Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Mast Brothers Vanilla & Smoke

A chocolate bar before Mast Brothers' wordmark became MAST, and before Vanilla & Smoke became just Smoke. Mast Brothers have recently launched their new range, and seem to have removed the vanilla from this Papua New Guinea smokey chocolate

The 'smoke' comes from the Papua New Guinea cacao beans being smoked. I feel confident in saying that this post-fermentation act was done at source, due to Papua New Guinea cacao being most commonly fire-dried, which naturally adds a smokey flavour. Mast Brothers stating that it is smoke is good, as we know what to expect

scuffed because from NY to LA to NY to LDN
It's an aroma of smoking car tyres. The taste was smoke, leather, vanilla comes in super quick, the smokiness flattens out and brings out pure cocoa. A nutty taste then leads to citrus acidity, which then rounds to mulberry acidity, all whilst smoking

The texture of Mast Brothers is a lot better than I remember. I liked it. The Dominican bar I had last year was pretty dry, but this Smoke & Vanilla bar was a huge improvement in texture, with the delivery of flavour being more successful 

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Dormouse Chocolates milk chocolate with toasted pecans & sea salt

To me, Dormouse Chocolates is one of the few bean to bar makers in the UK. Of course, they are much more than that, as they started as chocolatiers. So in truffle and filled chocolate making may lie their priority...

A few days after buying this 39% Ecuadorian milk chocolate, I found it not to be made from the bean by Dormouse! Instead, this bar was the work of a chocolatier, as in turning Belgian couverture chocolate into bars, which to me was such a shame, as I thought I was buying craft chocolate! However, onwards and upwards, I shall forget my faux pas and hopefully this blog will feature a bean-to-Dormouse-bar sometime soon...
Lego-looking chocolate is certainly one I have not seen before. The domes were very shiny, showing Dormouse's knack for tempering

The aroma was sickly-sweet, chocolate-y, Belgian. The taste was very sweet, with then some enjoyable milkiness. Then I had some pecan, and wow, so maple syrup and buttery. I forget how beautiful pecans taste. However it's that hitting sweetness of the chocolate that finishes, sadly

So milk chocolate, proper milk chocolate, is next on the development list for Dormouse! Exciting times. And as the pecan paired with the salt was luscious, I recommend they keep this pairing and stick it on their own bean-to-bar milk chocolate!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Hoja Verde 58% + Quinoa

This quinoa chocolate bar was gifted to me at the Chocolate Show by Hoja Verde, as quinoa in chocolate is an interesting and surprising pairing - Jolanda had said many question this bar, so thought it would be great for me to review!

The Nacional cacao beans Hoja Verde work with come from Esmeraldas in North Ecuador. And this is a bean to bar company, with the action happening at origin! This is great, and hopefully will inspire and encourage more to work this way, developing cacao sustainability and the HDI of commodity dependent countries

The chocolate had an aroma of flowers, the archetypal delicacy of Ecuadorian cacao, and suddenly a catch of malt

The texture was a Nestlé Crunch bar, as it felt like crisped rice, and almost reminded me of Cadbury's Double Decker. The chocolate itself was very smooth

The flavour was dark chocolate, nice and sweet, very creamy (not dairy, just creamy) and vanilla. There was no added vanilla, but there was non-GMO soy lecithin

The finish was very chocolate. And what a lovely chocolate this is! It was easy to eat, it was not bitter at all (though it was only 58%) and the texture was great

At the Chocolate Show I was glad to have tried all of Hoja Verde's range, as they had been on my list of chocolate to try since I found them on Cocoa Runners a few months back. One that I enjoyed particularly was their 66% (of which I couldn't resist buying...) and their 50% with cows milk

Hoja Verde is available here from Cocoa Runners! I highly recommend this chocolate

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Pacari Raw 70% with Maca

Pacari say the addition of maca to their raw 70% makes for an "antioxidant rich, nutrient packed, unforgettable chocolate experience". Maca is a root and a popular superfood, most commonly known in its powdered form. The benefits of maca are in abundance; so, along with raw chocolate and unrefined sugar,  this chocolate bar is more than good for you
The aroma is, of course, Pacari. The sophisticated and perfume-like leathered, flowers and earthy profile. And then the flavour is again Pacari, but with the maca adding delicate malt and butterscotch. The finish was slightly bitter, which from experience I think was more due to the maca than the raw chocolate

Chewing the chocolate gave a chocolate richness, caramel (thoughts of Cadbury Eclairs), nuttiness, malt and the Pacari perfume. Finally, ending my maca chocolate experience, way into the finish, I caught an almost ginger-like spice

The addition of maca powder meant that the melt wasn't smooth like other Pacari chocolate, this goes for the chewing too, it felt different to other chocolate

I enjoy Pacari chocolate and it is worth a mention that all ingredients are organic certified 

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Damson Grenada Buffalo Milk

This chocolate is an interesting one, made from Grenadian cacao from Crayfish Bay, buffalo milk from Laverstoke Park Farm and a touch of Halen Môn Anglesey vanilla sea salt. But what adds to the interest is that I moulded this particular bar at Damson's kitchen!

