 g.) in total bar
Calories: 49 calories in 1 small bar
Cost: $0.49 for 1 bar
Purchased from: World Market, N. Scottsdale, AZ
Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Spirits Theme Week.

This individually wrapped square had a sweet dark chocolate and red berry/strawberry flavor.

The 64% cacao chocolate was embedded with tiny red-pink morsels, and it even had a few very tiny authentic strawberry seeds to embellish the tasting experience.

One had only to imagine a tiny crystal goblet of pink bubbly champagne along with it.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Coco Chocolatier - Gin and Tonic Dark Chocolate 60% bar - Aug. 13, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Coco Chocolatier
Gin and Tonic Dark Chocolate 60% Cocoa bar
Good +
Weight: 1.41 oz. (40 g.) / 2.82 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 212 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $4.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: World Market, N. Scottsdale, AZ

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Spirits Theme Week.

Summer is the time to enjoy a simple chilled cocktail like a gin and tonic with a twist of citrus peel over ice.

But even if your cold summer drink doesn't include alcohol, you might want to try today's chocolate bar which evokes herbal lemonade or limeade (with an herbal touch of juniper).

Today's Gin and Tonic Dark Chocolate 60% Cocoa bar from Coco Chocolatier (Edinburgh, Scotland) was swathed in a wrapped printed with a colorful piece of art.*

The base chocolate was smooth, creamy and dark, with a hint of nuttiness, followed by mild aromatic citrus (lemon followed by lime) with a subtle earthly herbal juniper finish.

* Coco Chocolatier is a creative endeavor that incorporates images from artists/an art collective in Europe.

Ingredients: "Dark chocolate (cocoa liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, natural vanilla flavor), juniper oil, lemon oil, lime oil."





Monday, August 12, 2019

Haagen-Daza - Spirits Bourbon Vanilla Bean Truffle Ice Cream - Aug. 12, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Haagen-Dazs
Spirits - Bourbon Vanilla Bean Truffle Ice Cream
Good ++
Weight: 2/3 cup  (132 g.) / 14 fl. oz. (414 mL) in total container
Calories: 340 calories in 1 (2/3 cup) serving
Cost: $4.99 for 1 container
Purchased from: Piazza's Fine Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Spirits Theme Week.

Today's Spirits - Bourbon Vanilla Bean Truffle Ice Cream was from Haagen-Dazs* (Minneapolis, MN).

This ice cream, laced with soft bits of dark chocolate, had creamy rich texture and flavor with a hint of bourbon and vanilla. (Brown sugar, molasses, maple, vanilla bean and coconut oil also gave the taste some natural flavor depth.)

*The Haagen-Dazs ice cream brand originated with Reuben and Rose Mattus in Brooklyn Heights, New York, in 1961. The couple started with three flavors: vanilla, chocolate and coffee, and opened their first retail store in Brooklyn, NY, in 1976. 

The brand was acquired and is now associated with two larger corporations (Nestle and General Mills). Somehow, thankfully, against all odds, the ingredients list has for a growing number of ice cream flavors been kept relatively short, and is usually of a higher quality than most large brand name ice creams. (Haagen-Dazs is also one of the few brands that doesn't add a lot of vegetable gums. Thank you!)


Haagen-Dazs - Coffee and Vanilla Layers Ice Cream; Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Co. - Bourbon Nib Brittle - Aug. 11, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Haagen-Dazs
Crispy Trio Layers - Belgian Chocolate with Coffee and Vanilla Ice Cream(s)
(topped with Chocolate Banquet special bourbon-soaked nibs)
Good ++
Weight: 1/4 cup (44 g.) / 14 fl. oz. (414 mL) in total container
Calories: 120 calories (estimate) in 1/4 cup serving + 50 cals. for nib topping
Cost: $3.50 (sale, 2 for $7) for 1 container
Purchased from: Piazza's Fine Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and Spirits Theme Week.

