Blanxart – Chocolate Negro

The Blanxart dark chocolate bar is 62% cocoa (according to the list of ingredients). Blanxart is a Spanish chocolatier which calls Barcelona home. It’s not entirely clear from their website where they get their cocoa beans, though they do reference Ghana and the Dominican Republic.

The aroma of the chocolate is flowery and mellow, with caramel/vanilla undertones. Essentially, it smells sweet.

The first flavor is citrusy, but it immediately changes over to a more robust caramel flavor as it begins to melt (though towards the end I noticed that a fruity essence returned). Overall good flavor, though not especially creamy and didn’t melt very smoothly in my mouth. I did miss the bitterness of cocoa, so I could have gone for a little less sugar (but it’s 62%..).

Published in: on May 12, 2010 at 5:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Lover’s bar (85%)

I love Trader Joe’s…. they really know how to make yummy chocolate things, from the mint UFO’s to chocolate covered -fruit/pretzels/nuts (the black cocoa dusted chocolate almonds are a personal favorite.. but that’s another story). I was intrigued by the appearance of a dark 85%, single origin bar in the candy aisle. The cacao is from the Tumaco Region of Colombia.

The aroma of the chocolate is vanilla and strawberries, almost like strawberry shortcake or something!

The first burst of flavor I got was banana, though it was very short-lived. As it began to melt, it developed more berry-like flavors which became an earthy cacao flavor. The box does describe it as “smooth & fruity” and I’d say that was right –  it did melt pretty smoothly, though wasn’t particularly creamy.

Published in: on April 16, 2010 at 1:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Chuao – Todasana 74%

This bar was made from purely Venezuelan cacao (grown in the village of Todasana, hence the name). I believe I have reviewed Chuao before, but if you’re interested in learning more about them and their mission – organized by the Aguasanta Growth Initiative – check out their website.

The aroma was at first of a sweet caramel, which gave way to fruitier undertones.

The first flavor I detected was banana. The banana flavor remained in the forefront for the entire process, but as it melted other tropical fruitiness came out. The fruitiness prevented bitterness while not being too sweet – a good transition bar for anyone afraid to try really dark chocolate.

Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 3:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Chocolove – 70% dark, Dominican Republic

This Chocolove bar is from their Chocolatour collection. According to the wrapper, the beans are all of the Trinitario variety and were grown in the Dominican Republic. I like the style of the wrapper, emphasizing that different types of cocoa beans are like the different types of grapes used to make wine: the year and location of growth influence the flavors of the chocolate.

Chocolove - Chocolatour 70%, Dominican Republic

The aroma is very flowery, like roses and tulips (though the wrapper describes it as similar to a glass of wine, which I didn’t really get..).

At first, the chocolate has a slightly bitter smoky flavor, but quickly melts into a tangy fruity flavor like passionfruit and citrus. It has a dry finish, similar to the feeling of a white wine. It has a smooth texture as it melts.

Published in: on March 8, 2010 at 2:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Michel Cluizel – Grand Noir 85%

Michel Cluizel is a famed French chocolatier, making chocolate since 1948! He has perfected the art of using a minimum number of all natural ingredients to produce rich, smooth chocolate. (reportedly, the cacao beans are ground to particles smaller than 18 micron = 0.018 mm – very small!)

The chocolate has a very sweet and flowery aroma. At first, the flavor is sweet also, but quickly melts into a rich cocoa bitterness. It has an earthy mellowness to it – it’s not bitter in an acrid way, but is satisfying. It has an incredibly smooth texture that belies its 85% cacao content (and lack of soy lecithin as an emulsifier) but can only be credited to the 18 micron particles. mmmmmmm

Published in: on February 9, 2010 at 6:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Kakao Chocolate – Extra Dark 72% Chocolate Bark with Organic Candied Ginger

Kakao Chocolate is a must visit chocolaterie and cafe if you are ever in St. Louis. If not, check out their website for a sampling of their tasty chocolates and other treats. I was very excited to visit for the first time and get my hands on some of their yummy bark. Since I have a penchant for dark chocolate, but am still trying to understand the flavors in pure chocolate, I chose the simplest chocolate bark –  a 72% dark blend of three types of chocolate (which I am not sure is top secret or not, so perhaps I’ll keep that info to myself) and has a sprinkling of candied ginger pieces.

