Sunday, May 10, 2015

Review: Hägeland Costa Rica

Richard's Rating: 5.5
chocolate makerHägeland
barCosta Rica
regionCosta Rica
cacao treesunknown
size100g ~ 3.5oz
cocoa solids71%
added fatcocoa butter
other ingredients(none)
list priceN/A
colormedium-dark brown
appearancesmooth, scoring
aromaroast (smoke), earth, spice
tasteroast (smoke, cocoa), earth, wood, sweet (caramel), hint of fruit, bitter
meltmore smooth
finishtannin, slightly acidic

Friday, January 9, 2015

Good Food Awards for Chocolate 2015

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

Acalli Chocolate El Platanal, Chulucanas, Peru 70%
Dandelion Butuo, Liberia 70%
Escazú Tumbes, Peru 70%
French Broad Matagalpa, Nicaragua 68%
Nathan Miller Ghana 70%
Patric Madagascar 67%

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sale: Free Shipping at World Wide Chocolate

World Wide Chocolate is offering free shipping through January 15th with no minimum purchase. If you're interested in buying only a few chocolate bars, or sending a little chocolate to several friends, this is a good time to do so.

Use coupon code FREESHIPPING during checkout.

World Wide Chocolate ships to U.S., APO (military), and FPO (diplomatic) addresses. Please see their shipping policies for additional information.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Sale: 20% off at World Wide Chocolate

World Wide Chocolate is having a nearly storewide sale of 20% off chocolate from all makers other than Amedei (and Valrhona multi-kilogram products) through January 5th.

Use coupon code JAN20 during checkout. No minimum purchase is required.

World Wide Chocolate ships to United States, APO (military), and FPO (diplomatic) addresses. Please see their shipping policies for additional information.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Review: Botticelli 70% Cacao

Richard's Rating: 5.0
chocolate makerunknown
bar70% Cacao
cacao treesunknown
size85g ~ 3oz
cocoa solids70%
added fat(cocoa butter)
emulsifiersoy lecithin
other ingredients(none)
list priceN/A
colormedium-dark brown
PANTONE 19-1015
appearancesmooth, scoring, imprints, adhered bits, scuffing
aromaroast (smoke), sweet (molasses), earth
tasteroast (burnt toast), sweet (molasses), nut, bitter, chalky
finishbitter, acidic, somewhat tannin
My friend Phillip gave me this chocolate bar a few months ago. Botticelli is a brand made by Dynamic Chocolates at their facility in Delta, Canada (near Vancouver).

The ingredients of 70% Cacao were listed as unsweetened chocolate, sugar, and soy lecithin. Based on the labelled fat content, the "unsweetened chocolate" included added cocoa butter.

Inside a paper sleeve, the three ounce bar came wrapped in brass foil-sided wax paper. There was no listed production or best before date.

The bar was scored into 12 pieces, each imprinted with parallel lines. Underneath many adhered bits and scuffing, the surface looked smooth. The color of the chocolate was a medium-dark brown Bracken (PANTONE 19-1015).

Cacao 70% had a hard snap. The aroma contained scents of smoky roast, sweet molasses, and some earthiness.

The chocolate tasted of roast, sweet, and nut flavors. The roast reminded me of burnt toast. The sweetness was molasses. The taste was also bitter and a little chalky.

The melt was smooth. The chocolate flavor lasted about 15 to 20 seconds after the chocolate was gone, giving a short length. The finish was bitter, acidic, and somewhat tannin.

I didn't find Cacao 70% available for purchase online. However, Phillip told me he paid $2 for this bar, and at that price, it's a bargain for a decent chocolate (as you can see on our Best Chocolate Values page).

