I found this unusual bar at the high-end grocery store in Pike Market in Seattle.
This bar is made by Zotter, the company that makes the great mousse bar and the good chocolate mint bar. This bar caught my eye with its Latin American version of Prince on the front label. He wanted me to eat this chocolate like it was 1999.
When I opened the package, this card fell out.
Who is this woman telling me how to eat chocolate? She looked like Lucille Ball and the Joker had a baby, whose nose then fell off. And the back side was even more weird.
“Tickle the chocolate with your tongue”? “Feel the aromas”? Who writes this stuff?
Anyway, I discovered the package held two chocolate bars, and even more story.
So while this chocolate is single origin, it is a mix of criollo and white criollo (or Porcelana) beans. I love Porcelana chocolate, so I was grinning as much as crazy Josef there on the right.
And when I folded the package open, there was even more story.
OK, this bar is vegan and organic and fair-trade. So that is why it was so expensive. But is it good?!
This bar had a deep rich chocolate flavor that I really liked. It didn’t have much of a single origin note, possibly because different cacao beans were blended, but it was still very good. I think the addition of the Porcelana beans added some extra chocolate umph! My co-workers liked it but didn’t love it, with some of them thinking it tasted a little off. Maybe the sight of Peruvian Prince on the front cover put them off. Who knows? I liked it.
My co-worker David W. gave me this Peruvian bar to try.
I have had Pascha bars before (and I loved them), but never with lucuma fruit powder mixed with it, so I was intrigued. This bar was good too, with a nice rich chocolate flavor, but the lucuma added a grittiness to it, as if the cacao had not been conched correctly. There was also a faint flavor, something woody or starchy, that I could not quite place, so I assume that was the lucuma too. I liked it, and my co-workers liked it too, since the bar disappeared quickly. An unusual chocolate!
My co-worker Dini M. gave me this box of eight single-origin chocolate tablets.
I have had Marcolini chocolate before, both as tablets and a single-origin bar, but never single-origin tablets.Inside, the tablets were marked by country, including one from Cuba, my first ever Cuban chocolate.
Robert and I split each tablet, and they were great! The ones from Madagascar and Ghana were the most chocolatey, with Peru and Brazil being less so, and Cuba and Ecuador were somewhat grainy, as if they had been conched less than the others. I am not sure where the Pierre Marcolini chocolates were from, but they didn’t have any single origin notes to them. All of the tablets were very good though.
My friend Lucy H. sent me this chocolate from France.
OMG, another porcelana bar, and this one is from beans from Peru and not Venezuela. I was super excited to try this bar, but it had melted and bloomed in transit. I ate it anyway, with some co-workers, and we all agreed it was still pretty good, with a nice deep rich chocolate flavor. I’d love to try this brand fresh.
I found this bar in a high end grocery store in Pike Market in Seattle.
Oh. My. God. Not only is this bar made from the same white cacao beans as the Amedei Porcelana (which the store also had, and I bought, and I ate), but each bar is made from the beans from one tree. How single origin is that?! Not just beans from one country or one county or one farm…one tree! And this bar was almost as good as the Amedei. It had such a deep and rich chocolate flavor. It was so chocolatey, almost like the pure essence of chocolate. I loved it. If I had not just eaten the Amedei bar, I would have wondered if this was better. It was close…so close…but not better. But at half the price, you can bet I will have more!
This was the last of the bars that I found in Harris Teeter’s in North Carolina.
Like their Uganda bar, this HT Traders bar is made in Belgium but with cacao sourced from Peru. I thought it was very good, and my co-workers liked it too, but I think their 70% nibs bar was better, and their Uganda bar even better. That’s not to say this bar was bad. I liked it, and so did my co-workers, but why settle for 64% when you can have 80%?!
Chris J. brought in one last Vermont bar.
This bar was different than the last two. Instead of sugar or maple sugar, it contained xylitol, a sugar alcohol that provided no calories. This sugar free mix made it much smoother than the other bars, but it also gave it a slightly minty aftertaste. I thought it was OK, but some of my co-workers were put off by it, and it lasted a lot longer than the other bars. I still thought it was a unique experience.