The Haagen-Dazs (Minneapolis, MN) Crispy Trio Layers collection is part of the companies expanding family of ice cream-related products. Flavors include Belgian chocolate, vanilla ice cream and a featured third flavor (blackberry, coffee, caramel, etc.) The line-up also includes a triple chocolate flavor and non-dairy variations as well.

Today we're featuring the Belgian Chocolate Coffee and Vanilla ice cream, that was quite tasty. It contained a nice blend of crispy darker chocolate layered pieces and creamy and flavorful coffee ice cream, mellowed by a smooth and upbeat vanilla ice cream.

Recently, Haagen-Dazs announced a line of ice creams with spirits. (We'll feature one tomorrow). But, in the spirit of spirits, we jumped the gun with our own spirited inclusion to today's Crispy Trio Layers flavor.

We amped up the chocolate flavor by topping this ice cream with Chocolate Banquet's own secret recipe for bourbon soaked cacao nibs (with bitters and orange peel).

And speaking of bourbon and cacao nibs...

Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Co.
Bourbon Nib Brittle
Good +
Weight: 2 oz. (56.6 g.) / 6 oz. (170 g.) in total package
Calories: 280 calories in 1/3 package
Cost: $18.00 for 1 package
Purchased from: Cashmere + Chocolate, Santa Fe, NM

We also re-tasted two small pieces of Bourbon Nib Brittle from Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Co. (Nashville, TN). We originally enjoyed this back in 2012. (How time flies.) It was sweet, crunchy and satisfying, with a very light Bourbon touch.


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Fruition Chocolate - Hudson Bourbon Dark Milk 61% bar - Aug. 10, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Fruition Chocolate
Hudson Bourbon Dark Milk 61% bar
Very Good
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 2.12 oz. (60 g.) in total bar
Calories: 160 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $12.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chokola, NM

Welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate and Spirits Theme Week.

Today's Hudson Bourbon Dark Milk 61% bar was made by Fruition Chocolate in "their workshop in the Catskill Mountains" (Shokan, NY).

Today's bourbon bar, a Good Food Awards winner, was spirited chocolate at its best: high-quality bean-to-bar chocolate blended with balanced, well-executed flavor inclusion(s).

The chocolate had an aroma with light fruit, chocolate and faint roasted coffee latte notes, and a creamy, even melt and texture. The warm, round, almost buttery flavor, also embraced a very subtle, rich bourbon presence.

The chocolate maker (Bryan Graham's) tasting notes and bar description read as follows: "Roasted nibs, aged with Hudson Baby Bourbon and barrel staves, are crafted into a creamy dark milk chocolate with hint of oak."

Friday, August 9, 2019

The Chocolate Cartel - 73% Dark Chocolate with Local Lavender bar - Aug. 9, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

The Chocolate Cartel
73% Dark Chocolate with Local Lavender bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $3.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Airport Shop (ABQ), Albuquerque, NM

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate and New Mexico Theme Week.

Today's 73% Dark Chocolate with Local Lavender bar was from The Chocolate Cartel (Albuquerque, New Mexico).

The Chocolate Cartel has partnerships with several other New Mexico businesses—that furnish flavor inclusions for the company's chocolates. For example, the lavender in today's bar comes from Los Poblanos, the site of a historic inn and organic farm where they grow 25 acres of lavender. I recommend eating at their excellent restaurant (Campo) on-site and stopping in at their Farm Store which is open to the public during open hours.)

The simple, clear wrapper allowed one to see whole lavender buds on the chocolate, and was used by the company for local inclusion bars, where a separate label identifying the type of local ingredient could be easily affixed. In this case a small white label read: "local lavender."

This chocolate had an herbal-floral aroma, and a blossoming true lavender flavor. The dark chocolate was relatively bold in flavor and had a very slight tartness and/or astringency in the finish that one could feel in the throat.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Chocolate Cartel - Red Chile + Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds - Aug. 8, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

The Chocolate Cartel
Red Chile + Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds
Good - Good +
Weight: .75 oz. (21.25 g.) / 1.5 oz. (42.5 g.) in total package
Calories: 112.5 calories (per label) in .75 oz. (21.25 g.) serving
Cost: $4.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: Airport Shop (ABQ), Albuquerque, NM

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and New Mexico Theme Week.

