Thursday, October 29, 2020

Definite Chocolate - Dominican Republic, Finca Elvesia, Coffee and Sea Salt 65% Dark Chocolate - Oct. 29, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Definite Chocolate
Dominican Republic, Coffee and Sea Salt, 65% Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good ++ - +++
Weight: .424 oz. (12 g.) in 1 small bar
Calories: 55 calories in 1 small bar
Cost: $1.50 for 1 small bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order

Welcome to Day #11 of Chocolate, Dominican Republic and Haiti Theme Weeks.

Today's Dominican Republic (D.R.), Finca Elvesia, Coffee and Sea Salt, 65% Dark Chocolate small bar was from Definite Chocolate, S.R.L. (Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic). 

The company's chocolates highlight flavors from different cacao-growing regions/farms in the D.R.; and they offer both full-sized and small bars. (I've been sampling the latter this week.)

This dark chocolate coffee and sea salt small bar had a creamy texture--and an aroma with notes that were right on the nose: dark chocolate, coffee, savory salt, faint roasted nut and slightly earthy notes.

The coffee and salt flavor inclusions (and slight earthiness) helped balance the rich, sugar/sweet, dried fruit (date) notes. It was perfect as a breakfast bar and was small enough to be a portable, high-end snack or small dessert.

Tasting notes listed for this small bar read as follows: "...notes of dates, caramel and nuts."

Ingredients: Organic cacao beans, cacao butter, cane sugar, coffee beans, sea salt. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Definite Chocolate - Dominican Republic, Villa Altagracia 50% Dark Milk Chocolate - Oct. 28, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Definite Chocolate
Dominican Republic, Villa Altagracia, 50% Dark Milk Chocolate (bar)
Good
Weight: .424 oz. (12 g.) in 1 small bar
Calories: 57 calories in 1 small bar
Cost: $1.50 for 1 small bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order

Welcome to Day #10 of Chocolate, Dominican Republic and Haiti Theme Weeks.

Today's Dominican Republic, Villa Altagracia, 50% Dark Milk Chocolate small bar was from Definite Chocolate, S.R.L. (Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic).

This dark milk chocolate had an aroma with dairy and earthy chocolate notes. The melt was smooth. Any other notes beyond a few subtle nutty and dark milk chocolate candy flavor were masked by the sugar.

Tasting notes listed for this Villa Altagracia small bar read as follows: "...notes of almond, cashew butter and caramel."

Ingredients: Organic cacao beans, cacao butter, cane sugar, milk powder.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Definite Chocolate - Dominican Republic Oko Caribe 80% Dark Chocolate - Oct. 27, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Definite Chocolate
Dominican Republic Oko Caribe 80% Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good
Weight: .424 oz. (12 g.) in 1 small bar
Calories: 57 calories in 1 small bar
Cost: $1.50 for 1 small bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order

Welcome to Day #9 of Chocolate, Dominican Republic (D.R.) and Haiti Theme Weeks.

Today's small bar was from Definite Chocolate, S.R.L. (Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic).

This chocolate had a smooth melt and texture, and an aroma with chocolate, spice, faint green (floral), and light loamy notes. The flavor notes included: brown sugar, dark roasted cacao, and faint, fleeting nutty and acidic fruit (citrus). 

This was surprisingly "sweet" for an ultra-dark chocolate, in part due to the Trinitario--flavorful but ("less dense/dark") cacao variety (than, say Forastero cacao)--and Oko Caribe's great cacao fermentation/processing skills in the D.R.

Tasting notes provided for this bar read as follows: "...notes of jasmine, chamomile and lemon."

Ingredients: Organic cacao beans, cane sugar

Definite Chocolate - Dominican Republic Oko Caribe 70% Dark Chocolate (bar) - Oct. 26, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Definite Chocolate
Dominican Republic Oko Caribe 70% Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good +
Weight: .424 oz. (12 g.) in 1 small bar
Calories: 60 calories in 1 small bar
Cost: $1.50 for 1 small bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate, Dominican Republic and Haiti Theme Weeks.

Today's Dominican Republic Oko Caribe 70% Dark Chocolate was from Definite Chocolate, S.R.L. (Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic).

This small bar had rich flavor. It had an aroma with molasses, spice and roasted coffee. The flavor notes included: brown sugar, roasted coffee and cacao, malt, and faint, fleeting nutty, earth and fruit acidity (citrus) notes.

Tasting notes provided for this small bar read as follows: "...notes of plum, orange zest and hazelnut."

Ingredients: Organic cacao beans, cane sugar

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Christopher Elbow Chocolates - Dominican Republic 72% Dark (bar) - Oct. 25, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Christopher Elbow Chocolates
Dominican Republic 72% Dark (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.15 oz. (32.5 g.) / 2.3 oz. (65 g.) in total bar
Calories: 160 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.95 (plus shipping) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Christopher Elbow website, online order

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate, Dominican Republic and Haiti Theme Weeks.

Today's Dominican Republic 72% Dark (bar) was from Christopher Elbow Chocolates (Kansas City, MO). 

This chocolate had an aroma with dried fruit (goji berries, sweet persimmon, raspberry) notes.

The flavor had some of the same fruit notes mentioned above, plus true dark chocolate (rich, dark chocolate cake with honey), a fleeting hint of cream (there was no dairy in this chocolate) and a whisper of very light green.

The chocolate had a relatively mild acidity, a nicely balanced bittersweet taste, and a light finish.

The cacao beans used to make this bar came from Oko Caribe (a cacao processor and fermentery that works directly with local farmers to maximize quality and flavor in the first steps (fermenting, drying) of the chocolate-making process.

The chocolate maker's tasting notes included the following: "...notes of tropical fruit, honey and spice."

Ingredients: Organic cacao, organic cane sugar, cocoa butter.

Cru Chocolate - Dominican Republic (El Cibao) 72% Dark Chocolate (bar) - Oct. 24, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Cru Chocolate
Dominican Republic, El Cibao, 72% Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.55 oz. (43 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 233 (estimate) calories in 1 bar
Cost: $7.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Farm Fresh to You (CSA box), add-on item

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate, Dominican Republic and Haiti Theme Week.

Today's Dominican Republic, El Cibao, 72% Dark Chocolate (bar) was handcrafted by Cru Chocolate (Roseville, CA).

This 72% cacao chocolate had a creamy melt, and a pleasing dark chocolate with subtle nuts with malt, light fleeting warm spice and herb (caraway), balanced, concentrated fruit notes--and a light, well-balanced bitterness toward the end.

The cacao beans, grown in the El Cibao region in northern Dominican Republic, were fermented by Oko Caribe (a fermentery and cacao processing firm that works with farmers in the Dominican Republic).

Ingredients: Cacao beans, organic unrefined cane sugar

Friday, October 23, 2020

Svenska Kakaobolaget - The Swedish Cacao Company - Dom. Rep. 70% (bar) - Oct. 22, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Svenska Kakaobolaget
(The Swedish Cacao Company)
Dom. Rep. Oko Caribe, 2017 Harvest 70% (bar)
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 274 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $12.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate, Dominican Republic and Haiti Theme Weeks.

Today's Dom. Rep. Oko Caribe, 2017 Harvest 70% (bar), produced in Sweden in a late 1800s brick school house in a small town (Osterlen), by Svenska Kakaobolaget (The Swedish Cacao Company). 

Today's bar had fermented cacao (very faint acetic/lactic acid), bright green and dark chocolate frosting aroma and flavor notes, and a slight astringency in the finish. 

Ingredients: Cacao, cane sugar

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Tabal Chocolate - Dominican 100% (bar) - Oct. 22, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Tabal Chocolate
Dominican 100% (bar)
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1/3 bar
Cost: $12.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate, Dominican Republic and Haiti Theme Weeks.

Today's Dominican 100% (bar) was made by Tabal Chocolate (Wauwatosa, WI). Tabal was founded by Dan Bieser in 2012, with a focus on crafting organically grown cacao into responsibly sourced, vegan chocolate without soy or gluten. 

The aroma for this 100% bar had deep, dark chocolate forest notes with a fleeting hint of green (green fruit, green banana). 

The melt was rich and relatively smooth, almost creamy. (Tabal chocolate is stone-ground for three days in small batches.)

It was refreshing to enjoy the essence of chocolate flavor (just one ingredient*), without any sugar today. 

The finish had a relatively mild bitterness and astringency and slight waxy bean flavor note.

*Ingredients: Organic cacao

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Armstrong Chocolate Company - Dominican Republic 70% (bar) - Oct. 21, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Armstrong Chocolate Company
Dominican Republic 70% (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.05 oz. (28 g.) / 2.1 oz. (56 g.) in total bar
Calories: 155 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $10.00 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA 

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate, Dominican Republic and Haiti Theme Week.

Today's Dominican Republic 70% (bar) was from Armstrong Chocolate Company (Chico, CA). 

Armstrong founder and chief chocolate maker, Matthew Armstrong, made this bar with cacao beans from Oko Caribe* (a fermentery founded by two cacao professionals, Gualberto Torrejon and Adriano Rodriguez in 2006, in the Dominican Republic). 

The bar had a dark chocolate with light spice and concentrated fruit aroma, smooth melt and texture, true chocolate flavor with bright fruit (cherry, raspberry), one very fleeting light earth note, and a subtle, balanced bittersweet finish.

Ingredients: organic cacao, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Crow & Moss - Dominican Republic Zorzal 70% Chocolate (bar) - Oct. 20, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Crow and Moss 
Dominican Republic Zorzal 70% Chocolate (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.235 oz. (35 g.) / 2.47 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (per label) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $8.75 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com, online order

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate, Dominican Republic and Haiti Theme Week.

Today's Dominican Republic Zorzal 70% Chocolate (bar) was made from bean to bar by Crow and Moss (Petoskey, MI).

The rich chocolate aroma had an inviting complex aroma with notes of fruit (ripe red fruit, cherries, raisin, dried plum), toffee brittle, a hint of maple spice and fleeting, very faint fresh green (grass). 

The well-tempered chocolate broke with a hearty snap and flavors were similar to those mentioned above in the aroma, only with more chocolate (cocoa, brownie), and a very faint, balanced, fermented milk/cream note.

The maker's tasting notes read as follows: "cherry, caramel, spice"

Ingredients: Dominican Reserve Zorzal cacao beans, organic cane sugar


Monday, October 19, 2020

Nuance Chocolate - Dominican Republic 70% Pure Dark (bar) - Oct. 19, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Nuance Chocolate
Dominican Republic 70% Pure Dark (bar)
Good ++
Weight: .97 oz. (27.5 g.) / 1.94 oz. (55 g.) in total bar
Calories: 146 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $8.50 for 1 bar (plus shipping)
Purchased from: Nuance Chocolate, online order

Welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate and Dominican Republic Theme Week.

Today's Dominican Republic 70% Pure Dark (bar) was made by Nuance Chocolate (Fort Collins, CO).

This 70% cacao chocolate had a slightly earthy and true dark chocolate (chocolate cake) aroma and flavor with a subtle lingering dark chocolate finish.

