Sunday, 29 November 2015

Rococo Chocolate

After talking to Rococo, I had successfully bagged myself some chocolate for potentially a Christmas review. Although, as I didn't receive their Christmas Pudding bar, which by the way sounds DELICIOUS, this post couldn't possibly be a Christmas one! Nonetheless, here I have a very nice selection ... I also noticed that Rococo chocolate bars now come in card and plastic packaging opposed to paper

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Chocolate Tree 60% Peru Marañón Milk

image from Chocolate Tree
The Chocolate Tree, since my last series of reviews, have changed their packaging. It now seems more reflectant upon the cacao, of which it is, as the tessellations are inspired by the cacao's country of origin, so their Madagascar, Peruvian and Venezuelan bars each have different patterns 
This is a dark milk chocolate, made from Nacional cacao grown in a remote canyon at the foothills of the Andes. I recently had another 60% dark milk, from Seaforth, however this Chocolate Tree bar feels more of a milk chocolate

Opening up the plastic packaging, it became a bag of toffee popcorn. The chocolate itself was more floral and milky, with some metallic blur
The taste, however, did have rich toffee, with then a blunt bitterness on the back of the tongue and again metallic. This chocolate is very enjoyable. It was less sweet than a 70%, I would have liked more sweetness, however the creaminess makes up for that

Monday, 23 November 2015

Damson Brazil 70% Fazenda Camboa

For Damson, this chocolate is currently limited edition, but, thinking from their perspective, it is too good not to make more! The cocoa beans are from the Fazenda Camboa farm in Bahia (Eastern Brazil). I was given this bar by Damson due to the ill-tempering, however, apart from a little surface scuff, the temper seems up to Damson-standard
Forest, prune, rich acidity nose, with depths of earth and coffee. It had a wildness to it ...
The taste was dark and dark chocolate, then opened a sweetness and came in mango and an apple's juiciness and lots of acidity

Oh man. From the unroasted bean, gifting me with Marmite brownie, to the actual chocolate, this Brazilian has utterly delighted me! 

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Omnom Dark Cherries + Almonds

          'tis the season for festive chocolate   ?        
picture by Omnom 
Just like Omnom's 2014 limited edition, which was Dark Nibs + Raspberries, this chocolate was a 66% Madagascar

I love Omnom. Their brand is amazing and spot on with the packaging, their 45% Milk of Madagascar has to be illegal (it is that good), they make good chocolate and they just seem cool

Salt & vinegar crisps to the nose. The taste was very cherry and balsamic vinegar! The nuts added crunch and creaminess to taste and the cherries added chew. The cherry matched well with the fruity Madagascan chocolate, and I think salt with vibrant Madagascan always works really well
Overall, a good looking chocolate, a good tasting one too. There are four ingredients that aren't usually found in chocolate of this calibre nor style (sprinkling of fruit and nuts) which discredits Omnom for me. But hey, the 66% chocolate itself has excellent ingredients. And this would make for a cool gift

Friday, 20 November 2015

Duffy's Corazon del Ecuador 43% milk chocolate with nibs & oak smoked salt

This "heart of Ecuador" milk chocolate is made from Camino Verde cacao in Cleethorpes, UK. I was told, and this resonated with me when thinking and eating the chocolate, that the chocolate gets poured into the moulds halfway, for the cocoa nibs and salt to be sprinkled, and then the rest of the chocolate is poured

The aroma was Belgian milk chocolate, very caramel-like, and malted milk biscuits with the milk chocolate coating

It was a soft bite, leading to a biscuity taste, just like Duffy suggests! It was salted caramel and very creamy. To begin with there was a lemon grass edge to this chocolate and also the occasional taste of the paper wrapping. Once I was gifted with a real smokiness together with coffee. The studded nibs had a really chocolatey flavour, "woah"
To get the most out of this chocolate, one must chew. Chew to experience the crunches, to have the darkness of the nibs cut through that sweetness asap, and to crunch that salt (the salt enhances and adds to the great flavour)

This was a sweet milk chocolate, even in comparison to Willie's Milk of the Gods which is a 44%. It was refreshing to get the nibs throughout the taste (hence, chew!) And overall, this chocolate proves to a very popular one amongst those who try it!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Chocolate Makers Dominican Republic 75% & 40%

