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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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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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 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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