The GMO-free cacao beans (harvested in 2015) used to make this bar were obtained from Rizek Cacao, a grower, processor, exporter (and more recently chocolate maker) operating in the Dominican Republic since 1905.

Ingredients: cacao, cane sugar, cocoa butter


 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Christopher Elbow Chocolates - Nicaragua 70% Dark (bar) - Oct. 18, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Christopher Elbow Chocolates
Nicaragua 70% Dark (bar)
Good +
Weight: 1.15 oz. (32.5 g.) / 2.3 oz. (65 g.) in total bar
Calories: 160 calories in 1/2 bar 
Cost: $9.95 (+ shipping) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Christopher Elbow Chocolates website, online order

Welcome to Day #10 of Chocolate Nicaragua Theme Week.

Today's Nicaragua 70% Dark (bar) was from Christopher Elbow Chocolates (Kansas City, Missouri). This bar was part of the companies single origin craft chocolate bar line. They also offer bars with "signature" flavor inclusions, and filled chocolate confections (bonbons, truffles).

Made with La Colonia, Nicaragua-grown cacao harvested in 2017, the resulting bar had subtle dark chocolate aroma, and uniformly smooth dark chocolate flavor with a bright, fruity (cherry, nectarine, sweet lemon) sweetness.

Ingredients: Organic cacao, organic cane sugar, cocoa butter


Saturday, October 17, 2020

Cru Chocolate - Nicaragua 72% La Dalia Dark Chocolate (bar) - Oct. 17, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Cru Chocolate 
Nicaragua 72% La Dalia Dark Chocolate (bar) 
Good +++
Weight: 1.55 oz. (43 g.) in total bar
Calories: 233 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $7.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Farm Fresh To You (CSA box), add-on item

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

Today's Nicaragua 72% La Dalia Dark Chocolate (bar) was made by Cru Chocolate (Roseville, CA).

This bar had pleasing true chocolate (fudge brownie, dark hot cocoa*) notes, as well as bittersweet red berry fruit (ripe red currant) and fleeting hints of roasted coffee, nut butter and spice (cinnamon, allspice). Flavors lingered lightly in the finish. 

The makers tasting notes read as follows: "Made with cacao from the nation of poets and soulful emotions. This carefully handcrafted Nicaraguan bar expresses the cacao's earthy, bittersweet flavors, spotted with hints of spiced herbs and caramel."

Cacao beans were fermented by Cacao Bisiesto** in Nicaragua, and hand-sorted, roasted cracked, winnowed, stone-ground, conched and aged by Cru Chocolate in the U.S. The chocolate was well-tempered and the texture was almost creamy, smooth--despite the fact that there was no added no cocoa butter (cocoa bean fat that many craft chocolate makers add, especially to cacao beans grown at the Equator that tend to be "leaner," for a creamier mouth feel). Impressive.

Ingredients: cacao beans, organic unrefined cane sugar

*Cru Chocolate also makes drinking chocolate. Something in the aroma of today's Nicaragua bar evoked a hot cacao/drinking chocolate beverage--so much so that I caught myself blowing lightly on the first bite of chocolate before biting into it. While that's not happened in my 14 years of writing about chocolate, chocolates continue to be full of unexpected depth and magic.

** Cacao Bisiesto (Matagalpa, La Dalia) is a small, socially conscious cacao fermentary in the central highlands of Nicaragua. Co-founded by Jose Enrique Herrera (cacao agronomist) and Gifford (Giff) Laube, this outfit has worked with farmers to help improve the quality of fermented cacao. Their good work has benefited artisan/craft chocolate makers and consumers (even though these critical first steps in the chocolate making process taking place in the cacao growing countries, and are largely hidden from consumer view).

Friday, October 16, 2020

Kaitxo - Nicaragua El Castillero, Rio San Juan 75% Trinitario blend (bar) - Oct. 16, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Kaitxo Specialty Chocolate
Nicaragua El Castillero, Rio San Juan 75% Trinitario blend (bar)  
Good ++
Weight: 1.235 oz. (35 g.) / 2.47 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 200 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cacao, online order

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

Today's Nicaragua El Castillero, Rio San Juan 75% Trinitario blend (bar) was made from bean to bar in Basque country, Spain, by the makers at Kaitxo Specialty Chocolate (Balmaseda, Spain). The company, founded in 2017, offers chocolate, coffee, and tastings.

This three-ingredient* chocolate (no lecithin, thank you!) was made using an "El Castillero" blend of Trinitario (variety) of cacao beans, from the San Juan Coop in northern Nicaragua. (Growers in this Rio San Juan area also produce coffee.)

The resulting dark bar had a pleasing complexity with true dark chocolate, slight umami and very faint green aroma notes. The flavors of this 75% cacao dark chocolate also included a faint earth note and a balanced, brown sugar and/or date-like sweetness.

The Kaitxo maker's tasting notes read as follows: melaza (molasses), manzana asada (roasted apple) y (and) datiles (dates).

*Ingredients: Cacao beans, sugar, cacao butter

Chocolate Momotombo - Tableta Temp. Fino de Leche y Tableta Chocolate Oscuro - Oct. 15, 2020

Chocolate(s) of the Day

Tableta Temp. Fine de Leche 
Chocolate Momotombo
Good ++
Weight: 1.41 oz. (40) / 2.82 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 212 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.00 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Tableta Chocolate Oscuro
Chocolate Momotombo  
Good +++
Weight: 1.41 oz. (40 g.) / 2.82 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 212 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.00 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Bienvenido a (welcome to) Day #7 of Chocolate and Nicaragua Theme Week.

Today's two chocolate bars were made by Carlos Mann and team at Chocolate Momotombo (Managua, Nicaragua). Mann has worked with local growers in obtaining the best quality cacao and has immersed himself in local cacao traditions. 

I had the privilege to meet Carlos many years ago at a Chocolate Salon in San Francisco, and again in Nicaragua, where he was making great chocolates, and working to bring back chocolate making in this country with a long history of cacao cultivation and ceremonial cacao.

The Momotombo Dark Milk chocolate with cacao nibs had wonderful rich, deep chocolate flavor, with subtle earth, caramel and molasses notes. Smooth chocolate was accented by a generous helping of crunchy cacao nibs, helping to preserve the freshly roasted cacao flavors. 

The Momotombo Dark Chocolate 70% bar had a rich, deep chocolate flavor with a slight earthiness, roasted coffee and molasses notes. 

Both chocolate bars are well worth sampling and represent Nicaragua very well, if you can find them in the U.S. (The Chocolate Garage in Palo Alto, CA, now closed unfortunately, used to carry Momotombo chocolates.)

Thursday, October 15, 2020

K+M Extra Virgin Chocolate - Dark Milk Chocolate Nicaragua (bar) - Oct. 14, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

K+M Extra Virgin Chocolate 
Dark Milk Chocolate Nicaragua (bar)
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 2.5 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 400 (estimate) calories in 1 bar
Cost: $15.00 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Equator Coffee, San Francisco, CA

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

Today's Dark Milk Chocolate Nicaragua (bar) was from K+M Thomas Keller and Armando Manni (located in Napa, CA).

The whole milk powder blended with Nicaraguan cacao in this dark milk (no cacao percentage listed) chocolate added creamy texture and smoothness to the aroma and flavor. A small amount of Manni extra virgin olive oil added extra silky, velvety texture. 

Frequently there is a trade-off between adding fats and milk powder to chocolate. Creamier, buttery textures offer luxurious mouth feel, but usually mute cacao aroma and flavor. However, there were satisfying faint, balanced hints of green and fruit (dark berries) in this chocolate, making it rather addicting.

The maker's tasting notes for this bar read as follows:
"An intense and complex chocolate, K+M Extravirgin Milk Chocolate Nicaragua delivers flavors of rich cream and black currants complemented by notes of malt and coffee..."

Ingredients: organic cocoa beans, RBST-free whole milk powder, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, organic (Armando) Manni extra-virgin olive oil, organic soy lecithin.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Chapon - Nicaragua Chuno 70% (mini bar) - Oct. 13, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Chapon Chocolatier
Nicaragua Chuno 70% (mini bar)
Good + 
Weight: .176 oz. (5 g.) / 6.35 oz. (180 g.) in total box of 36 mini bars
Calories: 27 calories (estimate) in 1 mini bar
Cost: $45.00 for 1 box of 36 mini bars (12 different origins)
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA 

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Nicaragua Theme Week.

Today's Nicaragua Chuno* 70% (mini bar) was from Chapon Chocolatier (Chelles and Paris, France).

This beautifully-packaged, single origin mini bar set contained tiny, individually-wrapped bars from around the globe. Today's Nicaragua sweet, creamy smooth dark chocolate had a uniform, balanced sweet, fruit acidity, and a very faint malt/cereal box note.

*Chuno is a hybrid variety of (heritage) cacao that grows in the selvas (jungles), in remote upland areas, of northern Nicaragua. Tasting notes from Chapon for their Chuno bar read as follows: wood, dried fruits, nuts, bitter almonds and/or light tobacco.



Monday, October 12, 2020

Wm. Chocolate - Nicaragua Tenor 85% Dark (bar) - Oct. 12, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Wm. Chocolate LLC
Nicaragua Tenor 85% Dark (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (57 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

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

Today's Nicaragua Tenor 85% Dark (bar) was crafted from bean-to-bar by William Marx at Wm. Chocolate LLC (Madison, WI). Marx produces great chocolate bars--treasure chests that deserve to be savored slowly. Consume these in a hurry, and you'll likely miss some grand virtues. Today's bar was no exception.

A wonderful, complex chocolate aroma wafted out as soon as I opened the outer packaging. And the chocolate inside broke with a well-tempered, hard snap (a sign of precision craftsmanship not often discussed in consumer forums).

And the choice to go with 85% cacao helped guarantee that this extra dark chocolate wasn't too sweet (thank you!).

The flavor included a balanced, light bitterness; deep roasted, dark chocolate; light wood and very faint aged/smoke notes; and a very subtle, natural green, fruit brightness. (Think Trinitario headed toward Forastero.)

This bar was made from a blend of cacao beans (2018 Harvest, Lot 263264) from Matagalpa (Nicaragua) that received a "special fermentation." And the chocolate was made without "soy, dairy, grain, nuts, refined sugar or animal products."

Ingredients: cacao beans, organic whole unrefined cane sugar, organic cacao butter.



Castronovo Chocolate - 70% Heirloom Cacao - Nicalizo, Nicaragua (bar) - Oct. 11, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Castronovo Chocolate
70% Heirloom Cacao - Nicalizo, Nicaragua (bar)
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.1 oz. (31 g.) / 2.2 oz. (62 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (per label) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

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

Today's 70% Heirloom Cacao - Nicalizo, Nicaragua bar was from Castronovo Chocolate (Stuart, FL). This bar was part of the company's Signature Collection. 

The Nicalizo, Nicaragua cacao (Batch No. 890) was made with heirloom (likely Criollo) cacao known for its subtle flavors and complexity. Aroma included fruit notes (apricot, plum, cherry, and a tiny hint of green).