These Tres Hombres bars get their name from the sailing ship the Dominican Republic cacao within is transported on. Chocolate Makers is a Dutch bean to bar chocolate maker
40% milk
The aroma was green and wheat. First thing I found in taste was that the paper affected it. The chocolate was wholewheat crackers, red berry, with the salt sweetening up the flavour tremendously; the chocolate became very acidic. The finish was a bakery's brown paper bag

Now this aroma was more earthen and leather; the taste still lingered with paper, however the earthiness, leather and a deep roast dominated. The nibs, of which added great dimension, didn't seem like they were the same as the chocolate, as they were very bright and fruity! Occasionally the chocolate along with the nibs possessed a banana skin taste

Paper wrapping often has a detrimental effect on chocolate. The Chocolate Tree have recently gotten rid of their paper wrapping due to this problem

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Mast Brothers Olive Oil Chocolate

Dark chocolate and cold pressed olive oil. If you're in the craft chocolate circle, you'll either be shocked that Mast Brothers have ditched single origin from their range, or you just won't care (in pretence)

To the nose: woody, smoky, slow to get the olive oil, but olive oil was most definitely there, red fruits surface. The bite was soft, reminiscent of gianduja, the melt was smooth and cool. An olive oil flavour poured out, with peppery and very acidic chocolate
The goodness hits just before the chocolate is gone! But that goodness was awesome. The finish was a little bitter and astringent, so it was a shame that the chocolate ends poorly, but I really liked when the cacao shone through: cacao = fruity, jammy. Mast Brothers work with blended chocolate now, but I *think* this has definitley got Madagascar in it

Friday, 6 November 2015

Blanxart Dominican Republic 72

The aroma was vanilla, leather, cocoa, slightly smoked, roasted. For a Dominican Republic bar it's not something I quite expected, as I've known its cacao to be so fruity. HOWEVER, Hispaniola cacao was once known to be more earthy and robust with tobacco etc.! 

The flavour was as I can only describe as Bruce Bogtrotter's chocolate cake (from Roald Dahl's 'Matilda'). The taste came in layers: a fine cocoa dusting, followed by an intensely rich, dark chocolate creamy ganache, then finally a slightly sweeter moist sponge. Surprisingly the chocolate yielded a clean finish

I know many who are in love with this bar, and it's extremely popular at Cocoa Runners ...

It is interesting how such a pure chocolate flavour comes from this Dominican cacao, especially with such specifics of being grown in "Medina, Provincia de San Cristobal"
There are times when small-scale chocolate makers working with fine cacao wish for solely a *chocolate* flavour, not "raspberry, peaches and leather" - in this case the Chocolate Alchemist will advise you to blend your cocoa beans, as a *chocolate* flavour is not one single molecule, but an amalgamation of many!

However, this 72% Blaxart is not a blend... So, if you're working with one origin and just want that chocolate flavour, could you simply find cacao beans with a *chocolate* flavour? It's possible. But you'd be better off higher-roasting to eliminate those fancy nuanced tasting notes (e.g raspberry, pineapple, hazelnut), aerate to further diminish those nuances and add vanilla. It seems likely that this is how Blanxart achieved such chocolatiness

Overall, this chocolate gifts a warm, rich experience 

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Seaforth Cow's Milk 60% Cacao

Seaforth is an interesting British chocolate maker. The cocoa beans they use to make chocolate are shipped from the Caribbean (the Dominican Republic and Grenada) on a brigantine, meaning no engine, solely the wind brings them ashore 

The aroma was lime, so beautiful. It smelt like Grenadian cacao. The taste started with bitterness and tannins, but the lime and acidity came in quickly, with panforte (particularly almond & hazelnut) and creaminess. The panforte and dairy with such powerful acidity at first was somewhat unsettling... but this was a really good chocolate

Overall, it's fruity, creamy and just amazing. I cannot quite remember what Seaforth's dark chocolate tasted like (I tried them at the London Chocolate Show), however I know I fell heavily more towards this dark milk chocolate

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Olive & Sinclair 67% Cacao Nib

Handcrafted in Tennessee, Olive and Sinclair is a chocolate maker I visually recognised but hadn't seen nor heard much about, especially compared to other American craft chocolate makers

Buttery and subtle gherkin aroma, lead into a light gherkin, buttery taste. Pretty nice, a smooth flavour. The nibs had a metallic nibby taste and added crunch against the smooth textured chocolate. Then began to pour in a pure dark chocolate taste

This Southern artisan chocolate was enjoyable, it was nothing inspiring just an easy, smooth chocolate. Ghanaian cacao beans, brown sugar and cocoa butter. The use of brown sugar stands out