Posts Tagged ‘Bar’

Amano Jembrana 70%

February 28, 2009

Amano Jembrana

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, pure cane sugar, cocoa butter, whole vanilla beans.

This 70% Jembrana bar comes from Amano, one of my favorite chocolate makers.  It’s made with beans from the southwest coast of Bali.  I love the new packaging of the bars.  Each one features different artwork – in this case, a piece by Martina Shapiro.

The flavor starts out earthy, very chocolatey and deep, before bright, fruity notes pop up to lighten the taste.  Some hints of citrus rind emerge, before it reaches a nutty end.

Like other Amano chocolate bars I’ve tasted, I loved the complexity of flavors.  Based on the bars I’ve tried, I’m not surprised that all five of Amano’s bars received medals at the 2009 Academy of Chocolate Awards.  I’m looking forward to seeing Amano at the SF Chocolate Salon in late March – hopefully, they’ll bring something new along!

Christopher Norman Dark Chocolate Blood Orange Bar

January 19, 2009

Christopher Norman Dark Chocolate Blood Orange

Ingredients: Bitter Sweet Chocolate [Cocoa Liquor, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Lecithin, Vanilla], Candied Blood Oranges, Corn Syrup. Min. 64% cocoa content.

Last year I picked up this little bar from Christopher Norman Chocolates, a company based in New York City.  It starts out with the dry, bitter taste of orange rind.  As the chocolate melts, the sweet blood orange tastes develops.  The core of the bar tastes a bit fudgy, but not creamy like a truffle.  Bits of orange peel add to the flavor.  The bar is all right, but something about it turned me off – maybe the fudgy texture.  It doesn’t seem as fresh to me as other chocolate bars.  I do like the orange and chocolate combination, though.

Shaman’s Heart: Organic Dark Chocolate with Ruby Raspberries

January 15, 2009

Shaman's Heart

Ingredients: Organic dark chocolate (organic sugar, organic chocolate liquor [non-alcoholic], organic cocoa butter, soy lecithin*, organic vanilla), and dried raspberries.

After a long, mostly chocolate-free vacation, I can’t wait to dig in to my chocolate stash.  Unfortunately, I’m getting over a cold and cough, and can’t really taste much right now.  I tried this fair trade, organic chocolate bar from Shaman Chocolates late last year.  The company was created by a Huichol shaman and healer, and all profits support Huichol villages in Central America.

At first, I found the bar odd – I’m not sure how to describe the way it melts.  It doesn’t taste really chocolatey, except near the end of the melt.  It’s not creamy exactly, but melts in different globs, and makes me think more of sugar and maybe cocoa butter.  I do like it, though I’m not sure why.  I like the tiny bits of tart raspberry; they remind me of freeze dried fruit, and their size and texture keep the bar from tasting overly sweet.  A pretty good bar, but I’d have to try something else from Shaman Chocolates to get a better sense of their chocolate.

Scharffen Berger Finisterra 72%

November 13, 2008

Scharffen Berger Finisterra

Scharffen Berger Finisterra 10th Anniversary Limited Series Blend, featuring cacao from Venezuela, Trinidad, & Madagascar.

Ingredients: Cacao beans, sugar, cocoa butter, non-GMO soy lecithin, whole vanilla beans.

Scharffen Berger came out with this blended bar to celebrate their tenth anniversary; they named it Finisterra, Latin for “land’s end,” to represent their “search for the world’s best cacao”.

It’s fruity to start – some berry, then develops into citrus.  The finish tastes like rind and wood, but also spicy.  Scharffen Berger’s done well with this blend; it has a good amount of complexity, with a mildly bitter finish that still feels light.  It’s a good fit for fall.

Dolfin Milk Chocolate with Konacha Green Tea

July 2, 2008
Dolfin Milk with Green Tea Ingredients: sugar, whole milk powder, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, green tea (5%), natural vanilla, emulsifier: soya lecithin. Cocoa solids: 32% min. Milk solids: 20% min.

I’ve had some good chocolate/tea experiences, so I had high hopes for this bar. Since it’s milk chocolate, it starts out sweet, and then the tea flavor emerges. It’s floral, and a little bitter, with the brown rice flavor that I associate with green tea. Similar to Dolfin’s dark chocolate with lavender bar, there are small bits that remain after the chocolate has melted, which in this case are pieces of tea. They’re mostly crunchy, but some are like threads. The bar’s too sweet for me, and I dislike the little bits left on my tongue. I think the bar would work better if they’d infused the tea in the milk instead of leaving it in. However, like the other Dolfin bars I’ve tasted, the balance between the ingredients was good; though the aroma of tea was very present, the chocolate dominated taste-wise.

Dolfin Milk Chocolate with Cocoa Beans from Ghana

July 1, 2008
Dolfin Milk Chocolate with Cocoa Beans Ingredients: sugar, whole milk powder, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, cocoa beans (10%), natural vanilla, emulsifier: soya lecithin. Cocoa solids: 32% min.