It had a sweet, pleasing cacao/true chocolate (brownie) aroma with a hint of fruit and a creamy melt and texture. 

Castronovo chocolate maker's notes read as follows: "...The chocolate has fruit flavors of plum, cherry with rich buttery notes of toasted toffee, a little spice of pink peppercorn, and a lovely roasted walnut long-lasting finish..." 

Ingredients: cocoa beans, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter.


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Tabal Chocolate - Nicaragua Two Ingredient 70% (bar) - Oct. 10, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Tabal Chocolate
Nicaragua Two Ingredient 70% (bar)
Good +
Weight: 1.5 oz. (42.5 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g.) in total bar
Calories: 225 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $12.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

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

Today's Nicaragua Two Ingredient 70% (bar) was crafted from cocoa bean to bar by Tabal Chocolate in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. 

The word Tabal translated into English (from Mayan origin) means "relationship." And with distributed supply chains involved in high-quality craft chocolate--spanning from farmers and suppliers to customers and running a small business, relationships are key.

Tabal Chocolate offers a line of single origin bars, as well as chocolate bars infused with organic teas and "superfoods" (including several different varieties of berries). The company is also involved with supporting Criollo cacao growing efforts.

The cacao grown in Nicaragua used to make this vegan, soy free and gluten free, two-ingredient bar was stoneground for three days in small batches. The resulting texture was smooth. 

The true dark chocolate had both slightly bitter and fairly sweet taste elements, with true dark chocolate and dried (green banana, dried fig) fruit notes in between. 

Ingredients: "Direct-trade single origin cacao, cane sugar"

Friday, October 9, 2020

Omnom Chocolate - Nicaragua 73% (bar) - Oct. 9, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Omnom Chocolate
Nicaragua 73% (bar)
Good ++ - Good +++
Weight: 2.1 oz. (60 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 316.2 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $9.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

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

Today's Nicaragua 73% (bar) was from Omnom Chocolate hf. (Reyjavik, Iceland). 

This wonderfully complex, dark bar had a smooth, uniform texture and melt, and a balanced, satisfying, smokey/savory (umami), faint roasted nut, and rich true dark chocolate aroma and flavor. These flavors were intertwined with more subtle dried fruit (dried goji berry) and green tea notes. The finish possessed a lingering chocolate brownie note.

After a week of milk chocolates with muted cacao flavors, this dark bar that hit so many pleasant chords on the chocolate tasting wheel was like walking into a chocolate factory and taking a deep breath of fresh, roasted cacao air. 

Ingredients: "Organic cocoa beans from Nicaragua, organic cane sugar, cocoa butter, sunflower lecithin (E322).*"

*E322 refers to a group of phospholipids (lecithins) used in foods, found in plant and animal tissues, used as an emulsifier or stabilizer--commonly derived from soy, sunflower, peanuts, corn or egg yolk and other "animal resources." Lecithins are used to blend oils/fats and can frequently be found in margarine, chocolate, mayonnaise, ice cream and milk powder.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Chocolate Naive - Peanut Butter Specialty Milk Chocolate 47% (bar) - Oct. 8, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Chocolate Naive
(Producer/Gamintoja: Mulate UAB)
Peanut Butter Specialty Milk Chocolate 47% (bar)
Good ++ 
Weight: 2 oz. (57 g.) in 1 bar 
Calories: 414.6 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $11.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Grass Fed Milk Theme Week. 

Today's Chocolate Naive Peanut Butter Specialty Milk Chocolate 47% (bar) was created by chocolatier, Domantas Uzpalis, and produced by Mulate UAB (Vilnius, Lithuania).

This unique, guitar-shaped 47% cacao milk chocolate bar was velvety smooth and devilishly delicious. 

Twenty percent of the content was peanuts, that were ground for 4 days into creamy, whipped peanut butter, that was then so well incorporated you might miss the specific peanut flavor.  Further upping the creamy factor was the inclusion of grass-fed milk powder. 

Ingredients: cacao butter*, sugar*, specialty cacao*, peanuts* (20%), grass-fed milk powder*, sea salt*.

*"wild or all natural farming!"


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Garden of Life - Organic Whey Protein Grass Fed Certified Fair Trade Organic Chocolate Cacao - Oct. 7, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Garden of Life LLC
Organic Whey Protein Grass Fed Certified Fair Trade Organic Chocolate Cacao
Good
Weight: 1.16 oz. (33 g.) in 1 package
Calories: 130 calories in 1 package
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: Rainbow Grocery, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Grass Fed Milk Theme Week.

Today's Organic Fair Trade Chocolate Cacao Grass Fed Whey Protein was from Garden of Life (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida).*

Milk adds protein. Today's single serving package provided an impressive 21 grams of protein (42% of daily value), and only 7 grams of total carbohydrate.

Once mixed (thoroughly stirred) with water, the texture was smooth. The (de-acidified) cocoa used to supply the "chocolate cacao" flavor provided a chocolatey aroma and uniform cocoa flavor. 

The flavor was sweet, but a bit too (slightly artificially) sweet for me. This mix did not contain sugar, and was sweetened with erythritol and stevia extract (leaf).  

As an added bonus, this contained 2 billion colony forming units (CFUs) worth of a strain of beneficial (probiotic) bacteria thought to improve immune function.

*Note: Garden of Life became part of Nestle Health Sciences in 2017.

Ingredients: Organic Whey Protein Concentrate, Certified Fair Trade Organic Cacao, Organic Creamer Flavor, Organic Erythritol, Organic Chocolate Flavor, Sea Salt, Organic Stevia Extract (leaf), 2 billion CFU Bifidobacterium lactis B1-04.
 

Tera's Whey - Grass Fed Organic Whey Protein - Dark Chocolate - Oct. 6, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Tera's Whey
Grass Fed Organic Whey Protein - Dark Chocolate 
Good
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) in total package
Calories: 110 calories in 1 package
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: Rainbow Grocery, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Grass-Fed Milk Theme Week.

Today's Tera's Whey Grass Fed Organic Whey Protein was from Wisconsin Specialty Protein (Reedsburg, WI).

The 20 grams of protein in this single-serving packet was supplied by, presumably, dairy cows in Wisconsin. 

The cocoa powder had been de-acidified (processed with alkali), so the flavor was relatively mild. The sweetness level was about right. There was no sugar, just stevia leaf extract, which tasted fairly natural.

Ingredients: Organic dairy whey protein concentrate, organic cocoa (processed with alkali), organic stevia leaf extract, sunflower lecithin.

Alter Eco Foods - Organic Chocolate Grass Fed Milk with rice crunch - 46% cacao (bar) - Oct. 5, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Alter Eco Foods
Organic Chocolate Grass Fed Milk with rice crunch 46% cacao (bar)
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.325 oz. (37.5 g.) / 2.65 oz. (75 g.) in total bar
Calories: 205 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: Rainbow Grocery, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Grass-Fed Milk Theme Week.

Today's Organic Chocolate Grass Fed Milk with rice crunch 46% cacao (bar) was made in Switzerland and distributed by Alter Eco Foods (San Francisco, CA). This bar was third in a series of three organic, grass fed milk chocolate bars from the company.

As was the case for the first two grass fed milk bars, the milk was supplied by cows grazing in Swiss Alpine pastures; and the cacao was from farmers in Peru. 

Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the long history of Swiss milk chocolate. There was something akin to the space race in the 1800s to arrive at the formula for a shelf-stable, milk chocolate bar. The Swiss, French and British were all in hot pursuit of the process that would allow for successful melding of these two edibles--that was first achieved in beverage form (perhaps by a Brit in Jamaica as early as the 1600s). 

But to create a more durable milk chocolate bar took a bit more tinkering. Although others were involved, Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter receives a large measure of the credit for solving this problem in 1875-6, using powdered milk developed by Henri Nestle--whose creamery was near Peter's factory.

Today's generous helping of embedded crisped rice in the Alter Eco 46% milk bar balanced the relatively bold chocolate aroma and flavor (similar to yesterday's Alter Eco grass fed milk chocolate bar with salted almonds). Although yesterday's salt and almond inclusions helped balance the milk and cacao and sugar. Today's crisp rice acted as a very pleasing crunchy counterpart to the smooth Swiss milk chocolate, but did not tap the brakes on the sugar as successfully as the salted almonds did.

Ingredients: Organic raw cane sugar, organic cacao beans, organic cocoa butter, rice crisp (organic rice, organic raw cane sugar) organic whole milk, organic butterfat.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Alter Eco Foods - Organic Chocolate Grass Fed Milk with salted almonds (bar) - Oct. 4, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Alter Eco Foods
Organic Chocolate Grass Fed Milk with salted almonds (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 2.65 oz. (75 g.) in total bar
Calories: 440 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: Rainbow Grocery, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Grass-Fed Milk Theme Week.

Today's Organic Chocolate Grass Fed Milk with salted almonds (bar) was made in Switzerland and distributed by Alter Eco Foods (San Francisco, CA).

The bar was part of a series of organic, grass fed milk chocolate bars from the company, with the milk coming from Alpine pastured cows in Switzerland, and the cacao from farmers in Peru.

All three grass fed bars featured this week had a similar slightly earthy, gamey, balanced bitter aroma. The milk tempered sharp edges, but today's salted almonds, a single flavor inclusion, magically balanced everything. (Today's salted almond version was my favorite of the three bars in the series that I sampled.)

The salt, nut and malt flavor nuts almonds created a great balance, creating hearty, milk chocolate flavors, even for a 46% cacao (dark) milk bar.

Ingredients: Organic raw cane sugar, organic

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Alter Eco Foods - Organic Chocolate Grass Fed Milk 46% Cocoa (bar) - Oct. 3, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Alter Eco Foods
Organic Chocolate Grass Fed Milk 46% Cocoa (bar)  
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.325 oz. (37.5 g.) / 2.65 oz. (75 g.) in total bar
Calories: 215 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $4.00 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Rainbow Grocery, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and Grass-Fed Milk Theme Week.

Today's Organic Chocolate Grass Fed Milk 46% Cocoa (bar) was made in Switzerland and distributed by Alter Eco Foods (San Francisco, CA). 

Full fat milk powder melds with cacao in a satisfying way. Milk softens cacao flavors and often the reverse is true as well (if there are flavors still left in the milk after processing).

This Alter Eco dark milk bar (made with Peruvian cacao) had a smooth texture and melt, and was unapologetically bold (Forastero-like) from the start, with only the sharpest edges burnished down. The aroma of this rich, robust milk chocolate bar had a faint gamey and rich, earthy bitter-bold aroma and flavor. 

The chocolate did have a darker/bolder flavor than one would expect for a 46% cacao milk chocolate and/or Peruvian cacao origin bars we've tasted in recent years. 

The rich, deep flavor notes initially held the bright, sugar taste in check, and were eventually overtaken by the raw cane sugar, and a sweet finish. 

It would be interesting to try versions of this chocolate with different types of milk powder to more accurately determine the milk's flavor contribution. Extra points for going with organic grass fed milk, and for providing an interesting tasting experience.

