Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Chocolate Tree Peru Chilique 70%
First tried this chocolate back in October 2016, and it became the ultimate highlight of the Chocolate Show that year, for me. It wasn't exactly ready for sale back then, and was only available to try on request - kinda like on a if you know, you know basis

A year later, and this Chocolate Tree Chililique 70% was again the highlight of the Chocolate Show for me, as well as the Gran Nativo chocolate they crafted (though this one was not for sale, more to showcase the Gran Nativo cacao to chocolate makers)

Aroma was at first not too loud, a little wheat and biscuity, some prunes. I go at it again, and bam! Sour sauce, peppery, herbaceous (oregano, thyme), um... Monster Munch crisps, MSG (monosodium glutamate), woaaaaah

It's a toasted bite, smoked. Then when on the tongue, it's sweet and sour, with the sour balancing with savoury notes. There is a strong acidic kick, like a squeeze of lemon juice. Nearing the finish, it's a smooth chocolate-y flavour that gets attention, a flavour that was probably always there, as the foundation

An avant-garde chocolate I feel. Good stuff

Dormouse Guatemala 72

Dormouse, micro batch craft chocolate, use Muscovado sugar, this being maybe my favourite sugar, and always they get their hands on really great cacao beans. This bar, as you can see, is a Silver award winning bar. Many people have mentioned the Gatsby-esq pattern of the packaging...
A strong aroma as soon as. A little ferment-y, very bright. Root beer spices. The flavour's richness is molasses and toffee, with acidity like lemons and fruitiness of blueberries. It becomes fairly tannic and oaky in the finish. I also picked up on milkiness and raisins a couple times

Strong aroma, strong flavour. I really love Dormouse craft chocolate 

Friday, 8 September 2017

Omnom Tanzania 70%

Following Omnom Chocolate on Instagram is beautiful, when I check in on all their new flavour trials and general chocolate making

Cacao from Tanzania, raw cane sugar, cocoa butter. It was the first time seeing the new mould in real life, it looks good

The taste starts woody, much like other Omnom bars, then flow in red currants, with raspberry! Then the sweetness of a 70%. It succumbs to a "perfect" acidity

A really good chocolate, really amazing

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Solkiki Marañón 70 Unroasted

This post is well overdue, having been given the bar at last years Chocolate Show (London 2016) and then finally opening it the following Easter

Bob and Iris are the two chocolate makers behind Solkiki, and when we met for the first time, this friendship meant they wanted to gift me a chocolate bar of theirs. Tasted all, listened to Bob give a little background into each bar, and my choice had to be the UNROASTED Maranon
Solkiki's Marañón was smoky, astringent on tongue, a little metallic, black tea. The melt was somewhat gummy. And overall, it left me thinking: I like that

Both Solkiki and Chocolate Tree have mentioned how delicate the Marañón is when it comes to roasting the beans, so it's a Peruvian region worth trying 

Monday, 17 April 2017

Palette De Bine 70% Guatemala

PALETTE DE BINE is a Canadian chocolate maker. The face behind the chocolate is Christine Blais. 2016 was the year of Canadian craft chocolate, I feel, so what a great year for me to have visited Canada and try lots of untested makers, PALETTE DE BINE being one of them
The 70% Guatemala: flavours of rooibos tea, wood, black currants, and overall very sharp. First impressions were that is was heavy on apple cider vinegar, but with subsequent tastes, it calmed down

In the International Chocolate Awards 2016, PALETTE DE BINE was immensely recognised for its quality

Monday, 6 March 2017

Soma Porcelana & CSB Chama

SOMA 2015 Golds. The Porcelana and the CSB Chama. The bars were bought in Soma's Distillery District, Toronto factory in the summer of 2016.

The packaging is cool on the eye. Somewhat flawed, or genius, in that it cannot be resealed
Porcelana 70% had an aroma of mulberries, chocolate, molasses. The taste was too mulberries, a stout like Guinness, cream crackers, fresh churned butter, the texture was very creamy. The finish was "chocolate

CSB Chama 70% is a Porcelana-Ocumare hybrid. The Ocumare is another Venezuelan cacao. The aroma was sweet and sour - punchier! Mulberries, fig tart, shortbread, very pretty. The taste started herby and creamy, then flowed in spices like aniseed and vanilla, then it became quite juicy. Fig biscuits. It subtly finished with prunes and chocolate, with the odd orange marmalade here and there 

Friday, 3 March 2017

Dandelion Chocolate

Founders with their backgrounds in the dot com bubble of Silicon Valley, now immensely respectable chocolate makers, Dandelion Chocolate is case study material. Chocolate factory & cafe, in San Fransisco and Tokyo, with menus too amazin

When Todd, founder of Dandelion Chocolate, visited Damson chocolate, he left 3 bars ...

