Chocolate Santander 70%

I found this chocolate bar at an upscale little grocery store in the Pike Place Market in Seattle.

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This was a very good chocolate bar. The chocolate had a deep roasted flavor, almost coffee-like, even though there was no coffee (or any other non-chocolate) ingredient in this bar. The taste is all from its single country origin.

Ghirardelli Espresso Escape

Kristy brought this Ghirardelli bar to a chocolate eating meeting.

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This bar was fantastic! The espresso flavor was intense, probably because the beans were ground and mixed into the chocolate. I could still taste the dark chocolate too, and it was a rich, deep chocolate flavor, but it was almost lost in the overwhelming coffee taste. I remember someone at the eating meeting mentioned that this would be a “great breakfast chocolate”, which I thought was an excellent idea.

Russell Stover Marshmallow & Dark Chocolate

My co-worker Victoria brought this item into work right before Halloween in 2010.

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Even though I think of Russell Stover about the same as Whitman chocolates, meaning they are both low quality candies that you find at the drug store, I was surprised by this Halloween candy…at first. I took a bite and thought “wow, this is really good dark chocolate”. It was very flavorful and not at all waxy like I expected.

But then there was the marshmallow. It tasted all chemical and nasty, and its texture was mealy. It ruined an otherwise good chocolate experience. And I thought “Ah, there’s the Russell Stover that I expected”.

True story.

Vosges Creole Bar

My co-worker Kristy brought this unusual Vosges bar to a chocolate eating meeting at work.

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This bar was delicious. Yes, the chocolate was fantastic, just like all Vosges bars, but what really impressed me was the intense coffee flavor. The combination of espresso and chicory made for an amazingly deep and rich coffee taste that went very well with the dark chocolate. To be honest, those flavors were so strong that the cacao nibs were almost tasteless next to them, and they only added some texture to the bar.

I am impressed the Vosges can take such unusual ingredients (when was the last time you had chicory?) and make such amazing chocolate bars that showcase those flavors without masking the chocolate taste.

Amedei Toscano Blond

Kristy brought another Amedei bar to the chocolate eating meeting.

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This bar was delicious! It was an excellent dark chocolate, tasting much richer and darker than just 63% cacao, and it contained little freeze-dried bits of nectarines and peaches. Like with the Amedei Tuscano Red bar, I think I have come to enjoy fruit and chocolate…when it’s done right! Chocolatiers take note: don’t use dried, sticky, chewy fruit chunks in your chocolate, but instead use crispy, tasty, freeze-dried fruit! It’s way better!

Teance truffles by Charles Chocolates

My co-worker Kristy came back from a trip to San Francisco with a bunch of chocolates for the office chocolate eating meeting group to try. We tried this package of truffles first.

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These dark chocolate truffles were infused with various teas, plus one fruit truffle (lichee). There was a list inside the package.

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The consensus of the chocolate eating meeting was that these truffles were delicious. I didn’t get to try them all, but I did like the oolong one, and I loved the jasmine one. There are not many floral chocolate being made, so I liked how different it was.

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar

I found this exceptionally long named bar at Trader Joe’s.

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It was interesting to try this bar on the same day as yesterday’s Valrhona bar and compare two 85% cacao bars. While the Valrhona was excellent, it was also very single note in its taste. The Trader Joe’s bar was quite the opposite in flavor, while still being excellent too. On first bite, it tasted fruity, almost berry-like, but that quickly turned sour as I chewed it. By the time I swallowed, all that remained was an earthy flavor, so my mouth was ready for the next bite’s fruitiness. All in all, it was a very complex bar, quite unexpected from Trader Joe’s and its low price point.