The aroma was gherkin, dill, peppercorn - long live Polska! This was unexpected as I have experienced Crayfish Bay cacao before, but mostly because I tasted the melted version and a tempered version of this batch of chocolate and both had more of a dairy profile

The taste started very tannic, then came sherbet straws, goats cheese with that slight tanginess, and very creamy mascarpone and cream cheese. It reminded me of the chocolate baked cheesecake I made once. There was acidity, creaminess and that gherkin passes by again

Particularly for a milk chocolate the thickness of the mould is really good. Oh, and this Laverstoke Farm buffalo milk tastes great! I enjoyed this chocolate, mostly for its showcase of creaminess and acidity combining

This bar isn't for sale online, however it may be able to be found at the Chocolate Show (Oct 16-18, London)

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Doble & Bignall Coffee Infusion

This is a quick review. Read more about the wonderful Doble & Bignall on my first post and you can even meet them at this year's Chocolate Show (October 16-18th) in London!

I first tasted this bar with Damson chocolate/Chocablog. I expressed as a coffee chocolate it was impressive, so I got to take it home with me!

The aroma was the Puerto Cabello Venezuela cacao for sure, but the rich coffee dominated. I liked it like this, as there were some unpleasant notes in the Venezuelan chocolate alone (you can see in my first post) ... But overall the profile was coffee, chocolate and spice

The taste was lovely, the perfect morning antidote for my awful night sleep. The coffee had acidity and overall this 72% dark chocolate tasted so rich and refreshing

The Arabica coffee within comes from Kilimanjaro and is infused into the cocoa butter, something unique in coffee chocolate making I'd say. This Coffee Infusion was delightful

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Damson Nicaragua O'Payo 70

This chocolate was one of 15 made. Currently there are a few bars remaining, but not for long. The cacao beans are organic from Nicaragua, hand-sorted, roasted, winnowed, ground, aged and tempered all in London, micro-batch style, by Damson 

The aroma was interestingly potent with a softness amidst. Firstly it's chocolate and pure cocoa nibs (slightly metallic) that hits you, with saline, blackcurrant, citrus and ham. The softness was lime sherbet and Honeysuckle. This was a captivating aroma
Damson chocolate always has a wonderful smooth melt and mouth texture. This O'Payo felt and tasted very creamy. The taste was acidic! Sweet & sour. Then lots of flowers came in, with black currants and balsamic blackberries with lime

Such citrus and lively acidity is what I am fond of when it comes to chocolate. It was an interesting chocolate, and with it being limited edition just makes it that more interesting... and I don't believe any other chocolate makers are using O'Payo as single variety 

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Ananda Chia Chic & Coffee Break 70%

The organic Ecuadorian cacao is sourced from Los Ríos and Guayas provinces. The cane sugar from Pichincha farmers. The chia seeds and coffee also have specified local origins. The chocolate is made in Guayaquil, Ecuador and then shipped to the Netherlands to the Amigos family. This is similar to how Madécasse operate! The packaging is ecologically good too. Errrrr, so far I am loving Ananda!

Chia Chic
The aroma was earthy, pepper, toasted and slightly metallic. The chia seeds didn't add anything to the taste, I didn't expect them too, but they added much to the texture. Their crunches were quite fun! In taste was vanilla, flowers, dark chocolate. I could feel acidity on the tongue, and bitterness (cocoa) lingered. The finish was like the aftertaste of having had the richest, darkest, chocolatiest chocolate cake

Coffee Break
A beautiful coffee aroma, reminding me of Chocolate & Love's coffee affair. The initial taste was numb, starting with cocoa (no sugar) then lemon boiled sweets or Fisherman's Friend. But when chewing, that is when it all happened. It was fresh filtered coffee, brown sugar crystals pouring in and grated dark chocolate melting within - beautiful. There was distinct great acidity too

The chocolate didn't melt easily, with an almost waxy texture; however, I felt this to be its only flaw, as when I got into the chocolate ... I really got into it ... and it was ... delicious