Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chocolate Reviews, February 28

This week's chocolate reviews!

My weekly tasting this week had an interesting theme: chocolates from companies that were newer than the store. They also announced that it was the last Tasty Tuesday they would be holding :(  I still have a stockpile of chocolate left from Christmas, and I'll be attending the Chocolate Salon this weekend, so I have no fear that I'll run out of chocolate to review anytime soon!

Summary of the week's chocolates: I'm still loving chocolates by Patric and Xocolatl de David!

(Since I'm moving my content onto Blogger, I'm going to include my notes on all of the chocolate I've had by a particular maker when I write up, not just the ones from this past week.  This week's bars will be in bold.  Comments in [] are subsequent tasting notes, for when I try a bar more than once.)

Xocolatl de David
  • Almond & Pimentón: 68% dark chocolate from Boliva.  Contains cocoa butter.  “Marcona almonds fried in extra virgin olive oil, and seasoned with smoked spanish paprika, and fleur de sel”.  Tasting notes: This bar is amazing.  Smooth, glossy dark chocolate with a subtle bitterness, with whole flavorful almonds, a nice spice from the paprika, and an amazing salty finish.  The tasting experience is incredibly complex, starting with the bitterness and almond flavor, moving into some spice, and finishing with a great smoky, salty flavor. [ This bar is really good to have a small bite of, but it gets old fast.  After having it a number of days in a row, I’m pretty sick of it. ] [ After not having it for a while, it grew on me again.  Nice smokey flavor. ]
  • Brown Butter Bar:   “Brown butter (local sweet cream butter cooked, first to remove the moisture content, and second to caramelize the remaining milk solids), and mix it with a 72% chocolate from Ecuador, then add a little fleur de sel.” Contains cocoa butter. Tasting notes: Incredibly smooth, amazing buttery flavor.  This reminded me of a perfect dessert, turned into a chocolate bar!  It basically had all of the flavors of a lovely brown butter cake, drizzled with caramel and chocolate.  A complex tasting experience, and really quite delicious!
Patric Chocolate, LLC
  • Signature 70% Blend.  A blend (obviously) from 4 countries.  Contains cocoa butter.  Tasting notes:  This one disappointed me, there really wasn’t much going on at all.  Completely forgettable.
  • Signature dark milk.  Contains whole milk powder and cocoa butter.  Less sugar and higher cacao percentage than standard milk chocolate.  Tasting notes:  This may be my favorite milk chocolate (replacing TCHO’s 53% dark milk chocolate).  I dont’t tend to like milk chocolate very much, but this was pretty great.  The chocolatier said that it is also a bar that people who like milk chocolate and don’t like dark chocolate enjoy, sort of a crossover bar.  It was creamy in the way that milk chocolate is, while still having a fairly complex “chocolatey” flavor. [ creamy like mlik chocolate, but flavorful like dark. really good for a milk chocolate, really lovely smooth mouthfeel ]
  • 75% Madagascar.  Contains cocoa butter.  Tasting notes: Very flavorful!  Incredibly complex with both strong fruity flavors and strong bitterness.  This is everything I want a dark chocolate bar to be. [ dark, bitter, lovely flavors ]
  • In-NIB-itable Bar.  Contains cocoa butter.  70% Madagascar, topped with nibs.  Tasting notes: Like the 75% Madagascar, incredibly flavorful with both strong fruity (in particular, cherry) and bitter notes.  The nibs on top add a great texture, crunch, and additional bitterness.  When I’m in the mood for something with crunch, this would be a fantastic pick. [ nice dark chocolate, nice crunchy nibs, like it! ] [ Strong cherry notes again, smooth chocolate, love the crunch from the nibs on top ]
  • PBJ OMG.  “A smooth blend of dark roasted peanut butter plus cacao w/ naturally occurring jam-like bursts of berry flavor that results in one way-too-easy-to-eat chocolate bar.”  Contains cocoa butter, peanuts, salt.  Tasting notes: Loved it, as I’m a sucker for a great peanut butter and chocolate combination!  Also, how can you go wrong with a name like this? [ Again, loved it.  I love how the peanut butter is infused throughout the chocolate, making it creamy and silky, like a milk chocolate, but it doesn’t contain any dairy.  The flavor also combines so perfectly, unless something like a peanut butter cup where you get some bites with more/less of each component, this is just perfectly blended throughout with no separation of flavors.  Incredible! ] [ So smooth, so creamy, so peanut buttery, love it! ]
Dandelion Chocolate.  The bars I sampled were all 70%,  single origin, with no cocoa butter, no vanilla, no lecithin, etc.  It was really interesting to see the profound differences in the bars, given that they have the same cocoa percentage and no extra ingredients, so the real difference does come from the beans.
  • 70% Costa Rica.  Tasting notes: Fell short for me.  Flavors were ok but pretty forgettable and not complex at all.  They describe it themselves as a good starter chocolate since it is mild and not overbearing.
  • 70% Madagascar.  Tasting notes: Hello there fruit!  This was an incredibly fruity bar.  [ This was the first chocolate I’ve ever had that required opening up. At first bite, you kinda tasted nothing, and then a few seconds later it hit.  A very firm chocolate, with a snap to it when you bit into it.  I didn’t really like this, as the flavor wasn’t particularly pronounced and I like chocolate smoother and creamer. ]
  • 70% Venezuelan.  Tasting notes: Nice classic bitter dark chocolate.  My favorite of their bars.
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