Ingredients: *Organic raw cane sugar, organic cacao beans, organic cocoa butter, organic whole milk, organic butterfat.


Friday, October 2, 2020

Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate - Hazelnut Milk Chocolate 55% (bar) - Oct. 2, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate
Hazelnut Milk Chocolate 55% with Alexandre Family Farm A2/A2 Milk
Good ++
Weight: 2 oz. (57 g.) in total bar
Calories: 300 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $9.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #12 of Chocolate, Nuts and Something More Theme Week.

Today's Hazelnut Milk Chocolate 55% cacao (bar) with A2/A2 milk from Alexandre Family Farm (Crescent City, CA) was handcrafted from bean to bar by Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate (Eureka, CA). 

Lightly roasted Oregon hazelnut bits flavored this 55% milk chocolate. The cacao used to make the base chocolate was from Brazil. Any subtleties in the cacao flavor were muted by the rich milk, the overall blend was a very harmonious one. A slight touch of vanilla added subtle warmth to the bar.

The milk really did play a starring role. A2/A2 milk comes from cows that carry A2 casein protein (rather than the more prevalent A1 casein protein milk found on most supermarket shelves). A2 milk is thought to be easier to digest and is more similar to goat's milk.

This nutty, milk chocolate bar had a soft creaminess to it. Taking a bite was like relaxing into a favorite plush sofa. It was sweet, to be sure, but the peppering of small hazelnut bits helped balance out the sweetness and added some contrasting texture.

Ingredients: Cacao, cane sugar, A2/A2 whole milk powder, cocoa butter, vanilla bean, hazelnuts.

Cacao Crudo - Nocciolato Hazelnut Crunch (Nougat aux Noisettes) (bar) - Oct. 1, 2020 (part 2/2)

Chocolate of the Day

Cacao Crudo S.r.l.
Nocciolato Hazelnut Crunch (Nougat aux Noisettes) (bar)
Good ++ - Good +++
Weight: 1.76 oz. (50 g.) / 7.065 oz. (200 g.) in total bar
Calories: 328.5 calories in 1.76 oz. (50 g.) of bar
Cost: $ N/A - sample 
Purchased from: N/A - sample from Cacao Crudo

Welcome to Day #11 of Chocolate, Nuts and More Theme Week.

Today's Nocciolato Hazelnut Crunch (Nougat aux Noisettes) (bar) was from Cacao Crudo S.r.l. (Rome, Italy).

The company produces a variety of chocolate bars. Their body of work demonstrates how far we've come in the last 20 years with unroasted cacao and raw chocolate products. The company focus is on blending high quality ingredients, such as unroasted, high-quality (Criollo) cacao with a smooth, wonderful chocolate flavor, with some wonderful, authentic-tasting flavor inclusions.

Arguably, the best hazelnuts in Europe, come from northern and central Italy. And this large, slice-able bar was packed with 71% "Tonda Gentile Romana"* hazelnuts, known for their rich, nutty and slightly sweet flavor. 

So, while the high nut content made it more difficult to pick out cacao flavor nuances, one could really enjoy both crunchy nut pieces and smooth chocolate-hazelnut base--in part because (like other Cacao Crudo bars) this one was sweetened with the perfect amount of coconut flower sap--adding a satisfying, but not overwhelming sugar buzz.

Each piece of this very creamy, soft, satisfying slab of chocolate with crunchy embedded hazelnut pieces was extra-rich and delicious, but also a bit lighter in texture than expected. (Tip: If enjoyed during the warmer months, I would chill this bar slightly before serving, to make it slightly firmer for slicing.)

*"Tonda Gentile Romano" is a hazelnut cultivar grown in the Viterbo Province of Central Italy. Here, near the mountains and blessed with rich, volcanic soil, some delicious nuts in grow in a goldilocks zone (not too cold, not too hot) for hazelnuts. 

**Today's Cacao Crudo Nougat aux Noissettes (organic, unroasted, vegan, gluten free) bar reminded me of the much sought after Francois Pralus (France) Barre Infernale (nut nougat/praline) chocolate bars, introduced in the U.S. around 2005. Both of these large nougat bars can be carved into individual servings, and are great for sharing with friends and family or bringing to a party.

Ingredients: "(not roasted) "Tonda Gentile Romana" organic hazelnut paste (43%), (not roasted "Tonda Gentile Romana" organic chopped hazelnuts (28%), not roasted, organic cacao Criollo beans paste, organic concentrated coconut flower sap, organic cacao Criollo butter from not roasted beans."


Cacao Crudo - Gianduja (Nocciole non tostate) Dark Chocolate (bar) - Oct. 1, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Cacao Crudo 
Gianduja Nocciole non tostate) Cioccolato Fondente Bio 
Gianduja (unroasted hazelnuts) Organic Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good ++
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) / 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar|
Calories: 153.5 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: N/A - sample from Cacao Crudo
Purchased from: N/A - sample from Cacao Crudo

Welcome to Day #11 of Chocolate, Nuts and More Theme Week.

Today's Gianduja Nocciole non tostate (unroasted hazelnuts) Cioccolato Fondente Bio (Organic Dark Chocolate) (bar) from Cacao Crudo (Roma, Italy) had a clean, green aroma with a date/raisin-like sweetness and very faint tangy, sweet green banana (fruit) cacao notes. 

This organic, dark chocolate was delightfully creamy--and fairly pliable, so do store in a cool place, out of direct sun. It had a thick, very smooth chocolate hazelnut spread-like consistency, only much better (in my opinion). It wasn't overwhelmed by sugar(s), and contained no oils or other additives you might find in a jar of most chocolate and nut spreads.

The unroasted, ground hazelnut paste contributed a very mild nutty flavor (as did the 50% unroasted cacao from Peru). The fully integrated nut + cacao flavor blend was subtle and pleasing. 

Cacao Crudo has continued to prove that unroasted cacao can be rich, enjoyable and interesting. And with the right cacao, raw chocolate can achieve a subtle complexity just as wonderful as bolder roasted varieties. 

Based on tasting their chocolate, the makers have a deep understanding of flavor preservation. If you choose a beautiful heritage (Criollo) cacao, brimming with gentle fruit and cream flavors, the last thing you'd want to do would be to over-roast or over-process this cacao, as you'd lose these prized, subtle flavor notes. 

The "more" today is a bonus entry that will follow this one...another great chocolate and hazelnut bar from this same chocolate maker.

Ingredients: "Organic, not roasted cacao Criollo beans paste (50%), not roasted Tonda Gentile Romana hazelnut(s) paste (30%), organic, concentrated coconut flower sap."



 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Nature To Go - Cocoa Dusted Almonds - Sept. 30, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Manufactured for Food Castle Inc. 
Nature To Go 
Cocoa Dusted Almonds
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) / 16 oz. (453 g.) in total container
Calories: 200 calories in 1 serving 
Cost: $9.99 for 1 container
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #10 of Chocolate, Nuts and More Theme Week.

Today's Nature To Go Cocoa Dusted Almonds were manufactured for Food Castle Inc. (Vernon, CA), in the U.S.

Food Castle is a food wholesaler that produces fruit and nut snacks in Southern California. (Vernon, located near Los Angeles, is known for its industrial, food processing operations.) And California farmers produce a lot of fruits and nuts, including almonds that are processed into snack foods, with and without chocolate.

These almonds did have the same tasty attributes that many chocolate coated nuts offer: smooth, rich chocolate flavor combined with crunchy, satisfying nutty texture and flavor. Cocoa powder was mentioned three times in the ingredients list.*

The Cocoa Dusted Almonds had two coatings: an undercoat of dark chocolate, and an overcoat of "dark coating" that included the dusted cocoa. Since the chocolate portion was manufactured using primarily alkalized cocoa(s), much of the acidity and natural cocoa flavors were muted. (Some prefer their cocoa to be well-behaved with a bit of vanilla, and today's tamer cocoa coatings may showcase nut flavors as well.)

The "other" aspect to this chocolate and nuts treat today lay in the ingredients. Palm kernel oil was the number one ingredient listed in the outer cocoa dusting (dark coating).  The oil helped the cocoa powder adhere to the nuts; however, anytime I see added vegetable oils, natural flavors, and/or lecithin, I try to list ingredients (below) for people who may have dietary concerns.

*Ingredients: Dark Coating (palm kernel oil, sugar, inulin, cocoa (processed with alkali), emulsifier (soy lecithin), natural vanilla flavor), almonds (almonds), dark chocolate coating ( sugar, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, butter fat, cocoa powder (processed with alkali), soy lecithin (added as an emulsifier, salt and natural flavor), cocoa powder (processed with alkali)

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Yomms - Pecans, Roasted & thinly covered in dark chocolate & sea salt - Sept. 29, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Manufactured for Sunuts LLC
Yomms - Pecans, Roasted and thinly covered in dark chocolate and sea salt
Good - Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) / 4 oz. (113 g.) in total package
Calories: 180 calories in 1 serving
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: Piazza's Fine Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #9 of Chocolate, Nuts and More Theme Week.

Today's Yomms Pecans, roasted and thinly covered in dark chocolate and sea salt were manufactured for Sunuts LLC (Addison, TX) in Mexico.

The thin coating of chocolate around these pecan halves enabled the flavors of the nuts to shine through and added a dark, sweet richness. The pecans lent a lightly roasted, nutty flavor and had a faint brown sugar/caramelized nut note with a hint of mild tannic nut astringency.

A touch of sea salt helped balance the sweetness and complemented both chocolate and nut flavors. 

Ingredients: Pecans, chocolate (cocoa, sugar, cocoa butter), sea salt and contains less than 1% of the following: soy lecithin, vanilla extract.

Monday, September 28, 2020

A.L. Schutzman - GK Select Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds - Sept. 28, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

A.L. Shutzman Company
GK Select Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.448 oz. (41 g.) / 11.5 oz. (326 g.) in total container
Calories: 220 calories in 1 serving (11 pieces)
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate, Nuts and More Theme Week.

Today's GK Select Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds were from A.L. Schutzman Company (Waukesha, WI).

Whole, roasted almonds were cocooned within a thick, semi-sweet coating of 60% cocoa smooth dark chocolate. These glossy pieces (confectioner's glaze) gave off a pleasing cocoa aroma and had a satisfying melt and texture. Despite the thick chocolate coating, the crunchy texture and nutty flavor of the almonds were still accessible.

Dark chocolate and roasted almonds are almost always a great match, with or without popular additions like sea salt and vanilla. There is rarely a need to embellish this pairing, although many do. Today's chocolate almonds did contain a subtle hint of vanilla, but no salt. 

At 0 mg of sodium (unusual for any snack food), this treat might even be a fit for a low salt regimen. Dark chocolate contains several minerals, including iron, magnesium, copper and manganese, but is naturally low in sodium.

The something "more" today was that I used this (and another) dark chocolate to temporarily improve my lung function* for a few hours, a subtle thing to be sure. But, this week we're experiencing hot weather, high pollen counts and unhealthful air (smoke from wildfires) in northern California, and that was reason enough.

