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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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  
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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  
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