Seriously Dark 87% Dark Chocolate (bar)
Weight: 1.25 oz. (35 g.) / 2.5 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 200 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $2.49 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA
Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Tea Theme Week, including chocolate items with tea, and chocolate and tea pairings.
Today's "Seriously Dark" 87% Dark Chocolate (bar) was from Taza Chocolate (Somerville, MA). The company specializes in minimally processed, stoneground chocolate and offers a variety of bars, discs, barks and chocolate covered nuts.
Taza's Seriously Dark bar was made using direct trade certified cacao; and the aroma had relatively bold dark chocolate, floral and vanilla, diffuse ripe fruit, and tropical forest notes. Taza is known for less processed, flavorful chocolate--flavors preserved in part due to short(er) grinding and conching times in large stainless steel machines.
Today's 87% bar did not contain tea. Instead I searched for three different teas to find the best pairing with this chocolate.
I knew this bold dark chocolate might not pair easily with teas....But, the perils of pairing be damned; the hunt was on for a match.
Tea partners for Taza: Matcha (ice cream bar), ginger, grapefruit leaf...
I first tried pairing today's Taza Chocolate ultra-dark bar with its apparent opposite: a frozen, creamy, smooth, delicate, grassy Matcha (green tea) Brown Sugar Boba ice cream bar -- inspired by popular boba (tapioca pearl/mini-mochi) tea drinks from Taiwan. The refreshing, matcha tea bar (like green tea ice cream or an iced matcha latte) was perfect for today's hot weather.
However, the pairing of a Matcha ice cream boba bar with the Taza 87% chocolate was a study in contrasts. They each had unique, enjoyable aromas and flavors. Unfortunately, the combined array of vibrant taste and texture (and temperature) sensations failed to mesh harmoniously.
These two offerings were best enjoyed separately. Blind dates don't always work out. However, after a little more tea speed dating, I did find better mates for both the chocolate and Matcha tea bars.
Cool ginger tea did not agree with this ultra-dark bar. Just when I thought this Taza 87% bar was a confirmed singleton, with its rough, almost crunchy texture, unique floral sweetness, and untameable spirit, I tried pairing it with some warm grapefruit leaf tea (made by pouring very hot water over torn grapefruit (or lemon) tree leaves and letting the infusion steep for a few minutes).
The pale, amber-hued grapefruit leaf tea had a lemony citrus flavor. And it was surprisingly harmonious with today's Seriously Dark chocolate. The warmer tea (vs. frozen tea ice cream) also made the chocolate flavors more accessible. (Frozen chocolate quickly loses textural and flavor benefits.)
And, for our Matcha Brown Sugar Boba bar, the best match was: creamy, buttery, dark chocolate truffles dusted in dark cocoa powder.
Ingredients: Organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, organic vanilla beans.
Allergen-related: "Contains traces of almonds, cashews, coconut, hazelnuts and pecans."
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