Ingredients: Dark chocolate (chocolate liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin (an emulsifier, vanilla, milk), almonds, corn oil, confectioner's glaze (Lac-Resin), gum arabic, corn syrup.

*Coffee and dark chocolate (and the caffeine and theobromine they contain) cause bronchial passages to dilate (open up), improving lung function for a few (up to four) hours.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Cacao Crudo - Raw Organic Chocolate Unroasted Criollo Cacao, Hazelnuts 65% (bar) - Sept. 27, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Cacao Crudo 
Raw Organic Chocolate Unroasted Criollo Cacao, Granella Nocciole (Hazelnuts) 65% (bar)
Good ++ - Good +++
Weight: 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 280 calories (estimated) in 1 bar
Cost: $6.49 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Rainbow Grocery, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate, Nuts and Something More Theme Week.

Today's Raw Organic 65% Cacao Granella Nocciole (Hazelnut) bar from Cacao Crudo (Italy) was made from fine, non tostado (unroasted) criollo cacao from the Peruvian* Amazon and Italian hazelnuts.

My first impression: unroasted, delicate Criollo cacao with clean, green aroma and flavor, and low bitterness and acidity and a very slight, dry (green tea) astringency. Cacao Crudo bars offer a different way to enjoy chocolate, in the same way that a fine oolong tea is different than a fine black tea. I felt transported to eating chocolate by a pool, surrounded by green bamboo forest.

The texture was chocolatey with slight courseness due to a generous helping of chopped Italian hazelnuts (Tonda Gentile Romana, an Italian hazelnut cultivar, with trees usually found in Central Italy).

I could taste the slightly fibrous, flavorful essence of each unroasted hazelnut, because the entire bar was unencumbered by extra roasting and sugar. Much as I love the smell and flavor of toasted nuts and cacao, conventional chocolate bars often suffer from over-roasted ingredients (with an accompanying loss in subtle flavors and natural textures) and are drowning in sweetness. (This chocolate was sweetened with touch of coconut flower sap.)

The finish had light, lingering green and very faint, clean floral notes and a subtle (tea/tannic) astringency.

Today's chocolate was a welcome change of pace, offering a high-quality, raw chocolate tasting experience. I've described this 65% cacao chocolate bar as "light," but it also felt very satisfying--possibly because unroasted elements retain a higher percentage of their antioxidants or because the coconut sugar (lower on the glycemic index than processed cane sugar) did not spike my blood sugar. 

If you prefer a strong espresso and like to get a buzz from plant alkaloids like caffeine and theobromine, go for a conventional 70% cacao (roasted) bar with plenty of sugar. If you feel like a high-quality alternative, try Cacao Crudo's line of bars.

Ingredients: Organic unroasted Criollo cacao (beans) paste, organic "Tondo Gentile Romana" chopped hazelnuts (18%) criollo cacao, and organic concentrated coconut flower sap.

*Cacao Crudo is a project by Daniele Dell'Orco, a food "anthropologist and researcher" in Italy who wanted to improve on other raw/unroasted cacao offerings. In so doing, he created one of the first raw cacao manufacturing companies in Italy. The cacao used to craft this bar (and others) comes from the Junin Region (mountainous Central Highlands, westernmost area of the Peruvian Amazon), in Satipo Province, in Peru. This cacao is cultivated at high altitudes (600-1,200 meters) by small producers (native Ashanika people). The coconut palm sugar came from a co-op of Indonesian women. The hazelnuts came from the Latium plain area (of west-central Italy). 




Saturday, September 26, 2020

Endangered Species Chocolate - Oat Milk Sea Salt and Almond + Dark Chocolate 55% (bar) - Sept. 26, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Endangered Species Chocolate, LLC
Oat Milk Sea Salt and Almond + Dark Chocolate 55% Cocoa (bar)
Good +
Weight: 3 oz. (85 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 480 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $3.99 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate, Nuts and More Theme Week.

Today's Oat Milk Sea Salt & Almonds + Dark Chocolate 55% Cocoa (bar) was from Endangered Species Chocolate, LLC (Indianapolis, IN).

This bar captured the essence of dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt, a winning combination. And oats and oat milk added the something "more" in this bar yielding an oat-y goodness in the aroma and flavor.

This bar reflected the trend of using alternatives to traditional cow's milk. In the past decade, I have sampled chocolate blended with plant "milks" such as rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk and hazelnut milk--as well as goat milk, donkey milk, water buffalo and camel milk. (Next week I'll feature some variations on traditional dairy cow's milk chocolate, such as A2 milk.)

The dark chocolate was hearty, but smooth and satisfying and it was textured with oat and nut pieces. Just the right amount of sea salt helped temper the sweetness, making this bar taste more like a 65% cocoa bar rather than the 55% cocoa chocolate that it was. A win in my book. And the faint hint of vanilla added a baked cookie floral warmth.

Ingredients: Chocolate (chocolate liquor, cane sugar, cocoa butter), whole grain oats, soy lecithin, vanilla, almonds, pink Himalayan sea salt.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Seattle Chocolate Company - Tukwila Hazelnut Chocolate Truffle Bar - Sept. 25, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Seattle Chocolate Company LLC
Tukwila Hazelnut Milk Chocolate Truffle Bar with hazelnut butter, rice crisps 
Good +
Weight: 1.25 oz. (35 g.) / 2.5 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 190 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $1.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate, Nuts and More Theme Week.

Today's Tukwila Hazelnut Chocolate Truffle Bar was from Seattle Chocolate Company LLC (Seattle, WA)--a woman-owned and run chocolatier with roots in the Pacific Northwest that manufactures and markets a variety of chocolate products (truffles, chocolate dessert shells, truffle bars, etc.). 

The company has a presence in Tukwila, south of downtown Seattle. The word Tukwila comes from a native tribe's word for nut or hazelnut, and refers to hazelnut trees that have grown in the region historically.

This aroma of this milk chocolate bar evoked visions of chocolate hazelnut spreads (like Nutella). 

The texture was a blend of creamy milk and hazelnut chocolate and crunchy, crispy rice bits, and the flavors reflected a sweet blend of these same ingredients with a light touch of vanilla.

Ingredients: Milk chocolate (cane sugar, milk, cocoa powder, chocolate liquor, soya lecithin, natural vanilla, hazelnut butter (hazelnuts), organic crisp rice (brown rice flour, cane sugar, sea salt, molasses), sea salt. 


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Charles Chocolates - Ode to Joy (bar) - Sept. 24, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Charles Chocolates 
Ode to Joy (bar)
Good +
Weight: 1.3 oz. (36 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $4.00 (estimate) in 1 bar
Purchased from: SweetE Organic, Mill Valley, CA

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate, Nuts and More Theme Week.

Today's Ode to Joy (bar) from Charles Chocolates (San Francisco, CA) was a high-end homage to American chocolate-covered candy bars with nuts (almonds) and caramel.

The core of this small, chubby bar was milk chocolate ganache, "deep" roasted almonds, and soft fleur de sel (salt) caramel that was coated in 65% bittersweet chocolate. It was small, sweet and successful as a high-end candy bar.

Ingredients: Bittersweet chocolate (cacao beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, sunflower lecithin, vanilla beans), almonds, cane sugar, butter, milk chocolate (cane sugar, cocoa butter, full cream milk, cacao beans, sunflower lecithin, vanilla beans), cream, glucose syrup, salt, vanilla beans.


Re-Think Ice Cream - Chocolate Orange with Almond Butter - Sept. 23, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Re-Think Ice Cream
Chocolate Orange with Almond Butter Ice Cream
Good +
Weight: 1/2 cup (92 g.) / 14 fl. oz. (414 mL) in total container
Calories: 190 calories in 1 serving (1/2 cup)
Cost: $1.99 for 1 container
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate, Nuts and More Theme Week.

Today's Chocolate Orange with Almond Butter ice cream was from Re-think Ice Cream  (San Francisco, CA).

The company described this ice cream as "the first and only collagen-infused, lactose free, A2/A2* dairy ice cream"..."Indulgence with benefits." Today's flavor included 9 grams of protein, 9 grams of sugar and 11 grams net carbs in one (1/2 cup) serving.

Aroma tends to be muted with frozen items like ice cream. There was a nutty, and faint chocolate, aroma. 

The base chocolate-orange ice cream had a very light chocolate flavor with very low chocolate/cocoa acidity. (The company may use Ghirardelli Majestic Cocoa which is apparently not dutched or alkalized, but it has an unusual, slightly alkaline pH. (It wasn't acidic like most natural cocoa tends to be.) Bakers and ice cream makers may milder flavor if they're highlighting other flavors. The natural orange flavor paired nicely with the chocolate and was allowed to shine.

Two additional flavors were added: chocolate flakes, and ribbons of almond butter. 

The initial frozen texture was hard, but it quickly softened, creating a pleasing smooth and creamy texture with a relatively rapid melt. Finely ground almonds (almond butter) added nutty texture and authentic nutty almond flavor.

This was a nicely balanced flavor combination of chocolate, nuts and something more. The orange added flavorful, sweet citrus to the mix. This ice cream also contained fiber (organic inulin) and whey protein. The latter helped to boost the protein content.

Ingredients: Milk, cream, whey protein concentrate, organic agave syrup, almond butter (almonds, canola oil and invert sugar), chocolate flavored flake (sugar, coconut oil, cocoa processed with alkali, butter oil, soy lecithin (emulsifier), natural flavor), cocoa processed with alkali, almonds, organic inulin (agave fiber), natural flavor, green tea extract, locust bean gum, guar gum, citric acid.  

 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Fazer Confectionery Ltd. - Nordi Dark Chocolate Lingonberry, Oat Crumble Almond Sea Salt Snacking Thins - Sept. 22, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Fazer Confectionery Ltd.
Nordi Dark Chocolate Lingonberry, Oat Crumble Almond and Sea Salt Snacking Thins
Good +
Weight: 2.12 oz. (60 g.) / 4.02 oz. (114 g.) in total package
Calories: 320 calories in 2 servings
Cost: $1.99 (estimate) in 1 package
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate, Nuts and More Theme Week.

Today's Nordi Dark Chocolate Lingonberry, Oat Crumble Almond and Sea Salt Snacking Thins were from Fazer Confectionery Ltd. (Vantaa, Finland).

These dark chocolate, roundish snack thins were the wonderfully slim, making them very easy to consume. Smooth dark chocolate encased crunchy bits (almonds, oat crumble) and tart-sweet, ruby-colored bits of lingonberry.* 

The classic snack attractiveness formula calls for just the right blend of salt and sugar smoothness and crunchiness, and a bit of fat. And, these dark chocolate thins with nuts and other inclusions* from this large confectionery company--that produces baked goods, cookies and snacks in Finland--hits the addictive snack formula on the nose, and it manages to do so without artificial or extra additives, preservatives or colors.

*Lingonberries added something special, perhaps exotic, for U.S. snack fans who may not be familiar with this berry that grows wild in the Northern Hemisphere. It is probably the most popular wild berry in Finland where today's snack originated. (The average Finn harvests several pounds of wild berries each year, perhaps as much as 22 pounds (10 kg.) per year by one estimate.) Lingonberries are likely being picked in northern Boreal forests right now (fall) as I write this.