Zorzal, Dominican Republic. Smooth in flavour, it was woody, walnut, caramel, brandy, chocolatey 

Camino Verde, Ecuador. Straight away digestive biscuits. It melts into chocolate fudge brownies, taking on my mum's approach to baking: cutting the sugar. It feels as if more sugar would have made the brownie-feel to be more effective, but overall super chocolatey and warm

Ambanja, Madagascar. Raspberry jam, liquorice, wholewheat, it was noticeably thicker in the melt. It was beautiful with its flavour. This one was so good, so, so, so good

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Ombar dark, mylk, and centres

Ombar, what is its purpose? You would think that Ombar is selling itself on being raw, "RAW CACAO" being defiantly stated. Sure, people must buy Ombar for its raw-ness. But its differentiation is its live cultures. I mean, there are a few "raw" chocolate makers out there, using low GI sugars too, but none that enrich their chocolate with live cultures

I like live cultures

The chocolate is made with unroasted Ecuadorian cacao, cocoa butter, coconut sugar and Lactobacillus acidophilus. The occasional bar has vanilla, creamed coconut, and also the eponymous additions. Ingredients are organic, obviously; it would be super weird if this wasn't stocked in Planet Organic

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The Chocolate Alchemist

The Chocolate Alchemist is a NOOOOTORIOUS chocolate maker in Philadelphia. The magic behind the chocolate is that they utilise cacao, and by doing so it becomes a "vehicle for true flavour, nutrition and energy"

The packaging, when in hand, is distinct. It is made from lokta paper (i.e. tree-free). The ingredients are all organic, and clean. Looking online there is great emphasis on paying fair prices for The Chocolate Alchemist's raw materials. Through and through this chocolate screams quality.

The 80% Philly Blend, a 5 different region blend, had an aroma of dill, coconut cream, vanilla, Muscovado, and a taste herbaceous, coconut, Muscovado, cream. The melt was a little sandy. The sugar was coconut sugar

The 75% Cultivagro was a single origin from Ecuador, sweetened with coconut sugar. I had the notes: smoky, lapsang souchong tea, leather, butterscotch, some peaty whisky; the mouthfeel had thoughts of astringency and tannins
80% Philly blend
The 90% Zarumilla, made from Tumbes Peruvian cacao, was super lime juice, pancakes, brown sugar, grassy bamboo, acidic juiciness, flowers. This one was sweetened by Colombian panela sugar
Clasico 60% was a dark milk chocolate, with a blend of 5 different cacao and sweetened by brown sugar. This was an inclusion bar with roasted hazelnuts, coconut, vanilla and salt. I felt this really could have been harmonious and toasty, it was instead quite raw in flavour 

Goat Maple 65% dark goat milk chocolate, with a blend of Dominican Republic and Peruvian cacao, sweetened with local maple sugar! It was like a creamy creamy creamy chocolate pudding, made with goats cheese obviously. The maple sugar here was a nice touch

Out of the collection, I was very much for the dark chocolates; particularly the Cultivagro and Zarumilla - these two being very nuanced 

Monday, 30 January 2017

Mast Brown Sugar

60% cacao, brown sugar, cacao butter, buttermilk. The cacao beans are from Tanzania, but this detail was found on the Mast website not packaging, most likely for the minimal aesthetic, but cleverly allows for cacao deviation

This particular 28g bar was Brooklyn-made, bought in Shoreditch. It had a gummy melt, obvious not much cocoa butter added, although suffice to create a milk chocolate (that would be 35% cocoa butter minimum). It was very sweet, especially so in the finish. The flavour was distinctly Mast Brothers'

Overall, I like Mast Brothers' flavoured chocolate a lot, this one wasn't a standout bar, but it was nice enough. I like the colours on the packaging, and the texture of that too. The chocolate having brown sugar and buttermilk feels American, I like that too

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Moser Roth Chocolate Liqueurs

Some throwback-feels with reviewing a product like this, a product like this being not craft chocolate! Holla! 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Dick Taylor 72% Black Fig

image: Caputo's Deli
Dick Taylor, handcrafted in Northern California, bought in UK up-market supermarket M&S, wow! That is a great moment for craft chocolate. Selected Marks & Spencer stores currently stock Dick Taylor's Belize and Black Fig bars. Belize I've had, so Black Fig I had to buy. I am fond of Dick Taylor craft chocolate, mostly because of their Belize bar...

The ingredients: organic cacao from Madagascar, organic cane sugar, black mission figs. The chocolate itself is just 2 ingredients. The figs get sprinkled on the back, although less do than I expected (from having seen pictures)

It was pretty vinegar in flavour, though the subtle fig was a nice touch. This chocolate probably tastes like Chocolate Noise's fig and balsamic vinegar truffles, if I ever had one. It lacked the fruity quality of Madagascan cacao, harnessing predominantly the acidity of it. It had a smooth melt, despite no added cocoa butter. Admittedly, I think anything I have said or could say about this particular bar is unreliable, as it just didn't seem like Dick Taylor's approach, nor did it match what other people have found the chocolate to be, i.e. great. (batch no. 16195, if you're interested)