Sunday, January 17, 2016

Good Food Awards for Chocolate 2016

The Good Food Awards published their winners for 2015. The following unflavored bars won awards in the chocolate category:

Brasstown Ecuador 75%
Dick Taylor Bolivia Alto Beni 70%
EscazĂș Piura Blanco, Peru 70%
Fruition Bolivian Wild Harvest 74%
Just Good Madagascar 70%
Lonohana Estate Kanahiku 70%
Ritual Mid-Mountain Blend
Ritual Belize 75%
Rogue Jamaica
Rogue Tranquilidad

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Review: Meadowlands Dominican Republic

Richard's Rating: 6.5
chocolate makerMeadowlands
barDominican Republic
regionDominican Republic
plantationblend
cacao treesunknown
yearunknown
size71g ~ 2.5oz
cocoa solids70%
added fat(none)
sweetenercane sugar
emulsifier(none)
flavoring(none)
other ingredients(none)
list price$9.50
colormedium brown
PANTONE 19-1012
Dark Brown
appearancesmooth, scoring, uneven sheen, scuffing, adhered bits, bubbles
aromaroast, fruit (berry), earth (must)
snapmedium hard
tasteearth (soil), fruit (blueberry, citrus, date), roast (burnt), nut, spice, sweet (molasses), tannin, bitter
meltsmooth (fudgy)
lengthlong
finishtannin, somewhat acidic
Clyo Howard and Beryl Wells Hamilton having been crafting bean to bar chocolate as Meadowlands in the city of the same name in Minnesota since 2013. All of their chocolate is made with organic, fair trade cacao beans that are grown sustainably and harvested ethically.

Along with all of their other unflavored 70% single origin chocolates, the Dominican Republic bar was made from nothing other than 70% cacao beans and 30% cane sugar. The bar was not certified organic or fair trade.

The 2.5 ounce bar came wrapped in gold foil-sided waxed paper inside a paper sleeve. It was scored into 24 pieces.

The surface of the chocolate was smooth, but had an uneven sheen, scuffing, a few adhered bits, and some very tiny bubbles in the corners of the pieces.

Dominican Republic had a medium brown Dark Brown (PANTONE 19-1012) color. The bar had a medium hard snap.

Scents of roast, fruit, and earth were present. The fruit scent included berry and the earthiness smelled musty.

The taste began with a earthy soil flavor until the fruit, roast, nut, and spice came forth. I tasted fruit flavors of blueberry, citrus, and date. The roast seemed slightly burnt. A molasses sweetness was evident. The taste was also tannin and bitter.

The melt was smooth, but quite fudgy. The length was long, with the chocolate flavor lasting 50-55 seconds after the chocolate was gone. The finish was tannin and somewhat acidic.

I liked the interesting combination of flavors, but found the fudgy melt undesirable. Overall, it was a solid chocolate among single origin Dominican Republic bars.

Best Prices Online
$9.50 each or $45.00 for custom five-pack directly from Meadowlands
$45.00 for five-pack from Chocolate.org

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Sale: 20% off Fresco

Through December 10th, Fresco is having a 20% off sale sitewide if you purchase at least $50.

Enter SANTA in the "Discount" field during checkout and click the Apply button to receive the 20% discount.

Free shipping for orders of at least $50 for delivery to the United States. International shipping is available.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Sale: 25% off Raaka

Raaka is running a 25% off sitewide Cyber Monday sale today.

Enter CHOCO25 in the "Discount" field during checkout and click the Apply button to receive the 25% discount.

A fantastic deal is to choose a mixed case of a dozen bars of your choice (to receive 25% case discount) and then apply CHOCO25 for additional 25% discount. You get 12 bars for only $52.46!

Free shipping for delivery to the United States with orders over $50 ($5.80 otherwise). International shipping is $20.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sale: 20% off Taza

Taza is running their annual Cyber Monday sale with 20% off everything in their online store today and tomorrow.

Enter CYBER20 in the "Gift card or discount code" field during checkout and click the Apply button to apply the 20% discount.

Now is the time to take advantage of Taza's best deal of the year. The sale ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, November 30th.

Unfortunately, Taza no longer ships outside the United States. Additional shipping information can be found here.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Review: Ethereal Madagascar

Richard's Rating: 6.0
chocolate makerEthereal
barMadagascar
regionMadagascar
plantationblend
cacao treesunknown
yearunknown
size64g ~ 2.3oz
cocoa solids80%
added fatcocoa butter
sweetenercane sugar
emulsifier(none)
flavoring(none)
other ingredients(none)
list price$7.50
colormedium brown
PANTONE 19-1431
Fudgesickle
appearancesmooth, scoring, uneven sheen, adhered bits, bubbles
aromaearth (hay), roast (smoke), fruit (raisin, coconut), spice
snapmedium hard
tastefruit (citrus, plum, lime, blueberry), earth, roast (cocoa, smoke), sweet, tannin
meltless smooth
lengthshort
finishsomewhat acidic, somewhat tannin
Mary and Sara Ervin have been crafting hand-made organic chocolate confections and bean to bar chocolate in Woodstock, Illinois, as Ethereal Confections since 2011.

Ethereal's Madagascar chocolate bar was made from all organic ingredients: cacao beans, cane sugar, and cocoa butter. Cocoa solids (cacao beans and cocoa butter) made up 80%, with the remaining 20% being cane sugar.

Inside a thick paper wrap that was sealed with the label, the 2.25 ounce bar came wrapped in pink colored foil . The label also adhered to the foil wrapping along the bottom edge, which made removing the chocolate without breaking the bar a bit challenging. The best before date was September 28, 2017.

The bar was scored into 24 pieces. The chocolate had a smooth surface, with an uneven sheen, some adhered bits, and a few bubbles. The underside was shaped with a thin protruding edge. The chocolate had a medium brown Fudgesickle (PANTONE 19-1431) color.

Madagascar had a medium hard snap. The aroma revealed scents of earth, and hay in particular, a smoky roast, fruit, and spice. The fruit scent included raisin and coconut.

The chocolate tasted primarily of fruit, with flavors of citrus, plum, lime and blueberry. In addition, I tasted earth, a cocoa and smoky roast, and sweetness. Some tannin was also present.

The melt had a less smooth texture, but no graininess. The chocolate flavor lasted about 15 to 20 seconds after the chocolate was gone, giving a short length. The finish was somewhat acidic and somewhat tannin.

Overall, a good chocolate with delicious fruit flavors. For me, the texture needs improvement, but if you enjoy Madagascar interpretations with this flavor profile, give this chocolate a try.

Best Prices Online
$7.50 directly from Ethereal
$7.50 from Chocolate.org
$7.50 from Chocosphere

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Review: Dandelion Butuo, Liberia

Richard's Rating: 6.0
chocolate makerDandelion
barButuo, Liberia
regionLiberia
plantationblend
cacao treesunknown
year2014
size56g ~ 2.0oz
cocoa solids70%
added fat(none)
sweetenercane sugar
emulsifier(none)
flavoring(none)
other ingredients(none)
list price$10.00
colormedium-dark brown
appearancesmooth, scoring, imprints
aromaearth, roast, spice
snaphard
tasteearth, roast (smoke, cocoa), fruit (fig), spice (cinnamon), sweet (caramel), bitter
meltsmooth
lengthshort
finishbitter, somewhat acidic, slightly ashy

Best Prices Online
$10.00 directly from Dandelion (sold out)
$13.00 from The Meadow