The round, red lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) looks and tastes like a smaller version of the American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) with occasional notes of red currant and raspberry.

Ingredients: Dark chocolate (unsweetened chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, reduced fat cocoa powder, natural vanilla flavor), oat crisp (oat flour, rice seminola, sugar, apple fiber, corn flour, salt), roasted almonds, dried lingonberry, sea salt.


Monday, September 21, 2020

Fossa Chocolate - Macadamia and Shitake (bar) - Sept. 21, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Fossa Chocolate
Macadamia and Shitake (bar)
Good ++ - Good +++
Weight: 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 294 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $15.00 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #10 of Chocolate Surprise Theme Week, and Day #1 of Chocolate, Nuts and More Theme Week.

Today's Macadamia and Shitake (bar) was from Fossa Chocolate (Singapore) and was made using Bolivia Wild Beniano cacao. 

I loved the aroma of this intriguing chocolate, handmade in small batches, with its mix of floral, nutty, umame (baked mushroom) and roasted coffee notes. 

The chocolate had a smooth, relatively creamy texture, accompanied by a circus of tiny, crunchy caramelized nut bits. Macadamia nuts are quite mild and it was difficult to tell what type of nut was there, but they were present. The chocolate notes were complementary and pleasant, but muted somewhat by all the other fun going on.

This was a great, well-balanced implementation of a unique blend of flavors. Extra points for making this sweet and umami melange shine.

Ingredients: Cacao, cane sugar, macadamia, cocoa butter, shitake mushrooms, sea salt.

St. Benoit Creamery - TCHO Chocolate Pot de Creme organic dessert - Sept. 20, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

St. Benoit Creamery 
Organic Desserts Pot de Creme - TCHO Chocolate
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in 1 small jar
Calories: 200 calories in 1 small jar
Cost: $3.99 for 1 small jar
Purchased from: Farm Fresh (CSA box item)

Welcome to Day #9 of Chocolate Surprise Theme Week.

Today's TCHO Chocolate organic pot de creme dessert was from St. Benoit Creamery (Sonoma, CA).

This little glass jar was full of smooth and creamy chocolate goodness. Its rich
chocolate aroma and flavor was the product of plenty of chocolate, cocoa powder and cocoa butter. The cocoa powder also contributed an authentic, medium cacao acidity that nicely accented the more bland but altogether yummy milk and cream.

Ingredients: Organic whole milk, organic cream, organic egg yolk, organic 66% chocolate (organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, soy lecithin, organic vanilla beans), organic cacao beans, organic cocoa powder, organic cane sugar, pectin, sea salt, organic vanilla extract.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Cookie Department - Mint Condition Double Chocolate Chip + Mint - Sept. 19, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

The Cookie Department
Mint Condition Double Chocolate Chip + Mint
Good 
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (57 g.) in total package/cookie
Calories: 210 calories in 1 package/cookie
Cost: $3.49 for 1 package/cookie
Purchased from: missing information 

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate Surprise Theme Week.

The surprise in this case was finding this in my chocolate vault.

Today's soft chocolate chocolate chip cookie was from The Cookie Department (Portland, OR) and had an aroma with chocolate cake, light sweet (sugar alcohol) and menthol notes. 

An almond flour base created a slightly stiffer version of what looked and tasted like chocolate cake. Cocoa powder and chocolate chips as well as a hint of grass-fed butter and egg contributed a nice rich chocolate flavor and binding/cohesive texture.

The faint menthol or mint note (achieved via "natural flavoring") in combination with the sweeteners had a strange alcohol sweetness and coolness to it; but it was not too overwhelming. 

Rather than sugar, this keto-friendly and gluten free cookie was sweetened with monk fruit sweetener (erythritol and monk fruit extract) and stevia. (My only quibble: I'm open to, and grateful for, processed sugar (and gluten free) alternatives; however, I might have dialed the alternative sweeteners back a bit. The cookie was almost too "sweet." 

Total Carbohydrates: 21 grams (dietary fiber 6 grams, total sugars 1 gram and sugar alcohol 11 grams), with 4 net carbs. The cookie contained 5 grams of protein and 18 grams of total fats. 

Ingredients: "Almond Flour, Monk Fruit Sweetener (Erythritol, Monk Fruit Extract), Grass-Fed Salted Butter, Whole Eggs, Prebiotic Fiber (Tapioca Syrup), Dark Chocolate Chips (Unsweetened Chocolate, Erythritol, Cocoa Butter, Stevia Extract, Sunflower Lecithin), Cocoa Powder (Processed with Alkali), Contains Less Than 2% of Rosemary Extract, Baking Soda, Xanthan Gum, Natural Flavoring, Salt."

Fossa Chocolate - 70% Dark Shrimp and Bonito (bar) - Sept. 18, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Fossa Chocolate
70% Dark Shrimp and Bonito (bar)
Good 
Weight: .44 oz. (12.5 g.) / 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 66 calories (estimate) in 1/4 bar 
Cost: $15.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate Surprise Theme Week.

Today's 70% Dark Shrimp and Bonito and (bar) was from Fossa Chocolate (Singapore).

Billed as offering an "umami of the sea" experience, this bar delivered. When you opened this bar, you could see authentic marine life--tiny little dried shrimps nestled amongst the sesame seeds. 

But, the sight of these tiny crustaceans were not the surprise. (I have enjoyed chocolates with smoked salmon as well as dried anchovies and many other umami (savory) flavor inclusions before.) Nor was it the slightly fishy aroma that emanated from the bar--that became much fainter after taking a bite of the chocolate.

Surprise! This bar contained 6 of the 8 major food allergens,* including gluten (wheat flour), although it was not present in visible amount(s). I've been dodging wheat/gluten all my adult life. I like it; it doesn't like me. So, I limited my tasting to a smaller piece of this 70% dark bar, and shared it with others.

The dark chocolate was bold enough that it covered up what might have been a "fishy" flavor. The dried shrimps and bonito fish flecks contributed a bit of chewy texture and a hint of saltiness and no scary fishiness. If blindfolded, it's unlikely I would have been able to identify the specific type of seafood (shrimp, bonito) flavor inclusions.

The bar was not too sweet or too salty (thank you). It was a skillful, balanced, implementation of these unusual flavors. Definitely worth trying if you can get over the fear factor. (Tiny dried shrimps are almost adorable when you become accustomed to them.)

*Ingredients: cacao, cane sugar, dried shrimp, seaweed, sesame, soy sauce, lactose, salt, egg, spices, yeast extract, wheat flour.

*Note: "Contains seafood, sesame, egg, dairy, gluten and soy."

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Wine Rayzyn Co. - Dark Chocolate Covered CabernayZyn - Sept. 17, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

The Wine Rayzyn Company, LLC
Dark Chocolate Covered CabernayZyn  
Good +
Weight: .5 oz. (14 g.) in one package
Calories: 60 calories in 1 package
Cost: $missing information 
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate Surprise Theme Week.

Today's Dark Chocolate Covered CabernayZyn were made by The Wine Rayzyn Company, LLC (Napa, CA). Located in the heart of wine country in Northern California, the company specializes in food items made with wine grapes (rather than conventional eating grapes you'd see at a market).

Surprise! Wine grapes are great for high-end raisins (and grape juice) too. Normally these grapes are likely pricey enough that it's more profitable to use these for wine, but finding these grapes in their less processed, non-alcoholic phase is wonderful, rare treat.

The Wine Rayzyn Co. points out that the combination of today's dark chocolate and crunchy wine grapes offers a "double dose of antioxidants." It's true, both dark chocolate and grapes are relatively high in antioxidants--polyphenols, specifically, that are found in fruits, vegetables, dark chocolate and red wine.

Today's crunchy (due to thick skins, small seeds, and perhaps a few stems*), dried Cabernet wine grapes were covered in a light layer of dark chocolate. 

These "CabernayZyns" were slightly lighter (in weight and flavor) than expected and slightly more rounded in shape than traditional raisins. 

And, even though the smooth, almost creamy* dark chocolate covering was nice and light, it was hard to taste nuances of grape flavor(s) associated with the grape used to make a bold, red Cabernet wine. (But, then again, the sugars in these raisins hadn't been converted to alcohol and aged either.)

Overall, this was a tasty, fun new snack to try, and these were not too sweet (thank you!).

*Ingredients: Dried Cabernet grapes with seeds and stems, dark chocolate (chocolate mass,  sugar, cocoa butter, soya lecithin, milk fat (butter), pure vanilla). 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Siamaya Chocolate - Durian Milk Chocolate (bar) - Sept. 16, 2020

Chocolate of the Day 

Siamaya Chocolate
Durian Milk Chocolate (bar)
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 2.65 oz. (75 g.) in total bar
Calories: 360 calories in 1 bar 
Cost: $9.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate Surprise Theme Week.

Today's Durian Milk Chocolate (bar) was crafted by Siamaya Chocolate / Siamaya Craft Co., Ltd. (Chang Mai, Thailand).

The chocolate bar, made in Thailand, was redolent with authentic durian fruit,* and had a fainter chocolate, aroma. This milk chocolate was sweet, but not enough to overwhelm the unique fruit flavor. Although it was sweet enough to make it hard to detect cacao nuances. 

*Properly ripe durian fruit is very tasty, sweet, fruity and slightly pungent. It's also difficult to describe. It's a combination of smooth, creamy white mango, a custardy melon with a hint of musk or something similar. When overripe or not properly ripened, the adjectives spew from people's mouths with some disgust--and none of their word choices are good. (Excrement, garbage, sweat, you name it, it's on the why-I-don't-like-durian-fruit list. This poor, maligned fruit is even on the "no fly" list (not allowed on certain forms of public transportation) due to its potential odor. Thankfully, today's Siamaya Chocolate bar seemed to have captured this unique, and occasionally controversial, fruit in perfect form, perhaps the chocolate even captured or stabilized the best of the flavor. 

Ingredients: cacao nibs (38.8%), organic cane sugar (33.95%), powdered milk (14.55%), cacao butter (9.7%), durian fruit (2.7%), organic sunflower lecithin (0.3%).

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Siamaya Chocolate - Thai Peanut Curry (bar) - Sept. 15, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Siamaya Chocolate
Thai Peanut Curry (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 2.65 oz. (75 g.) in total bar
Calories: 334 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $9.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate Surprise Theme Week.

Today's Thai Peanut Curry (bar) was from Siamaya Chocolate / Siamaya Craft Co., Ltd. (Chang Mai, Thailand).

Siamaya makes bean-to-bar chocolate. They blend locally grown, pesticide free Thai cacao beans with locally inspired, and for us perhaps surprising and unique, Thai flavor inclusions. 

Today's gluten free and vegan Thai peanut curry bar was inspired by Thai massaman peanut curry. The maker(s) have layered sweet dark chocolate with chilies, cinnamon, lemon-grass and candied ginger.

This bar had an aroma with sweet and spicy peanuts fresh out of the roaster, and subtle chocolate notes.