Another Dolfin bar, and this one’s a winner.  The chocolate is very sweet and creamy, so the bits of bitter cocoa bean are a good balance.  I think I would prefer darker chocolate, as this is so sweet and milky.  However, unlike other Dolfin bars, there’s nothing odd about this one – chocolate and cocoa beans are a natural pairing.

Dolfin Dark Chocolate with Pink Peppercorns from Brazil

June 17, 2008

Dolfin Pink Peppercorn

Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, pink peppercorns, natural vanilla, emulsifier: soya lecithin. Cocoa solids: 60% min.

I was curious about pink peppercorns and chocolate, so it was nice when a co-worker came by today, offering pieces of this bar.  Pink peppercorns are not true peppers, but are actually dried berries.  They’re toxic in large quantities, though I can’t find any information about how large a quantity would have to be.  Some people may also be allergic to them.   (The amount in this bar is perhaps small enough to be safe for everyone.)

I appreciate that the pink peppercorns were the only added ingredients.  The bar has a mildly peppery taste and a bit of a crunch that goes well with the chocolate, which skews toward dark, and is pleasantly smooth.  It’s pretty good, but I think I prefer the oddness of the Dolfin Lavendar bar.  However, my other co-worker, Sneha, didn’t like the pepperiness at all, so this bar probably isn’t for everyone.

MarieBelle Mayan Chocolate Bar (Unsweetened)

June 12, 2008

Mariebelle Mayan Chocolate

MarieBelle Mayan Chocolate Bar, 70% Single Origin Colombian Cacao, Unsweetened

Ingredients: Cocoa mass, skim milk powder, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, (emulsifier) (E322) soy lecithin, PGPR-90 polyglicerol polyricinoleate (emulsifier), natural vanilla.

I read a review of this bar on Candy Blog last month, and knew it was going to be an interesting tasting experience. It’s made by Eneh Compania Nacional de Chocolate (from Colombia) and distributed by MarieBelle, a chocolate company based in New York. I think seeing “Mayan” made me expect spice, but there aren’t any added flavors besides vanilla (and plenty of milk and emulsifiers).

The number of ingredients seems excessive, but the milk and emulsifiers must be doing a lot for this bar in terms of taste and consistency. It’s a fairly thick square, and looks like it should taste fudgy, but doesn’t. It also doesn’t melt quickly on the tongue like most chocolate, and when it does, it’s sort of like peanut butter – sticky, but not stick-to-your teeth-for-two-minutes.

Initially, the taste is very milky, almost like semi-solid chocolate pudding. But soon it turns dark, expressing its 70% nature, and tastes more like cocoa powder, even ending with a bit of bitterness. I don’t think I miss the sugar, since there’s so much else going on. The slow melt makes a small piece pretty satisfying, but since it was so strange, I ended up eating more. I’d be interested in trying the version of this bar containing panela, naturally processed cane sweetener, especially in comparison to this bar.

Stainer Marrakech

June 2, 2008

Stainer Marrakech bar

Dark bar with Marrakech mixture (Min. cocoa 70%). Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, Marrakech mixture (green tea, nanah mint, wormwood, shiba), emulsifier: soya lecithin, natural vanilla.

Stainer is an Italian company that makes a variety of flavored chocolate bars. I was drawn to this bar because I didn’t recognize many of the ingredients. I’ve heard of wormwood, but only because it’s used in absinthe; from my friend wikipedia I learned several interesting facts about the plant, including folklore and its therapeutic uses. I also learned that nana mint is commonly used in a minty green tea. Shiba was a little trickier to track down, but seems to be an artemisia/wormwood-like plant used in tea.

Not knowing these ingredients, I wasn’t sure what the bar would be like. During my first nibble, I tasted various indistinguishable bits of plant (spice-like taste). As I ate more, the green tea started to stand out at the beginning of the bite, followed by the spices, and then the fruitiness of the chocolate. It ended with a smoky flavor. I liked how the chocolate wasn’t overwhelmed by the other additions, and the different flavors worked well together. While not amazing, it’s a solid bar.

Dagoba Conacado 73%

May 28, 2008

Dagoba Conacado 73%

Ingredients: Organic Dark Chocolate (OG evaporated cane juice, OG cacao butter, OG cacao beans).

This 73% bar from Dagoba is from the Dominican Republic’s 9,000-member Conacado Cooperative, the largest organic fair-trade co-op in the world. More info on the co-op can be found at Dagoba or at the co-op’s own site.

Dagoba’s a good company, but this bar didn’t impress me. The texture was smooth and silky, but the taste wasn’t quite right. It started out woody, ashy and burnt tasting. A little bit of cherry emerged, but once the chocolate melted, my tongue felt really dry. The aftertaste is pleasant though – a milder burnt taste, closer to coffee (overroasted coffee, I guess, but not bad compared to the taste when I was chewing). Maybe Dagoba is retooling this bar, or they know it’s not a favorite, because it doesn’t appear in their online store for sale as an individual bar. I’ve enjoyed other bars from Dagoba in the past (unfortunately, too long ago to recall which ones), but I wouldn’t recommend this bar too strongly.