Letterpress Chocolate Trinidad 70% Dark Chocolate With Mint

My co-worker Dini M. brought in this Letterpress bar for us to try.

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This bar was delicious, like a melting Thin Mint in your mouth. I think I liked it better than their regular Trinidad bar, and I really enjoyed that one. The only downside of the mint flavor is that it hid any single origin notes in this bar, which I liked in the regular bar. My co-workers loved this bar, with many people taking seconds.

The inside label had a special message I didn’t see in the other Letterpress bars.

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Truer words were never spoken, Ben. No one should eat bad chocolate. Set aside your Hershey and try some Lindt or Vosges.

Thanks Dini!

Letterpress Chocolate Trinidad 70% Dark Chocolate

The next day, we tried another Letterpress bar, this one from Trinidad.

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This bar tasted completely different! There was a distinct sweet fruity aftertaste, like some kind of berry. I loved it, and I had two more pieces. My co-workers liked it too, but none of them could agree on exactly what the flavor was. People guessed everything from grapes to bananas. It was awesome.

Thanks Dini!

Francois Pralus Trinidad

We tried another Pralus bar, this time a single origin bar from Trinidad.

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This bar was very good. Like the other Pralus single origin bars, this one had a special note to its taste, in this case a sour note towards the end. It was not unpleasant, but it was curious in that it tasted fruit-like but bore no resemblance to any fruit I can think of. It was vaguely citrus, but not really lemon or lime like. I enjoyed it, but I noticed that few of my co-workers had seconds, so I don’t think this was a popular Pralus bar.

Thank you again, Brian!

J.D. Gross Single Origin Tablets

Tina, my HR Director, also gave me these single-origin chocolate tablets, also from J.D. Gross.

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I tried this 60% cacao one from Brazil first, and it was very good. Dark but sweet.

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I was surprised that this Venezuela chocolate, at only 56% cacao, tasted more chocolatey than the 60% Brazilian one. This is just more evidence that chocolate origin matters.

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This tablet from Ecuador was really good, dark and bitter.

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And this tablet from Trinidad was the best, being dark and rich and at that perfect cacao percentage of 75%.

These chocolates reminded me of the ones that my friend Lucy found at the Museum of Chocolate in France, but those listed a different company on their labels, and many of the countries are different too. Still, they tasted very similar, so I suspect they may be made by the same manufacturer and then labeled differently by different stores.

Pralus Pyramide des Tropiques

In August of 2011 on my birthday, I was in Seattle in Chocolopolis, a small chocolate shop in Queen Anne Hill, where I found this package of ten small chocolate bars, a tasting pack of chocolate.

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These were delicious, all of them. I must admit that my memory of the day is a bit hazy, as birthday libations followed my visit to this store, and I misplaced these and a few other labels after the trip, which is why they are appearing out of date order in my blog. But I remember tasting each bar and finding them all to be exquisite. All of them are single origin, and all were 75% cacao. I will need to try more bars from Pralus.

BTW, the Chocolopolis store was really amazing too. They have a wide range of unusual and rare chocolates, at least here in the States. They are worth a visit if you are in Seattle.

And speaking of libations, I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year’s Eve tonight! I’ll see you back here in 2014, with a whole bunch of new chocolates.

Ethel’s Artisan collection

My boss Jeremy returned from a trip to Las Vegas with a most wonderful gift box of Ethel M’s chocolate bars. I want to capture the moment, so let’s go through this step by step (yes, this will be a long post). First there was the bag.

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I had heard of Ethel M’s Chocolates, but I had never had it before. The company was started in 1980 by the man behind the Mars candy company, after he had retired and grown bored. He wanted to make fine chocolates, and he named the company after his mother, who had taught him about chocolate making.

Inside the bag was a box and a card. The card attempted to prepare me for what lay in store.

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I turned my attention to the box, and its label made my mouth water.

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The box contained five different dark chocolate bars, each one with a different taste created solely with chocolates from particular countries around the world. I was so excited that I immediately called a chocolate eating meeting so that we could explore these chocolates.

The first bar was a single origin bar from Trinidad.

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This bar was only 55% cacao, but it tasted much richer than that. There was a very earthy taste to the chocolate, almost like coffee. It was very good!

Then we turned our attention to the red vanilla bar.

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This bar was great! It has a surprising smokey taste, but the vanilla flavor was strong too. Neither flavor overpowered the chocolate, which was creamy and very good too.

We quickly moved on to the remaining three bars.

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The Madagascar-Peru bar was our first (and only) disappointment. It tasted like a cheap dark chocolate bar – waxy, not very flavorful, brittle. I was shocked, since the other 55% cacao bar was excellent. I was also disappointed because this was my first chocolate bar from Peru.

The Venezuelan-Trinidad bar was very good, and it had the same earthy notes as the Trinidad bar above. Everyone really liked it, and it made up for the previous disappointing bar.

Finally, there was the Porcelana bar. At 70% cacao, it was very bitter, but it was awesome in its flavor. Very deep and rich, and this was the first time I had ever tried a bar made from the famous white-hulled porcelana beans. If this bar is an example of how those cacao beans taste, I am a convert!

All in all, this was one of the finest chocolate gifts I have ever received. The packaging and presentation were excellent, and the chocolate itself was fantastic. I must visit the Ethel M store the next time I am in Las Vegas.

Thanks Jeremy!