After the first taste, the peanut bits were soon relegated to textural elements with faint nutty notes. Why? When I bit into the bar, pieces of candied ginger stole the show. And just when I thought the ginger might becoming too bossy, sassy upticks of chili sizzle and spice heat rose to the forefront. The finish was calmer, with hints of lemongrass and ginger. 

This hearty chocolate highlighted authentic Thai flavors, and offered an exciting, fun, full flavor ride. The chocolate was sweet, but not too sweet.

Peanut history

Peanuts are a culinary staple in many countries in Asia, and around the globe. This humble legume originated in South America (Peru, Brazil), and likely overlapped with the original cacao-growing regions. Indigenous people may have even ground nuts, cacao seeds (aka cacao beans), chilies and spices (allspice, vanilla) together for inclusion in beverages and foods (think early mole sauces).

Europeans (Spanish, Portuguese, English) brought peanuts back to Europe and elsewhere. The Portuguese likely brought peanuts to Africa from Brazil as early as the 1600s. Peanuts were also introduced to Asia. (The earliest written records of planting peanuts in Thailand date back to the mid-1800s.)

By the 1700s, Africans (slaves) had brought peanuts back to the Americas, specifically to North America; and peanuts were planted and cultivated, especially in the southern U.S. They were, at first, thought of as a food for the poor and for livestock.

Sometimes foods, things and people come full circle, or are discovered and popularized in another culture before they're appreciated in their home town or country.

Ingredients: cacao nibs (44%), organic cane sugar (24%), peanuts (17%), candied ginger (9%), cacao butter (4%), spices (1%), chilies (0.7%), sunflower lecithin (0.3%).

Monday, September 14, 2020

Atlantic Candy Company - Toy Box Chocolate + Surprise - Sept. 14, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Atlantic Candy Company 
Toy Box Chocolate + Surprise
Good 
Weight: .84 oz. (24 g.) in total chocolate item
Calories: 128 calories in 1 piece
Cost: $1.00 (estimate) for 1 chocolate toy item
Purchased from: Target, Mountain View, CA

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate Surprise Theme Week.

Today's Toy Box Chocolate + Surprise was manufactured by Atlantic Candy Company (Saint Augustine, FL).

This novelty item was part of a series containing re-imagined creatures and animals (with clothing, accessories) inside bi-colored plastic spheres, covered in milk chocolate. 

The hollow, outer chocolate-sphere was easy to open, without being too fragile. The texture was smooth and uniform. And, as expected, the chocolate was quite sweet, making it difficult to taste much beyond the sugar.

Thankfully, the only artificial ingredient was related to the vanillin (vanilla flavoring).* Everything else looked pretty wholesome. The bulk of this chocolate surprise item was the toy inside, so there wasn't much chance of someone overdosing on the sugar.

I must confess, it was fun getting a surprise toy inside this chocolate--even as an adult. It brought back fond novelty-chocolate-chomping childhood memories. (Heaven forbid that we chomp our chocolate now, said the adult who enjoyed the Tasmanian Devil cartoon character in their youth.) It's much more, elegant, slow-motion zen tasting at this stage of life. But, there's nothing like a good dose of humor and fun to lighten things up now and then.

*Ingredients: milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, unsweetened chocolate, soy lecithin (an emulsifier), vanillin (artificial flavor)

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Agapey - Ginger Rum - 70% Dark Chocolate with Ginger Rum caramel filling - Sept. 13, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Agapey Chocolate Factory (Barbados)
Ginger Rum 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate
Good ++
Weight: 1.235 oz. (35 g.) / 2.47 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 185 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $N/A - gift from a friend (thank you Toni!) 
Purchased from: Gift from a friend (who visited Bridgetown/Agapey)

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate Surprise Theme Week.

Today's Ginger Rum 70% Dark Chocolate filled with ginger rum caramel was from Agapey Chocolate Factory (Bridgetown, Barbados). It was a gift from a friend who traveled to several Caribbean islands and brought this back to the U.S.--a bit of a challenge, transporting chocolate in warm weather. (Thank you Toni!)

This is the first chocolate I've featured on Chocolate Banquet made in Barbados; and this filled bar (four chocolate cubes melded together) incorporated several ingredients grown/made locally, including the sugar and rum.

My tasting notes are below: 

Aroma: rich deep dark chocolate (cocoa, brownie) and buttery rum aroma notes
Melt/texture: smooth, substantial dark chocolate contrasted with soft, flavor infused caramel filling/center(s).
Flavor: Undulating bold, true dark chocolate (balanced earth, fudge brownie) mingled with sweet, velvety golden caramel infused with Mount Gay Rum (Barbados) and ginger spice-- both warming flavors. The ginger was very subtle, and not too strong.
Finish: light lingering rum and dark chocolate finish

I enjoyed the fact that the 70% cacao dark chocolate was bold and interesting and was not too sweet (thank you!). This dark chocolate was the perfect counterpoint to the softer, sweeter rum and ginger caramel, and helped balance the sweetness.

Ingredients: "all natural roasted cocoa beans, caramel (corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk (pasteurized milk, sugar), sugar, palm oil, water, butter (cream, salt), salt, vanilla extract, soy lecithin (an emulsifier)), cane sugar, ginger, rum, cocoa butter...May contain traces of peanuts/nuts."

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Fossa Chocolate - Duck Shit Dacong oolong tea bar - Sept. 12, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Fossa Chocolate
Duck Shit Dacong oolong tea bar
Good ++
Weight: 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 272 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $15.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA 

Welcome to Day #11 of Chocolate and Tea Theme Week, and Day #1 of Chocolate Surprise Theme Week. 

Today's Duck Shit Dacong oolong tea bar was a collaboration between Fossa Chocolate (Singapore) and tea lifestyle company, Pekoe and Imp (Singapore). 

Yes, you did read that correctly. Duck Shit tea. Surprise. 

But, sometimes you have to take a few risks in life, and get beyond first impressions. Was there really duck "content" in this bar? Was this a milk chocolate? (It was not identified as such, but it did contain milk powder). There was no mention of the cacao percentage...But, why quibble with all these questions, when it's more about the taste, right?

Behind the surprising name

What's the story behind the surprising "Duck Shit" name? The following is the explanation on the bar's packaging: "Ya Shi Xiang (Duck Shit) is an oolong tea cultivated in the Phoenix Mountains of Guangdong Province. The story goes that the farmer, in an attempt to hide the secret to his delicious tea, gave it an unpleasant name and it stuck."

How did it taste?

This chocolate tasting experience started with a fragrant, slightly floral, faintly fruity oolong tea with faint green (tea) note and subtle chocolate aroma.

The melt was smooth; tannic acid from the tea added a light astringency about mid-way and into the finish. 

It may have been my imagination (we have very bad air quality in California this week from fires which is affecting the senses), but I experienced a very fleeting, faint note of water (lake/lagoon) flavor (mineral + water plant/moss funk) at the tail end of the finish. It was not bad, just different. 

Regrettably, I was so focused on the interesting tea flavors that I missed any subtleties of the cacao. (The addition of milk powder may have also mellowed some tea and cacao flavors in this bar.) The tea was quite balanced, but dominated the nuance zone when it came to flavor notes. The two complemented each other and made for a rich and complex flavor ride--my favorite mode of culinary transportation.

Maker's notes: "...flavours of longan (aka dragon eye fruit, related to lychee and rambutan fruits) and malt along with floral and mineral finish enhanced by the Malaysia origin wine-barrel fermented cacao used in this chocolate."

Ingredients: Cacao, cane sugar, cocoa powder, milk powder, tea leaves

Friday, September 11, 2020

Obolo Chocolate SpA - Masala Chai Spicd 64% Dark Chocolate (bar) - Sept. 11, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Obolo Chocolate SpA
Masala Chai Spiced 64% Cacao Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.41 oz. (40 g.) / 2.82 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 180 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $12.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

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

Today's Masala Chai Spiced (tea) 64% Cacao Dark Chocolate (bar) was made by Chilean chocolate maker, Obolo Chocolate SpA (Santiago, Chile). 

This Certified B Corporation makes bean-to-bar chocolate in Santiago, a large city with a climate similar to Los Angeles, making it a bit easier to make chocolate (vs. in the more remote regions where cacao grows in the Amazon), while at the same time affording relationships with nearby cacao producers in South America. 

Masala Chai is a blend of spices and tea (and often milk). There was masala tea infused into this sweet chocolate--that was made with organic cacao from Pangoa, Peru--but no milk (powder). Similar to yesterday's Earl Grey bar from Obolo, the aroma was very subtle, but the flavors became stronger over the course of the tasting experience, ending with a clearer taste of the spices (and the chocolate) in the finish. 

The relatively high level of sugar made it difficult to pick out the cacao flavors in the base chocolate but there seemed to be hints of balanced fruit acidity/brightness and true chocolate/cocoa notes. (There might have been a wee bit of a floral note, but there was too much going on with the tea spices to be able to be sure of that.)

Ingredients: Organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, masala chai tea. 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Obolo Chocolate SpA - Earl Grey Blend 64% Dark Chocolate (bar) - Sept. 10, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Obolo Chocolate SpA
Earl Grey Blend 64% Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.41 oz. (40 g.) / 2.82 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 180 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $12.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #9 of Chocolate and Tea Theme Week. We're also celebrating Chocolate Banquet's 14th Anniversary this week. Our 14th year of sampling a different chocolate every day, visiting great chocolate makers and exploring cacao-related destinations. 

Today's Earl Grey Blend 64% Dark Chocolate (bar) was made by Chilean chocolate maker, Obolo Chocolate SpA (Santiago, Chile).

Earl Grey tea, a black tea blend flavored with oil of Bergamot (extracted from the rind of the aromatic Bergamot orange (Citrus bergamia)), was first mentioned in the early 1800s. The yellow-orange Bergamot fruit (aka sour orange) shares the tart brightness of other citrus fruits but also possesses pronounced floral and spice notes.

This Chilean-made, tea-infused chocolate (crafted with cacao from Pangoa, Peru) had a very subtle aroma with a whisper of Earl Grey tea (bergamot, aromatic light woodsy citrus and tea notes). Stronger Earl Grey and chocolate flavors unfolded during the tasting experience. The bar had balanced tea and chocolate acidity levels, and a citrus/bergamot tea flavored finish. It was difficult to pick out the flavor the cacao may have contributed (e.g. perhaps its own floral and citrus fruit notes), but the relatively sweet chocolate did add chocolate depth and richness.

Ingredients: Organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, Earl Grey tea.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Rebbl - Reishi Chocolate Immunity Elixir and Antidote Earl Grey & Orange 70% bar - Sept. 9, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Rebbl 
Rebbl Reishi Chocolate Immunity Elixir
Good ++
Weight: 12 fl. oz. in 1 bottle
Calories: 160 calories (verify) in 1 bottle
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Antidote
Earl Grey and Orange 70% Cacao (bar) (re-tasting)
Good ++
Weight: 1.15 oz. (32.5 g.) / 2.3 oz. (65 g.) in total bar
Calories: 190 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's new chocolate was a Reishi Chocolate Immunity Elixir from Rebbl (Emeryville, CA). 

