Thursday, March 3, 2022

Crow and Moss - Vanilla Smoke Chocolate 69% (bar) - Mar. 2, 2022

Chocolate of the Day

Crow and Moss
Vanilla Smoke Chocolate 69% (bar)
Good +++
Weight: 1.23 oz. (35 g.) / 2.47 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.25 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order

Welcome to Day #10 of Chocolate and Spices Theme Weeks.

Today's Vanilla Smoke Chocolate 69% small batch (bar) was from Crow and Moss (Petoskey, MI).

This dark chocolate bar had a prominent vanilla aroma, and true to it's name, it had a balanced, subtle smokey fragrance and faint green floral notes.*

This well-tempered, bean-to-bar chocolate had smooth texture, an thick buttery melt, and a complex flavor bouquet that included dark chocolate, green, floral (white flowers), spice and faint, very slightly astringent tropical fruit and green notes (persimmon and green mango meet jasmine and orchid). 

Re-tasting this bar yielded even more subtley complex green notes (green tea, green-lemon herb (sorrel) and very faint and fleeting vegetable (Miner's Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata) + baked potato). 

The faint (or perhaps implied) fruit note was difficult to nail down. Can a flavor come to life and refuse to be captured and fully analyzed? I was happy to chase this white (vanilla) rabbit through the hickory forest. 

I applaud the skills that went into melding the hickory-smoked cacao and vanilla bean together. Both these flavors stood proud and tall on their own; and the lovely nuances of each were highlighted and celebrated. There was also a barely detectable quantity of salt in this bar, that seemed just right.

Together, this pied piper of a partnership seemed to take flight. A sense of motion--an elegant flavor flux--created a highly satisfying ride, and kept me coming back for just one more piece. Nicely balanced, not too sweet. Highly complementary chocolate and vanilla flavors sparked a winter fire, while invisible grains of salt nodded in grounded approval, and floral notes looked at cherry trees blooming and whispered that spring is here.*

Maker's tasting notes: "We've taken whole vanilla beans and paired them with a hint of hickory smoked cacao and salt to create a fruity, floral twist with a nostalgic campfire finish."

Ingredients: "Cacao blend, organic cane sugar, vanilla beans, salt, hickory smoke."

Allergen-related information: "Processed in a facility that also handles nuts and dairy"

*I like floral, balanced umami and subtlely smokey and savory flavors in single origin chocolate. It's hard to find these flavors, and even harder to discover all these skillfully blended in one bar. Hats off that Cross and Moss makers for even attempting this bar when there are some critics who view umami, smokey (and, surprisingly, even floral) notes as possible "flaws" in cacao processing. Apologies: Happiness over this bar did lead to some wordy poetic celebration.

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