Veritas – True Flats Milk with Cacao Nibs

This Veritas True Flat bar is constructed different than most: it doesn’t look like a typical chocolate “bar”… it’s just a slab of chocolate with cacao nibs sprinkled over the top. This bar is a 32% milk (hmm that’s the lowest cocoa percentage I’ve had in a while. This will be interesting). The chocolate is all-natural (hooray) and they claim to get all their cacao nibs from either the Ivory Coast or South America. That looks pretty good on the package, but I think most cacao comes from those two locations, so I’m not convinced they can claim to satisfy the “origin-seeking chocolate purist” unless they can truly specify a single origin of their chocolate.

The chocolate has a faint flowery aroma to it under the sweet cream.

The flavor is very sweet… I have difficulty tasting the chocolate at first. The small cacao nibs sprinkled on top are the saving grace of this bar: they add a satisfying crunch and a hint of the bitter cacao flavor that I really love under the creamy, sugary chocolate base.

Published in: on July 23, 2009 at 1:36 pm  Comments (2)  

Chocolove – 77% Extra Strong

Chocolove is the cute chocolate that comes in the wrapper that looks like an envelope (and it has a love poem inside). It is made in Colorado with Belgian chocolate and in the Belgian tradition, and at 77% cocoa, I’m curious to give this bar a taste.

It’s aroma isn’t overwhelmingly strong. Vanilla is not one of the listed ingredients, but the chocolate does smell faintly of vanilla and other sweet spices. Once you bite into it, however, it is an intense cocoa flavor. It is initially a warm, woodsy flavor that melts with a hint of cherry. It melts rather quickly and smoothly for such a high cocoa content bar, but I guess that is the cocoa butter at work.

Published in: on July 7, 2009 at 1:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags:

Divine Chocolate – 70%

Divine Chocolate is a fair trade chocolate maker that produces chocolate from cacao grown in Ghana. It is associated with a farmer’s co-op called Kuapa Kokoo, which is also one of the larger shareholders in the company. Read more about them here.

The 70% chocolate bar has an earthy aroma that is sweet, like being outdoors. The flavor is warm and woodsy, and it has a very smooth and surprisingly creamy texture. It strikes a pleasant balance between sweet and bitter. I’d definitely put this on top of my favorites list.

Published in: on June 19, 2009 at 11:56 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Patric Chocolate – 70% Madagascar bar

Patric Chocolate is a chocolate maker based in Columbia, Missouri. A relatively new chocolatier, Patric makes single origin chocolate bars out of simple but pure ingredients (only two on the list: cocoa beans and sugar). The cocoa beans are from a single plantation in the Sambirano Valley, Madagascar, and the bars are produced in small batches at the Patric facility. The company claims its goal is “to create micro-batch chocolate of such quality that it becomes a flavorful work of art in itself, like the finest wine or Scotch–a magical sensory experience.” Pretty cool..so of course I must taste!

The bar has a sweet aroma, almost flowery, with rich undertones. At first, the chocolate tastes slightly acidic, but as it melts, it mellows and takes on a more fruity flavor: cherry and blackberry. As it melts away, the aftertaste is rich and chocolatey – more of an earthy taste of chocolate than a bitter one. A little of this goes a long way, it’s very satisfying!

Published in: on June 7, 2009 at 12:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Bissinger’s All-Natural Chocolate Bars

Since I am in St. Louis for a period of time, I thought I would search out some local chocolate. I found the Bissinger’s chocolate shop in the Central West End of the city. I was disappointed to learn that this was only where they sold chocolates, not where it was made, so I will attempt a visit to the actual factory at some point. However, I wanted to taste a variety of their chocolate bars, so I took one of each kind: a 38% cocoa milk chocolate bar, and dark chocolate bars of 55%, 60% and 75% cacao. I was pleased by the lists of ingredients of all the bars: they really are all natural! Nothing but unsweetened chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin and vanilla (plus milk and whole milk powder in the milk chocolate).

 

Range of Bissinger's All-Natural Chocolate bars I tasted

Range of Bissinger's All-Natural Chocolate bars I tasted

38% Milk: This milk chocolate bar smells faintly of coconut (though I should point out that there is no coconut in the ingredients). It melts instantly and is thick and creamy. Since it is only 38% chocolate, the cocoa flavor is muted. It is luckily not too sweet. The milky flavor dominates here.

