Vanini 86% Cocoa Dark Chocolate

My co-worker Charlie S. brought this bar in for a chocolate eating meeting.

This bar was my first Vanini bar without any additional flavorings. It was very dark and rich tasting, if a bit dry. And there wasn’t a hint of bitterness or astringency in it. It was just pure dark chocolate.

Thanks Charlie!

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Venchi Buono Buonissimo

My co-worker Nicole E. went to London for vacation and returned with this bar.

This Italian dark chocolate bar was very big (at 3.5 ounces) and very dark (at 75% cacao). It was also one the smoothest and least bitter dark chocolate bars I have ever tasted. The flavor was very good too, but at such a high percentage of cacao, I expected a little bit of astringency or bitterness, and there was none. It was smooth and mellow. A very nice bar!

Thanks Nicole!

Loacker Dark-Noir

I found this bar at my grocery store.

I have had this bar before, in mini-form, from my friend Erik E. I thought it was delicious then, and I found the big bar equally yummy. It is a block that breaks into six pieces, each of which I cut in half to share with co-workers. Each piece is a wafer covered in chocolate filling and then covered in 60% cacao dark chocolate. YUM! I could have eaten the whole bar, and since I can get it at my grocery store now, I probably will.

What do I mean, probably? Definitely!

Vanini Dark Chocolate 62% With Pear And Cinnamon

My co-worker Charlie S. gave me this bar, which he found in a local grocery store.

The inside label had a description of where this Italian company buys its chocolate.

I have had a couple of Vanini bars before, one with cacao nibs and the other with rosemary, and I liked them both. This bar was no exception. I liked the chocolate flavor paired with pear bits and natural pear flavor, with just a hint of cinnamon. Many of my co-workers thought it tasted like bananas (except one guy who thought he tasted rum), and I agree that there was a banana-like aftertaste, but it could have just been the pear flavor. All I know is that this was a really good bar, and so far Vanini is three for three.

Thanks Charlie.

Ferrero Rocher

My friend Tiff C. gave me a huge box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates!

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Let’s look more closely at these beauties.

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Each one is a whole hazelnut surrounded by Nutella, wrapped in a spherical wafer (how do they do that?) and covered in milk chocolate and hazelnut bits. I have had the dark chocolate version, called Ferrero Rondnoir, but I’ve never blogged the original ones. And they are good too. Really good. Like seriously addictive. I ate three in a row and made myself stop. I am taking the rest to work.

Thanks Tiffany!

Vannucci Pasta Di Cacao Senza Zuccheri 100%

I found this bar in a small Italian grocery store in Palm Springs.

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Unfortunately, the bar had bloomed a little. I took great care of it in the Palm Springs heat, and the the truffles I got from Palm Springs Fudge And Chocolate had not bloomed, so I blame the store for improper storage. In any case, wow, was it astringent! It wasn’t nearly as bitter as I expected. In fact, it was quite smooth, with a deep chocolate flavor. But it sucked every last drop of water from my mouth as I chewed it. Most of my co-workers didn’t have seconds, and it was all I could do to eat three pieces. Then I drank a lot of water.

Maglio Extra Bitter 72%

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

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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!