Frango Mints, redux

A few weeks ago, a co-worker shared a few Frango mints from a small box she had. I love Frango mints, having been introduced to them in graduate school by a roommate who was from Chicago. They stopped make them for a while, but now they are back in production, and that same co-worker gave me a full-sized box of Frango mints this week. So, while I have already technically reviewed them, consider this a love letter of sorts, a love letter to Frango mints.


Frango mints come in a one-pound box adorned with a beautiful painting of Chicago. Inside are forty-six mints, arranged in a tight pattern.


Each mint comes wrapped in a paper cup. You can still see how the chocolate was poured from the little dollop on the top of the mint.


While I am not a huge fan of mint or milk chocolate, something about that combination works so well with Frango mints. They have a nice snap when you bite into them, and then they melt in your mouth, releasing a wonderful chocolate flavor with just a touch of mint, enough to taste but not enough to overpower the chocolate flavor. I shared these with my co-workers, and several wanted seconds and thirds. Lucky for them, the box holds a lot of mints. Lucky for me, I had some extra to take home. Dang, these are good chocolates, and I have missed them.

Thanks Michelle!


Francois Pralus Le 100%

For the second time in as many weeks, I find myself in possession of a single-origin 100% cacao chocolate bar (another gift from my co-worker Brian H).


This bar was not only single origin, but its beans are from a single valley in Madagascar, the Sambirano valley, one whose coordinates are on the front of this label: 17 degrees 5 minutes south, 47 degrees 20 minutes east. That puts the valley here.


Like the single origin Koko Black bar two weeks ago, this bar tasted sweet, even though it contained no sugar or other sweetener. The singular note was a slightly metallic “bright” note at the end, which doesn’t sound good but is really delicious. I shared this bar at the office, and my co-workers loved it. People had seconds, and in a few cases, thirds. Personally, I ate five pieces, and I think this bar was the best single origin chocolate bar I have ever tasted. Seriously, it was that good. I could eat this instead of sweetened bars, easily.

Thanks again Brian!

Francois Pralus Equateur

We tried another Pralus bar from the stack that Brian H. found in San Francisco.


This bar was single origin, with all of the beans coming from one county in Ecuador. It had a singular note too, a citrus one, which blended well with the chocolate and then left a faint sour note in your mouth. Like the Djakarta bar, this one seemed far sweeter than a 75% cacao bar should be, yet it was still deep and dark.

I have had this bar before, in the Pralus sampler I got in Seattle in 2011, but since the labels are different and I am trying each one by itself, I am including these bars again so I can record their individual tastes. And because they are awesome.

Thanks Brian!

Maglio Extra Bitter 72%

We continued to eat our way through the chocolate that my co-worker Brian H. brought back from San Francisco.


First of all, let me say how much I *loved* the label on this bar. It is a combination of the graphics of the 1960’s and the Victorian era and modern day, all rolled into one. And the chocolate was delicious. It looked MUCH darker than 72% bars usually do, and the flavor was very rich, yet it was creamier and sweeter than you’d expect. It disappeared quickly as my co-workers came back for seconds.

It turns out that I had had this brand once before, in truffle form, in a package sent to our company for Christmas from Valve. That was just as delicious as this bar, leading me to believe that this is a very good brand.

Thanks Brian!

Francois Pralus Djakarta

My co-worker Brian H. gave me this bar that he bought while on a trip he took to San Francisco for the Game Developer Conference 2016.


This bar was very good. It was very dark and very rich and tasted much sweeter than you would expect a 75% cacao bar to taste. We thought it was a single origin bar, since it had a very singular note like that of a sweet wine, but when I checked the back label, I saw that no, it was a mix a beans from Ghana and Indonesia, made in France. Still, while not a single origin bar, an excellent blend of cacao did go into this bar. Everyone loved it.

The name Pralus seemed familiar, and it turns out I have had this brand once before, in the form of a stack of ten 50g single origin bars, all 75% cacao. They were delicious, but I don’t remember how each individual bar tasted. Well, now is my chance to find out, because Brian brought back several full-size versions of those bars. So stay tuned, more Pralus is to come!

Thanks Brian!

Trader Joe’s Simply Nutty Dark Chocolate Nuts And Sea Salt Bar

I found a box of these dark chocolate and nut bars at Trader Joe’s over the weekend.


Wow, this bar was really good, being chock full of nuts on a base of good dark chocolate. And surprisingly, I think it was good for me! The first three ingredients are various nuts and fiber. Dark chocolate is listed fourth, and honey is fifth.

I may have found a decent work time snack!

Koko Black 54% Bar

This was my last bar that I purchased from Koko Black in Sydney.


This bar was very good. It was not as dark and rich as their 80% bar, of course, but it was still quite yummy. It was smooth and had a nice deep flavor. I have now eaten all of the chocolate from Koko Black, Haigh’s and Josophan’s that I bought, and I think Koko Black and Haigh’s are quite close as chocolatiers and are probably tied for second place as the best chocolate in Sydney. But after Josophan’s 70% São Thomé bar, that chocolatier gets first prize.