55% Dark has a flowery aroma. It’s flavor, however, is much more robust. At first it tastes earthy, like mushrooms. As it melts, it preserves this flavor. Sugar, though the first ingredient on the list, is nicely balanced by the bitterness of the chocolate, so neither of these flavors come through immediately. A slight bitterness can be detected after swallowing.

60% Dark has a spicier aroma than the 55%, as if one were to walk into a room after someone has been cooking Italian food. It tastes bitter, like coffee, at first but melts into a mellower earthy flavor, not unlike the 55%, but now the sugar is second on the list, so the bitterness is more obvious.

75% Dark has a list of ingredients that makes me happy: Unsweetened chocolate, Sugar, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla. No messing around. It has a more distinct aroma of spices than the 60%. It smells of rosemary and sage and other savory spices. At first taste, it is very strongly that earthy, mushroom flavor of before. It melts into something that tastes more like its aroma… a bit of sage and oregano with some flowery undertones.

Delicious 🙂 The 75% was definitely my favorite because of the definitive nature of its flavor, but if you’re looking for a subtle, well balanced dark chocolate bar, try the 55%.

 
Published in: on May 31, 2009 at 12:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Scharffen Berger – 70% Cacao Bittersweet

Scharffen Berger is hard to resist on two counts: it has a cool name, and it has bright, clean looking packaging. I picked up their 70% bittersweet bar from a grocery store to give it a try.

It has an earthy, slightly roasted smell, like coffee beans and cacao nibs. At first, the flavor is bitter, reflecting it’s aroma. As it melts, it develops a fruity tone, almost like apricot jam. It is sweeter than I would expect a 70% cacao to be, but in a pleasant way. It coats your entire mouth as it melts, and so the bittersweet cacao flavor lingers long after you’ve finished eating. 🙂

Published in: on May 24, 2009 at 5:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lake Champlain Chocolates – Dark Chocolate 54%

I was standing in the check out line at Whole Foods, and saw a little bowl with these little squares of dark chocolate. I’ve heard good things about Lake Champlain Chocolates (and am still sad I didn’t get a chance to visit them when I was in Vermont in December). This 0.4 oz bar has 54% cocoa, and the list of ingredients were all natural.

The chocolate smells a bit flowery. The flavor is at first earthy and it melts with soft fruity undertones, like blueberry and blackberry. It is sweet, but not overpowering. It almost tastes like a really good cup of hot cocoa, and I think I would actually prefer it in liquid form.

Lake Champlain 54%

Published in: on April 8, 2009 at 1:21 pm  Comments (2)  

Bovetti – 73% Dark Chocolate

Bovetti, a French chocolatier, and perhaps one to add to the list of places I must visit, has delicious bars, or as they call them, les tablettes.

 The 73% dark chocolate bar had an orangey, flowery aroma, which was also realized in the flavor. At first, it tastes warm and roasted. As it begins to melt, it takes on those fruity (with a hint of orange) aromas.

For a 73% cacao bar, it  was very mellow and smooth (despite its lack of soy lecithin.. an emulsifier). Upon closer inspection of the label, it claims to be “73% cocoa solids.” I’m not sure if that automatically includes the cocoa butter or not, but if so, that would explain its creaminess.

73% dark chocolate bar

Published in: on March 16, 2009 at 10:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ghirardelli Twilight Delight

My sister came to visit me this week, and, knowing my love for chocolate, brought me a new bar. The Ghirardelli Twilight Delight is 72% Cacao, part of their Intense Dark collection.

It has a soft, fruity aroma, like raspberries. The flavor also has fruit accents. You can taste more berry and citrus flavors. It has a warm, creamy finish that has a hint of roasted coffee.

The bar had tasting notes on the back of the package, and I was happy to see that what I can taste corresponds somewhat to what it describes. They say the bar has “mocha, blackberry and dark cherry notes througout.” Yay, I’m getting better at this! 🙂

Published in: on March 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm  Comments (2)  

Dagoba – 68% with nibs

Dagoba is an organic chocolatier with a social conscience. Their trademark is “full circle sustainability.”  I like that they support the small growers and farmers, and the chocolate tastes delicious. I enjoyed this bar much more than the other organic bar I have tried so far (Green & Blacks).

The chocolate bar has a soft, fruity smell with a hint of wine. It initially tastes slightly tangy and melts with a fruity flavor. The nibs add a roasted quality that accents the fruitiness with their crunch of bitterness. I really like having the crunch of nuts in chocolate bars, so I really enjoyed the nibs, plus the chocolate flavor is intensified by their presence.

Published in: on February 9, 2009 at 10:25 pm  Leave a Comment