Today's Red Chile + Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds were from The Chocolate Cartel (Albuquerque, New Mexico).

The Chocolate Cartel partners with local businesses for their chocolates with flavor inclusions. For example, the chiles today could have some from "The Chile Guy." And the lavender in tomorrow's bar comes from Los Poblanos, the site of a historic inn and organic lavender farm.

This red chile laced offering incorporated a blend of Western flavors. These spicy almonds had a slightly malty, nutty aroma and a light touch of dark chocolate with a hot, red chili sizzle in the middle. The almonds helped to balance the heat.

Ingredients included: Cocoa liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, lecithin, caramelized almonds, vanilla extract, dried red chile, spices, sugar, cornstarch.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Chocolate Cartel - 73% Dark Chocolate (small bar) - Aug. 7, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

The Chocolate Cartel
73% Dark Chocolate (small bar)
Good - Good +
Weight: .8 oz. (22.64 g.) in total bar
Calories: 120 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $3.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Shop in Airport (ABQ), Albuquerque, NM

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and New Mexico Theme Week.

Today's 73% Dark Chocolate small bar was from The Chocolate Cartel, handmade in Albuquerque, NM.

This bar* had a nice sheen/shine, and a dark chocolate aroma with faint roasted coffee/acidic notes. The flavor was bold and dark with earth and nut notes. (It was not as acidic as expected based on aroma, which was fine.)

The melt was even and texture was relatively smooth. And the chocolate had a lingering finish with chocolate, roasted, and nut notes, and a very slight astringency one could feel in the throat.

*Ingredients: "Cocoa liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, lecithin" (contains soy)

Art of Chocolate Cacao Santa Fe - Red Clay Sea Salt Roasted Cacao Nibs 60% Dark Milk Chocolate bar - Aug. 6, 2019

Chocolate of the Day:

Art of Chocolate Cacao Santa Fe
Chaco Cacao - Red Clay Sea Salt and Roasted Cacao Nibs 60% Dark Milk Chocolate bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (56 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $12.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Airport shop at Albuquerque (ABQ) airport

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and New Mexico Theme Week.

Today's Chaco Cacao - Red Clay Sea Salt and Roasted Cacao Nibs 60% Dark Milk Chocolate bar was from Art of Chocolate Cacao Santa Fe (Santa Fe, NM).

This relatively sweet chocolate bar included a generous helping of crunchy, roasted cacao nibs on the back of the bar (that caused the chocolate to seem slightly darker than 60% cacao) while still maintaining a sweet side. Red clay salt added a light current of salt seasoning throughout the bar.

The title of the bar "Chaco Cacao" refers in part to Chaco/Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. The Chaco area (where Anasazi and Navajo peoples have lived) was also a gathering place. And it's an area rich in history. And, significantly for chocolate, traces of cacao from the distant past were found here as well, indicating that cacao beans (grown further south, e.g. in Mexico or Belize) may have been transported as far north into what now is the Southwestern U.S. centuries ago.




Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Chamisa Chocolate - Food of the Gods dark chocolate bar - Aug. 5, 2019

Chocolate of the Day:

Chamisa Chocolate
Food of the Gods 81% Cacao dark chocolate bar
Very Good
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (60 g.) (per label) in total bar
Calories: 152 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $12.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate + Cashmere, Santa Fe, NM location


Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and New Mexico Theme Week.

Today's Food of the Gods 81% cacao Honduras bar was from Chamisa Chocolate, a company that markets small batch chocolate in a few select places, including the Santa Fe, NM, farmers market, and Chocolate + Cashmere retail locations in Santa Fe (and Taos).

The cacao for this high percentage bar came from a remote part of Honduras (Wampusirpi district), that takes about two days to reach by canoe. Chamisa tries to use organic ingredients whenever possible. And the cacao in this area of Honduras has not had a history of using chemicals, and is committed to organic practices, even if the cacao may not be certified organic.

