In 2006, my daughter bet I couldn't eat a different chocolate each day for a year. I enjoyed that year so much that, after 14+ years, I'm still eating a different chocolate each day. Happily, even after 5,465+ chocolates, there are still many more to try. Thank you to all who continue to be part of this global adventure.
Good + - Good ++ Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 2.12 oz. (60 g.) in total bar Calories: 162 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar Cost: $10.00 for 1 bar Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order
Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate, Trees and Bees Theme Week. We can thank, in part, juniper trees (berries), for today's featured bar.
Today's Juniper Lavender Chocolate 70% Cacao (bar) was from Ritual Chocolate (Park City, UT).
The aroma of this bar--redolent of lavender flower buds and juniper berry--could be bottled and sold. It was heavenly.
The flavor of these two powerfully aromatic botanical inclusions were skillfully blended with a relatively bold, dark cacao. There was a slight astringency that brought me back down to earth (often a natural component of juniper berries). Still an amazing bar though. I enjoyed the touch of unexpected red berry fruitiness and nicely balanced tart acidity and faint pine/evergreen/citrus (similar to edible Douglas Fir tree branch/needle tips).
A big thumbs up to the makers for orchestrating all these powerful flavors together so successfully.
For a super luxe tasting experience I look forward to buying this special bar again (if, fingers crossed, it is available); and using pieces or shavings to add to/garnish high-end desserts (or as a surprise guest square on fruit and cheese platters, small food plates).
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 2.12 oz. (60 g.) in total bar
Calories: 165 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $13.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order
Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate, Trees and Bees Theme Week.
Today's Pine Nut Chocolate (Ground Pine Nuts and Dark Chocolate) 55% Cacao (bar) was made by Ritual Chocolate (Park City, UT). The company crafts a variety of chocolate bars high in the mountains (7,000 feet/2,134 meters altitude).
Pinyon pine trees in pine and juniper forests in Utah and the Great Basin area of the U.S. are wonderful to look at and offer many benefits. They're also a source of pine nuts.* These ivory-colored seeds are delicate and buttery and have served as a food source for many animals, including humans for a very long time.
Ritual makers have created a great blend of pine nuts and dark chocolate. This bar had a relatively subtle dark chocolate aroma with chocolate cookie and faint nut (cashew shortbread cookie) notes. If you really focus, you can sense a bit of woodsy, pine/oak forest.
The texture was heavenly, with a rapid creamy, velvety melt and mouthfeel, made possible by finely ground pine nuts, added cocoa butter, and what seemed like the perfect amount of conching (cocoa mass grinding) time.
This 55% chocolate tasted bolder, richer and less sweet (thank you!) than most other 55% bars. And yet, the more delicate (and easily eclipsed) pine nuts still contributed an important role in texture and flavor.
This ebony-colored bar had some deep dark, grounded, forest flavor--that in less skilled hands (and without finely ground pine nuts) might have headed more toward earthy/tannic or very slightly bitter.
Instead, this result was almost perfectly balanced smooth, rich, luxurious chocolate flavor (with faint forest, nut and fruit acidity); a suave, dark, roasted green nut and cocoa finish; and an almost undetectable, fleeting, astringency tickle at the back of the throat after the first few bites.
This pine nut chocolate was wonderful by itself. I'm guessing it would also make a great addition to a chocolate tasting flight or dessert plate; and/or the basis for a dark chocolate pot de creme or dark chocolate gelato.
Ritual Chocolate tasting notes read as follows: "Nutty, pine-y, earthy"
Ingredients: Cacao, pine nuts, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter
Allergy-related information: "Contains pine nuts, may contain traces of peanuts, tree nuts, and wheat"
*Plant seeds come in a remarkable variety of shapes and sizes. Some are edible; most are not. Technically edible pine "nuts" are seeds (of several species of pine trees worldwide). And cacao beans are actually cacao seeds. I'm grateful for both of these seeds; and today's Pine Nut Chocolate bar shows they can be lovely together.