Saturday, December 26, 2020

Atypic Chocolate - Heart of Pacific 88% Dark Chocolate with Nibs (bar) - Dec. 28, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Atypic Chocolate
Heart of Pacific 88% Dark Chocolate with Nibs (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.235 oz. (35 g.) / 2.47 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 173 calories (per label) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.25 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order

Welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate and South Pacific Islands Theme Week.

Today's "Heart of Pacific" 88% Dark Chocolate with Nibs bar was from Atypic Chocolate*(Melbourne, Victoria, Australia). This multi-origin bar was crafted in Australia using sustainably harvested cacao beans from islands in the South Pacific.

The aroma of this bar had caramel notes associated with a creamy, dark milk chocolate with milk and sugar. I had to double check the label. Was there milk in this ultra-dark milk bar? (No.)

Note: Sometimes aroma and flavor notes for a dark chocolate bar are very similar; and the taste is just an extension of the smell. However, beans with complex flavors and/or very dark chocolates can have surprising differences between aroma and flavor. Today's 88% bar fell in this latter category, with a more complex, layered experience.

Admission: I love a well-made chocolate with an interesting, complex flavor ride.

The texture alternated between smooth ultra-dark chocolate 88% base chocolate and hearty, crunchy cocoa nibs. There was sweetness (more than one might find in most 88% chocolate bars), but certainly not the sweet caramel "candy" kind. It was a very satisfying blend.

The flavor was bold with very balanced earthy, woodsy real cacao flavor, with a very slightly fermented cacao note. The acidity and bitterness levels were just right (not too high).

Ingredients: cacao beans, organic cane sugar, cacao butter, sunflower lecithin 

*The company's name, Atypic, comes from the French word meaning atypical. Many entrepreneurial, bean-to-bar makers have had to diverge from the far more popular way of selling chocolates--by buying and using someone else's chocolate, and re-melting it to make bars and confections. 

The "new wave" of craft/artisan chocolate makers have many more steps to follow if they're making their own chocolate from scratch, from the cacao bean. And most chocolate makers who take this "atypical" road less traveled, if they really care about high-quality, will likely find themselves traveling to cacao-growing countries, getting to know cacao farmers, learning about fermenteries, examining aspects of fair trade--to ensure they have access to the best beans, to make the best chocolate, from start to finish. 

I have tried to honor all chocolate makers on Chocolate Banquet. I believe anyone starting a small business deserves respect. And to tackle complex craft food and beverage items, however intellectually satisfying it may be, deserves an extra helping of respect, and our thanks.

Francois Pralus - Costa Rica Trinitario 75% (bar) - Dec. 25, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Patisserie Chocolaterie Pralus s.a.s. - Francois Pralus 
Costa Rica Trinitario 75% (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.75 oz. (50 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 297.5 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $8.60 (+ shipping) for 1 bar
Purchased from:, online order

Welcome to Day #9, the last day, of Chocolate and Costa Rica Theme Week. Merry Christmas to all who celebrate. 

Today's Costa Rica Trinitario 75% (bar) was from Pastisserie Chocolaterie Pralus s.a.s., founded by master chocolate maker Francois Pralus (Roanne, France). 

Francois Pralus, who came from a confection/patisserie background, was an early convert to craft, bean-to-bar, chocolate in France. And he continues to search out and find the best cacao from different countries to produce great single origin chocolate bars.

This 75% cacao dark, rich, true chocolate (dark chocolate cake), with light spice (mixed spices), fruit (berry blend), and light, clean green/floral notes (vanilla). 

The melt was creamy and the texture was velvety smooth.

The flavor had deep, smooth chocolate (brownie) notes with a balanced bitter-sweetness and authentic (cocoa nib-like) flavor. The finish was light and lingering with a faint, smooth roasted nut note, followed by a fleeting light tropical fruit (mild mango) note, interlaced with more chocolate brownie notes.

The choice to use 75% cacao (vs. 70% cacao) was a good choice. Dark chocolate lovers will enjoy this bar. And it was still sweet and smooth enough to support going a little darker, without alienating chocolate lovers with a sweet tooth.

Pralus tasting notes: "Woody and robust, fresh and vanilla"

Ingredients: "75% cacao, sugar, buerre de cacao (cocoa butter), soy lecithin (non-GMO)"

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