According to info on Chamisa's website, "...These beans were sourced with care from the farmer and co-ops, premiums well above the market minimum were paid (nearly double in this case) and only the best beans were accepted."*

This three-ingredient bar had chocolate fudgey, creamy (almost nutty) balanced earthy ultra-dark flavor; and it was delicious. Truly deserving of the "food of the gods" botanical name (Theobroma cacao) reference.

Ingredients: Organic cacao beans, organic sugar, organic cacao butter.

*The company also makes 71% Alto Beni, Wampasurpi Honduras, Polochic and Tumaco dark chocolate bars. 

(The image printed on the label was from the pre-Columbian Codex Zouche-Nuttall.)

Monday, August 5, 2019

Eldora Chocolate - 70% Dark Chocolate Bar with Mexican Coffee Nibs - Aug. 4, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Eldora Chocolate
70% Dark Chocolate Bar with Mexican Coffee Nibs
Good ++
Weight: .9 oz. (25.55 g.) / 1.8 oz. (51.1 g.) in total bar
Calories: 135 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $7.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Farm Shop (Los Poblanos), Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, NM

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and New Mexico Theme Week.

Today's 70% Dark Chocolate Bar with Mexican Coffee Nibs was from Eldora Chocolate (Eldora Enterprises, LLC), based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The chocolate was made from cacao grown in the Dominican Republic (Zorzal, 2018 Harvest).

This bar had a strong coffee aroma and flavor; and crushed bits of coffee beans (coffee nibs) on the back of the bar created crunchy texture and imparted micro-bursts of concentrated, smooth, dark roasted coffee flavor.

The chocolate was relatively smooth, dark and flavorful. Seemed like a good pairing. But, any flavor nuances beyond that were difficult to pick out, as they were overpowered by the stronger coffee notes. This would be a great bar to try if you're a coffee lover, or if you want some fine flavored, wake up chocolate.*

Eldora offers small batch, artisan chocolates, including single origin bars with flavor inclusions.** According to the company's website, Eldora's chief chocolate maker and founder, Steve Prickett, has challenged himself to make single origin chocolate/bars from as many countries as possible, with more than 24 countries (and 31 different origins) so far.

Like many New Mexico residents, Steve enjoys being outdoors and the good health to do so. And, like many of us who spend time outdoors, he is concerned about a healthy environment. He takes all these values into consideration when sourcing beans and making chocolate as well. (Bravo.)

The company donates a portion of their proceeds to "Kiva, Heirloom Cacao Project and Rainforest Project."

*Digression: This reminded me again to check about incorporating mesquite "coffee" into an artisan chocolate bar. So far I've had chocolate with mesquite powder/flour, but not a mesquite coffee bar or confection that I can remember. There are still combinations I've yet to try, even after sampling more than 4,600 different chocolates.

**Ingredients in today's Mexican Coffee Nibs bar: cocoa nibs, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, Mexican coffee nibs




Saturday, August 3, 2019

Chokola Bean to Bar - Tanzania Kokoa Kamili 75% bar - Aug. 3, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chokola Bean to Bar LLC
Tanzania Kokoa Kamili 75% (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.02 oz. (29 g.) / 2.04 oz. (58 g.) in total bar
Calories: 160 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $12.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chokola Bean To Bar, Taos, NM

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and New Mexico Theme Week.

Today's Tanzania Kokoa Kamili* 75% bar was made by Chokola Bean to Bar LLC (Taos, NM).

This well-made bar had a bright, acidic/tart fruit, chocolate and light spice aroma. The flavor had concentrated fruit (stone fruit, dried pear, quince), cream, very faint sweet mineral, and true chocolate notes.

The chocolate maker's tasting notes read: "light acidity, green apple jam."

