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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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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