TCHO Ventures, Inc.
Maker's Series: Black Lime + French Thyme 68% Cacao (bar)
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.23 oz. (35 g.) / 2.47 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 170 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $7.99 for 1 bar (plus shipping)
Purchased from: TCHO.com, online order
Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate, Salt and Savory Theme Week.
Today's Maker's Series: Black Lime + French Thyme 68% Cacao (bar) was created by Chief Chocolate Maker, Brad Kintzer,* at TCHO (Berkeley, CA).
Only 647 of these lime and thyme dark bars were made for sale; and this flavor was Number 12 in TCHO's micro batch Maker's Series. Many of the other flavors in this series have sold out before I've had the opportunity to try them. I felt lucky to obtain one of these bars—that was minted just a few weeks earlier.
Bars in this series were packaged in a luxurious outer dark navy blue box with embossed copper colored logo type, and inside the box was a dark chocolate brown colored lining and a brochure with more information. The design was reminiscent of packaging you might see with fine cigars, jewelry, wine, etc.
The aroma and flavor of this bar was weighted toward fresh thyme, an herb used in many savory dishes. Interspersed with the (dried) thyme notes were crunchy hard micro-bits of black (sun-dried, Persian) lime which yielded balanced micro-bursts of tangy citrus. Lime, like chocolate can go savory or sweet, and did so nicely here.
Your brain will be so busy trying to figure out and enjoy the savory inclusions that the nuances of the smooth dark chocolate may get a bit lost. But, that's a "risk" worth taking in discovering new chocolates.
A wee bit of sea salt further contributed to the savory profile, helping to confuse the brain for a split second. However, a very subtle hint of vanilla added a faint, warming, floral note, which (along with cane sugar) helped nudge the brain ever so gently into chocolate bar recognition territory).
The maker's notes described the inspiration for this bar read, in part, as follows:
"The combination of citrus and herbs might evoke memories of savory feasts and, honestly, that's exactly the bit of inspiration that leads to this micro batch...This may be a chocolate bar, but the pairing of Black Lime and French Thyme still has all the savory feels."
"For our 12th release, we wanted to pay homage to a classic combination with our twist by embracing the zesty "funk" from the black lime and the lighter piney, minty, and peppery French thyme. These unusual flavors layer together with the 68% dark chocolate for an herbal and tangy kick of umami.."
Plus it must be refreshing fun for the makers to do experiment a bit with high-quality limited editions after spending so much time carefully jockeying high-volume, high-quality blends from multiple sources.
*My favorite part of learning about TCHO Chief Chocolate Maker, Brad Kintzer, was hearing about his family roots in chocolate, and that an older relative (grandmother?) was buried with a Hershey's chocolate bar.