This is the second of two single origin bars this week from this New Mexico this craft chocolate maker. Chokola offers a variety of chocolates in their cozy shop, located steps away from the Taos Plaza (in downtown Taos). Yesterday's bar was a Chokola Belize Maya Mountain 70% bar.

*Kokoa Kamili is an organization that works closely with cacao farmers to ethically source cacao in the Kilombero Valley in the Morogoro Region of Tanzania, in Africa. The organization is known for producing cacao with fruity notes, and they can accommodate custom fermentation requests from artisan chocolate makers in the U.S. and elsewhere they work with.


Friday, August 2, 2019

Chokola Bean to Bar LLC - Belize Maya Mountain Bar; Taos Bakes Pinon Coffee Dark Chocolate (bar) - Aug. 2, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chokola Bean to Bar LLC
Belize Maya Mountain 70% bar
Good ++
Weight: 1.02 oz. (29 g.) / 2.04 oz. (58 g.) in total bar
Calories: 160 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $12.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chokola, Taos, NM

Welcome to Day #9 or Chocolate and Cowgirl Theme Week, and Day #1 of Chocolate and New Mexico Theme Week.

Taos, a mountain town in northeast New Mexico, has a population of almost 6,000 residents.* There are real cowgirls in Taos, a city that has small businesses and organizations like Cowgirl Designs, a small shop that offers graphic design and branding services to the Taos community; the Taos Rodeo (with junior cowboy and cowgirl categories); and cowgirl farmers we met.

We passed several locations and ranches on the outskirts of town that could have been featured in Western films.

There are also a growing number of craft chocolate makers in New Mexico, including at least one in downtown Taos: Chokola Bean to Bar LLC.

We picked up a few Chokola items, including today's Belize Maya Mountain 70% cacao bar, adorned with an image of what resembled a Pronghorn** in their shop. They offered single origin bars, filled chocolates, drinking chocolates and a chocolate pudding bar. Customers could also purchase a chocolate flight to try items side-by-side.

This chocolate had a true chocolate and concentrated fruit aroma and a fairly bright but acidic fruit flavor (think lemon, apricot, and fresh pineapple) that was present throughout the tasting experience. The texture was smooth and fairly creamy, almost fudgey.

The makers tasting notes read: "pineapple, honey and caramel."

We also re-tasted a second New Mexico bar today: the Pinon Coffee Dark Chocolate (bar) from Taos Bakes (Questa, NM), pictured with the Chokola bar at right. We'd tried a very similar version of this energy bar back in 2018, under the company name Taos Mountain Energy Bar. Same location and company, but they decided to re-brand). Pinon coffee is made with a blend of real coffee plus a hint of toasted pine nuts from pinon (aka pinyon) pine trees--commonly seen growing in the Land of Enchantment.

*Taos, New Mexico, according to 2017 numbers had a population of 5,668. There are, at certain times of the year, many out of town visitors as well, who come to sightsee, enjoy the relatively moderate SW climate and the mountain scenery, and to ski in the winter. 

** While the image may not have been of a Pronghorn, frequently called Pronghorn Antelope, an animal native to the Western U.S. that can run up to 65 miles per hour, it reminded us of its story. This animal once lived and grazed in grasslands across the the Western U.S. and midwest. Their range and their decline paralleled that of the American Bison.

Cowgirl Chocolates - Mild Dark Chocolate 75% Cocoa Chocolate Bar - Aug. 1, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Cowgirl Chocolates
Mild Dark Chocolate 75% Cocoa Chocolate Bar
Good - Good +
Weight: .625 oz. (17.5 g.) / 1.25 oz. (35 g.) in total bar
Calories: 95 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $5.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate and Cowgirl Chocolates Theme Week.

Today's Mild Dark Chocolate 75% Chocolate Bar was from Cowgirl Chocolates (Pilot Point, TX).

It had a smooth melt and texture. And, as promised, this dark chocolate bar had a relatively mild, true chocolate (fudge, brownie) flavor. The chocolate was not acidic or bitter, and had a fairly sweet taste as well.

Each square was inscribed with the inspirational word "Dream."


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