The chocolate itself has a warm chocolatey aroma with subtle fruity smells. It melts smoothly and at first has that slight bitterness we expect from dark chocolate. It mellows as it continues to melt and has maybe raspberry undertones.

It has a slight different experience when eaten together with a piece of candied ginger. The bittery spice of the ginger is not too overpowering, but does mask any bitterness in the chocolate, leaving a pleasant sensation in your mouth. I have decided I need to learn how to make candied ginger… it is so delicious! I think I would actually pick off all the pieces and eat them plain if the texture of them with the chocolate didn’t play off eachother so nicely!

Published in: on January 18, 2010 at 11:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Pacari – 72% Cacao Los Rios

The third bar in the Arriba Nacional trio is the 72% “cacao los rios.” Of the previous two, this is my favorite. I have a thing for chocolate with >70% cocoa content!!

I have noticed that these bars are very simply molded – no frilly shapes or inprints, just a block of rectangles. I kind of like that (after all, I’m going to eat it rather quickly..).

The aroma of the 72% is sweet and fruity – definitely makes me think citrus. At first, I get a strong cocoa flavor but as it melts citrus and flowery flavors become apparent. According to the tasting notes at their website, a finish of coffee can be tasted, though I must admit I don’t really get that at the end. The finish to me maintained a fresh feeling that was more flowery than roasted.

 

Published in: on October 29, 2009 at 3:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Pacari – 65% Cacao Manabi

The second Pacari bar is a 65% cacao manabi (arriba nacional), also organic and single origin from Ecuador.

This bar has a very flowery aroma (like springtime!). It’s flavor is bitter at first but as it melts it develops acidic fruity notes, like oranges. It has a smooth finish, with an after flavor of cacao that is sweeter than the first taste.

(I looked at their website after tasting, and they say there are also nut flavors present. I tried another piece but still just get floral and fruit/citrus… hmm).

Published in: on October 20, 2009 at 1:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Pacari – 60% Cacao Esmeraldas

So I recently celebrated my birthday, and a good friend who appreciates my passion for chocolate sent me a collection of Pacari Ecuadorian chocolate. Pacari means nature in a native Ecuadorian language, and the company tries to be true to their name by producing all-natural (and organic) and local chocolate. Therefore, they use a cocoa bean native to Ecuador: arriba national. I randomly decided to start with the 60% cacao… you’ll see the rest of them popping up in my reviews over the next few weeks!

The aroma of the chocolate is slightly sweet and fruity. The flavor is very earthy and almost savory (not sweet). As it melts, slight banana-ish flavors appear. It has a very smooth and creamy texture as it melts.

Published in: on September 22, 2009 at 3:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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E. Guittard – Nocturne (91%)

Mmmm “Pure Extra Dark Chocolate…” and with 91% cocoa content, that is definitely the case. Guittard, company based in San Francisco CA, prides themselves on making quality chocolate from natural ingredients and in the traditions passed down through the family over generations. The Nocturne bar, according to the company website, contains a blend of 7 different types of cacao beans. As I read the website description after eating it, I was excited to see that the flavors listed are the same things I was tasting!

The chocolate doesn’t smell especially bitter, in fact, it has a sweet cocoa aroma. It bursts on the tongue with a slightly acidic bitterness, which as it melts develops fruity notes, like tart cherry. The texture is not as smooth as I like it, it is a bit crumbly, which may be due to a relatively low cocoa butter content.

Published in: on September 15, 2009 at 4:34 pm  Leave a Comment