Monday, December 29, 2014

Review: Dandelion Camino Verde, Ecuador 100%

Richard's Rating: 7.0
chocolate makerDandelion
barCamino Verde 100%
plantationCamino Verde
cacao treesunknown
size56g ~ 2oz
cocoa solids100%
added fat(none)
other ingredients(none)
list price$12.00
colormedium-dark brown
PANTONE 19-1012
Dark Brown
appearancesmooth, imprints, scoring
aromaroast (cocoa, coffee), earth (must), nut, dried fruit (raisin)
snapmedium hard
tasteearth, roast (cocoa, tea, malt), nut, dairy, tannin, sour, chalky
meltmore smooth, fudgy
finishtannin, somewhat acidic, slight sour
In 2014, Dandelion released two chocolates made with cacao from a 2014 harvest at Vicente Norero's Camino Verde farm in Balao, Ecuador. In addition to a bar with 85% cocoa solids, they released this bar as their first 100% chocolate.

That Camino Verde cacao was the one and only ingredient in this chocolate. There was no added cocoa butter. This chocolate was made at Dandelion's nut-free facility in San Francisco.

Enclosed inside thick craft paper sealed with a sticker, the two ounce bar came wrapped in heavy gold-sided foil. The bar reviewed here was from batch 1, with a best before date of September 2015.

The bar was scored into 18 pieces, each with imprints of 5 parallel squiggles. The surface looked superb. The chocolate had a medium-dark brown Dark Brown (PANTONE 19-1012) color.

Camino Verde 100% had a medium hard snap. The aroma was primarily a cocoa and coffee roast combined with a musty earth scent. I also smelled nut and dried fruit close to raisin.

The taste began with earth and roast. The roast included cocoa, tea, and a hint of malt. Nuttiness and some dairy joined the roast flavors. The taste was also tannin, sour, and chalky.

This chocolate had a melt that was more smooth and fudgy. The length was medium, with the flavor lasting about 30-35 seconds after the chocolate was gone. The final aftertaste was tannin, somewhat acidic, and slightly sour.

Overall, Camino Verde 100% was a great addition to the growing number of artisan 100% chocolates.

You can purchase Camino Verde 100% online for $12.00 directly from Dandelion.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Review: Valrhona Andoa

Richard's Rating: 6.5
chocolate makerValrhona
cacao treesunknown
size70g ~ 2.5oz
cocoa solids70%
added fatcocoa butter
sweetenercane sugar
emulsifiersoy lecithin
other ingredients(none)
list price$7.49
colormedium brown
PANTONE 19-1012
Dark Brown
appearancescoring, imprints, smooth
aromaroast (smoke, cocoa), earth (mold), fruit, sweet (marshmallow)
snapmedium hard
tasteearth, roast (smoke, tobacco), fruit (berry, date), peanut, sweet
finishsomewhat acidic, somewhat bitter, slightly chalky
Valrhona blended a variety of their Grand Cru cacao to make Andoa. The bar reviewed here was made on 3 October 2013 with a best before date of February 2015.

The ingredients of Andoa were cacao beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, and soy lecithin. Cocoa solids made up 70%.

The 70 gram bar came wrapped in brass colored foil inside a paper box. It was scored into 20 uneven pieces and had imprints of Valrhona's logo and name. The surface was great other than some tiny bubbles in a few of the corners.

The chocolate was a medium brown Dark Brown (PANTONE 19-1012) color. The snap was medium hard.

Andoa gave off an aroma of roast, earth, fruit, and sweetness. The roast was a smoky cocoa. The earth scent was moldy. The fruit seemed to have a faint berry scent. I smelled a hint of marshmallow in the sweetness.

Initially, the taste was a combination of earth and a smoky roast. A berry fruit flavor grew and the roast added some tobacco flavor. I also tasted peanut and date, as well as sweetness.

The melt was smooth. The length was medium, with the flavor lasting about 25-30 seconds after the chocolate was gone. The finish was somewhat acidic, somewhat bitter, and slightly chalky.

You can purchase Andoa online for $7.49 directly from Valrhona. You can also buy Andoa online for $7.49 in the U.S. from Chocosphere and for £3.75 in the U.K. from Chocolate Trading Co.