Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Chocolatasm Marzipan Pistachio bars

All the way from the States, here is Georgian-based Chocolatasm's raw marzipan, topped with salted organic pistachios and coated in dark chocolate. The chocolate coating is bean-to-bar maker Map's 65% Belize cacao
The two bars feel substantial, you'd almost think if it had been mass-manufactured it would be marketed as a man's chocolate, typical, ... but then again, it's marzipan. Marzipan is an interesting subject, one that could split a room. Anyway, I love it

Chocolatasm's marzipan is creamy, and all natural. The salt from the pistachios was super, greatly enhancing the flavour, adding dimension to the almond of the marzipan

The chocolate bars feel like they are for luxury-living folk, and I wish I had more 

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Damson Café Brasil Notes Coffee Roasters

image Damson 
There are few pairings I love with chocolate, and coffee is one of them. This is Damson's first collaboration bar. Damson worked with Notes Coffee Roasters to compose this Café Brasil. The chocolate tells the story of two London based bean-maestros, taking their Brazilian beans (cocoa and coffee) and creating a Brazilian elixir. Note I was about to say the Brazilian elixir but, after conversing with Damson, I know to save that expression for another time!

The Brazilian cocoa is from Fazenda Camboa, cultivated by Cacao Bahia, and the coffee is from Cachoeirinha, being of the Red Catuai variety, produced by the 'Borges Family'
It was an aroma of coffee, earth, deep forests, biscuits. The taste started bitter but it was quick to melt and there came the sweetness and flavours. Biscuits, coffee, chocolate, acidity and a finishing cocoa. The flavour was rich and long-lasting

The chocolate was so smooth. There were no coffee grounds. Damson wanted a smooth texture with "an even flavour throughout. Something that will release flavour as it melts"

Such a smooth smooth texture. I particularly enjoyed sucking that acidity, I am all about juicy acidity with craft chocolate, it feels like summer. In my notes, I see I was quite excited about this chocolate, and finished the tasting with "BOOM"

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Mast Brothers Sea Salt

image MastBrothers.com
This bar of Mast Brothers' Sea Salt was bought in Los Angeles, made in the Mast's Brooklyn factory

The chocolate is a blend of Madagascan, Tanzanian, Peruvian and Brazilian beans. This isn't stated on the packaging due to the Mast's new minimalism. I found out such detail from their website

The first thought when opening the chocolate went to how great that salt looked. Clustered-up, thoughts of purity

It had an earthy aroma. In taste, the salt was instant sweetness of the chocolate, flowing to saline and the ocean. The chocolate was bitter, seeming a little 'tainted' with chilli, there were biscuit notes, but then great juicy fruits (blackberry) too. Tannins surface nearing the finish

The texture was smoother than what I had expected to come from Brooklyn-made Mast chocolate. However, I am sure that a company like Mast Brothers, after hearing light speculation that the London-made chocolate is better, is all for constant improvement

Friday, 18 March 2016

As it's nearly Easter, Honeycomb Easter Eggs

I hadn't realised just how near Easter is, and so I better get cracking. Having received two different easter eggs, and both coincidentally being honeycomb, I thought what a great opportunity to compare! Although, I use the word compare loosely, as comparison is the thief of joy, as they say

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Zotter Handscooped Walnut-Marzipan

Zotter makes 365 different chocolate bars in Austria, all using his own made chocolate, all organic, all fair-trade. In regards to the flavours of those 365 bars, some are classics, others more innovative. Zotter's single origin bean-to-bar range, named Labooko, is one I am particularly familiar with. Then there's Zotter's Hand-scooped range ... so many bars are oh so tempting, and few greatly experimental; think 'blood' 'artificial fertiliser' or cheese as flavours in chocolate

The Hand-scooped is quite the iconic range. And one evening, I had the temptation of walnut and marzipan

An aroma of chocolate biscuits and Italian amaretti biscuits. The look and feel reminded me of Penguin chocolate-biscuit bars. The taste was of biscuits, and the texture, with its prominent crispy bits. The crispiness was from the walnuts, of which had been caramelised and blitzed and mixed into the marzipan. Suddenly comes the attention-grabbing marzipan flavour

Of course there's amaretti/amaretto vibes, of course. The rum within gave bitterness, a bitterness that worked so well with all the flavours
The chocolate coating was so creamy, it's Zotter's dark-Mountain-milk chocolate. The ganache layer was gianduja-like, maybe because of the overall nutty flavours. My last bite I had a tiny speck of salt, and it gave a refreshment after such richness!

It all just worked, so well, so well indeed

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Cadbury Dairy Milk Big Taste

It may be hard to believe, but, I love Dairy Milk.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Original Beans Beni Wild Harvest 66%

The Beni Wild Harvest is a chocolate greatly admired, and very popular with Cocoa Runners (£4.45). The wild Beniano cacao that makes this chocolate grows on cacao forest islands in the Bolivian Amazon. And when it comes to the chocolate, Original Beans says it is delicate, yet expressive. Original Beans supports the preservation of Beni's forest islands. The ingredients are: fair-wild cacao, cacao butter and raw cane sugar (all organic) 
An aroma of earth, lapsang souchong (smoked tea), honey, apricot and figs. The taste was toasty, dark dark chocolate, it felt darker than 66%, there was slight bitterness, followed by subtle fruitiness, which opened up to essential orange oil, and now the chocolate was rather sweet. There was vanilla, leather, and pure richness. The finish was cocoa-rich dark chocolate

Introducing air into the mouth (aeration, achieved by taking an imaginary sip), I found a distinct liquorice. The texture was smooth, like the Swiss chocolate it is. The snap was crisp
Firstly I was underwhelmed with this Beni Wild Harvest, in my memory I had it down as being more "wild" in flavour, as I have tried the Beni many times before. Although admittedly I don't know if I just made that "wildness" up now, due to its name. The chocolate certainly grew on me. It wasn't so complex, I just enjoyed it's rich chocolatiness. If you love the pure chocolate flavour you will love this bar. I particularly love the ethics behind Original Beans, which you can find out more here

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Naive Berries

Naive is a Lithuanian bean-to-bar chocolate maker. Named "Berries", this is a 65% dark chocolate blended with strawberries, blueberries and currants. It had won silver in the 2015 Academy of Chocolate awards
An aroma of black forest gâteau, chocolate, honey. The melt was smooth and opened up to a long bitterness, then finally berry comes, and it's very bright. There was chocolate, metallic tones, tart raspberry (and raspberry wasn't even in it), blueberries. I then discovered it to be very acidic, with balsamic vinegar, and here was when I caught rich acidity in the aroma
After Naive's Honey bar, I was told by two different people that the Porcini was their favourite Naive chocolate. On that recommendation, I almost bought it, but a last minute decision led me to this Berries instead. I am really glad I did buy this as I REALLY liked it. And I must mention that Naive press their own cocoa butter! - That is something great to hear