This smooth beverage was made with coconut milk and the chocolate added additional rich flavor depth. The reishi (mushroom) extract was smoothly incorporated into this blend, and there were no "off" fungi-related flavors. This well-balanced elixir was sweetened with coconut sugar and stevia.

Technically an elixir may not have been a tea, but it was a liquid botanical brew. 

The "tea" portion of today's entry came from re-tasting an Earl Grey and Orange 70% dark chocolate bar from Antidote Chocolate (Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY)--made with Arriba Nacional cacao (Ecuador) and aromatic, chewy bits of orange peel on the back which nicely complemented the subtle infused floral tea flavor.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Siamaya Chocolate - Thai Tea Milk Chocolate (bar) - Sept. 8, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Siamaya Chocolate (aka Siamaya Craft Co., Ltd)
Thai Tea Milk Chocolate (bar)
Good 
Weight: 2.65 oz. (75 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 375 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $9.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

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

Today's Thai Tea Milk Chocolate (bar) from Siamaya Chocolate (Chang Mai, Thailand) had subtle and uniform, milky, sweet tea aroma and flavor notes throughout the tasting experience--with a fleeting hint of star anise and a light sweet, authentic Thai tea finish.

Ingredients: Cacao nibs, organic cane sugar, powdered milk, cocoa butter.


Monday, September 7, 2020

Fu Wan Chocolate - Taiwan Charcoal Oolong Tea Chocolate (bar) - Aug. 7, 2020

 Chocolate of the Day

Fu Wan Chocolate
62% dark Taiwan Charcoal Oolong Tea Chocolate (bar)
Good ++ 
Weight: 1.59 oz. (45 g.) in total bar
Calories: 283 calories (per label) in 1 bar
Cost: $16.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

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

Today's 62% dark Taiwan Charcoal Oolong Tea Chocolate (bar) was from Fu Wan Chocolate (Formosa (Taiwan)). This chocolate was flavorful, middle ground blend of cacao and tea.

Oolong teas have a flavor in between a spring green sencha and a heavier, malt-ier black Assam tea--just like a Trinitario cacao usually falls between a mild heritage Criollo cacao and a deep, dark Forastero cacao variety. In tea and chocolate, a tea master/maker or chocolate maker coaxes different notes (e.g. fruit, floral or nut) out of a batch of leaves, or cacao beans--employing different roast profiles and other steps in the process.

Fu Wan does use cacao grown in Taiwan, and cacao from other locations. (I was unable to determine the exact cacao origin(s) for this bar.) It tasted like it may have been made with Trinitario cacao.

My tasting notes are below: 

Aroma: honey, raisin toast 

Flavor: honey, raisin toast, fleeting sweet "Dragon Eye*" oolong tea notes, and a faint hint of dried fruit (date, peach, dried longan fruit) and nut. The cacao added a richness to the tea experience. 

Maker's tasting notes read as follows: "Almond, cashew, black sesame, fennel, licorice, mint"

Ingredients: Cacao bean(s), cane sugar, cacao butter, Charcoal Oolong tea.

*The tea flavors in today's Fu Wan Taiwan Charcoal Oolong bar reminded me of the "Dragon Eyes" oolong tea I've enjoyed in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dragon Eye tea is sometimes described as somewhere between a green and black tea, with light smokey and dried fruit notes. This is the closest to today's charcoal oolong tea that I've experienced here in the U.S. And, after this week's Fu Wan flavorful oolong bars, I'll be exploring more of the wonderful "middle ground" world of oolong teas soon.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Fu Wan Chocolate - 62% Taiwan Tieguanyin Tea Chocolate (bar) - Sept. 6, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Fu Wan Chocolate
62% Taiwan Tieguanyin Tea Chocolate (bar)
Good +++ - Very Good
Weight: 1.59 oz. (45 g.) in total bar
Calories: 284 calories (per label) in 1 bar
Cost: $16.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Tea Theme Week.

Today's 62% Taiwan Tieguanyin Chocolate (bar) was from Fu Wan Chocolate (Formosa (Taiwan)). The tea used in this bar is a rolled oolong made with a Tieguanyin cultivar from Fujian, China. (Many Taiwan residents came from this area in southeast China across the Taiwan Strait, which helps explain the tea's popularity in Taiwan.)

This bar was made from a blend of (Trinitario) cacao sources. (Fu Wan does use cacao grown in Taiwan, and some from other locations. The exact cacao origin(s) were not found on labeling (or at least that I could read/translate). 

The cacao added a richness in flavor and fat (cocoa butter) to the tea experience, and yet was mild enough that the cacao and sugar helped highlight the fruit notes and complemented the tea notes.

My tasting notes are below: 

Aroma: dried fruit (goji berry), guava

Flavor: dried goji berry, black oolong tea, guava and very subtle warm herbal (naturally sweet fennel, allspice, clove) and refreshing green (faint green tea, mint) notes. This bar was well balanced, with an appealing tea flavor and a mild tannic tea astringency.

Today's offering was another elegant medium-dark chocolate bar with fruit and oolong tea notes from Fu Wan Chocolate. The company's choice of a 62% cacao chocolate base (dark, but not too dark) allowed the subtle tea flavors to shine through. 

Maker's tasting notes read as follows: "Bayleaf, fennel seed, clove, mint, guava, orchid"

Ingredients: Cacao bean(s), cane sugar, cacao butter, Tieguanyin tea.

Fu Wan Chocolate - 62% Taiwan Red Jade Tea Chocolate (bar) - Aug. 5, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Fu Wan Chocolate
62% Taiwan Red Jade Tea Chocolate (bar)
Good +++ - Very Good
Weight: 1.59 oz. (45 g.) in total bar
Calories: 283 calories (per label) in 1 bar
Cost: $16.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

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

Today's 62% Taiwan Red Tea Chocolate (bar) was from Fu Wan Chocolate (Formosa (Taiwan)). The tea used in this bar is a hybrid black tea developed in Taiwan that has red branches (and color), thus the name.

This bar was made from a blend of (Trinitario) cacao sources. (Fu Wan does use cacao grown in Taiwan, and some from other locations.)

My tasting notes are below: 

Aroma: dried fruit (goji berry)

Flavor: dried goji berry, delicate black oolong tea with rose petal and very subtle herbal/warm spice (star anise) notes. Well balanced, lightly layered flavor complexity. There was a faint, nicely balanced, tannic tea astringency in the finish, and perhaps a ghost of red raspberry leaf.

Please do to sit down with this chocolate and savor slowly, as one would a cup of of high quality tea. Elegant floral fruit tea notes from this blend of dark chocolate and Taiwan Red Jade Tea. The choice of a 62% cacao chocolate base (dark, but not too dark) allowed the subtle tea flavors to shine through, and yet it was not too sweet (thank you).

Maker's tasting notes read as follows: "Bayleaf, bergamot, cinnamon, star anise"

Ingredients: Cacao bean(s), cane sugar, cacao butter, Red Jade tea.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Siamaya Chocolate - Masala Chai Milk Chocolate (bar) - Sept. 4, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Siamaya Chocolate 
Masala Chai Milk Chocolate (bar)
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.325 oz. (37.5 g.)/ 2.65 oz. (75 g.) in total bar
Calories: 180 calories (estimate per label) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

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

Today's Masala Chai Milk Chocolate (bar) was from Siamaya Chocolate (Chiang Mai, Thailand). The company produces handmade chocolates using Thai cocoa beans and sugar, blended with Thai flavor inclusions (Thai tea, coconut, chilies, durian fruit, etc.), in Thailand.

This sweet milk chocolate bar was suffused with an Indian-inspired (star anise-forward) masala spice mix aroma and flavor, and had a thick, creamy melt and smooth texture accented with micro-particles of ground spices.

Tasting this (gluten-free and vegetarian) bar was an immersion in warm, rich masala* chai-tea spices mixed with smooth, sweet and creamy drinking chocolate. It offered balanced, flavorful blend chocolate and spice, without being too spicy.

Ingredients: Cacao (50%), organic cane sugar (34.7%), powdered milk (14.5%), spices (0.5%), organic sunflower lecithin (0.3%). 

*What many Americans call/know as "chai" tea would be known as masala chai (tea) in other countries. Chai often refers to just black tea and milk, whereas masala chai would have (what we (Americans) call) "chai spices" added. We've managed to conflate the two here in the U.S.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Fruition Chocolate - Harney & Sons Tea Bar - Hot Cinnamon Spice (bar) - Sept. 3, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Fruition Chocolate
Harney and Sons Tea Bar - Hot Cinnamon Spice 46% Milk Chocolate (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 2.12 oz. (60 g.) in total bar
Calories: 325 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $9.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Rainbow Grocery, San Francisco, CA 

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

Today's Hot Cinnamon Spice 46% Milk Chocolate bar was a collaboration between Harney and Sons Master Tea Blenders (Millerton, NY) and Fruition Chocolate (Shokan, NY). 

This chocolate possessed a warm cinnamon tea aroma and flavor. (The spiciness implied in the "hot" cinnamon name may have been mellowed a bit by milk powder, cocoa butter and sugar.)

The bar had a satisfying, very creamy milk chocolate melt and texture, and a light lingering sweet cinnamon spice finish. 

The cacao (beans) used to make this bean-to-bar milk chocolate were from Chuno, Nicaragua.

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice (tm) tea (black tea, orange peel, natural cinnamon flavor, cinnamon, clove), orange oil, cinnamon.

Rococo Chocolates - "Big Smoke" with Lapsang Souchong Tea - 65% Cocoa Dark Chocolate (bar) - Sept. 2, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Rococo Chocolates
Big Smoke with Lapsang Souchong Tea - 65% Cocoa Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good ++ - Good +++
Weight: 1.235 oz. (35 g.) / 2.47 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 187 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $7.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Rainbow Grocery, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate and Tea Theme Week. Most teas are light and refreshing and impart subtle flavors to chocolate. We've had several wild fires in Northern California this past month and the hazy air lingers. So, the "Big Smoke" seemed like a perfect bar to kick off this tea theme week.

Today's Big Smoke - with Lapsang Souchong Tea - 65% Cocoa Dark Chocolate (bar) was from Rococo Chocolates (London, UK). 

This bar had smooth, creamy texture with occasional crunchy (powdered tea leaf) bits and a pleasing, subtle smoked tea and salt aroma, with a dark chocolate flavor with faint hints of dark fermented fruit (plum) and smokey Lapsang Souchong and sweet licorice teas. Who said smokey flavor was a flaw? Not I. For those who enjoy a subtly crafted flavor ride, and who like a deft touch of umami with their chocolate, try this bar.

Tasting notes from Rococo founder Chantal Cody read as follows: "Something for the more sophisticated palate, this is made with a fine Lapsang tea and has hints of resin, paprika and peaty Islay whiskies accompanying the wood smoke."

Ingredients: Organic cocoa mass, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, cocoa powder, Lapsang Souchong smoked tea, emulsifier (soya lecithin). 
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