Monday, January 9, 2012

Review: Dandelion Upala Costa Rica

Lindy's Rating: 8.0
Richard's Rating: 8.0
chocolate makerDandelion
Costa Rica
regionCosta Rica
cacao trees(unknown)
size56g ~ 2.0oz
cocoa solids70%
added fat(none)
sweetenercane sugar
other ingredients(none)
list price$8.00
colormedium-dark brown
PANTONE 19-1015
texturesmooth with scoring
aromaearth, roast, floral (rose), spice, sweet, hint of fruit
tastefloral, roast (cocoa, coffee), sweet, vanilla, nut, tannin, hint of fruit
meltmore smooth
finishsomewhat tannin
Dandelion is a tiny independent chocolate maker in San Francisco. You can read more about them in our maker profile. The single origin Costa Rica chocolate bar we reviewed was labeled batch number 2 and was made using their second bag of cacao beans from the Upala region of Costa Rica. There was no production date or best before date on the wrapper, but the bar was made in 2011.

All of Dandelion's chocolate bars are presently made with 70% cacao beans and 30% cane sugar. Costa Rica was no exception, and was made without any added cocoa butter, emulsifier, or flavoring. The two ounce bar was scored into 18 pieces and came wrapped with heavy gold-sided foil and packaged inside a pretty paper cover. A large sticker on the outer paper wrapper indicated the cacao beans were from the 2010 harvest and that this was the second batch of Costa Rica chocolate. A smaller sticker holding the cover closed indicated who was primarily responsible for making that batch and packaging the chocolate, and was initialed by Cam Ring and Todd Masonis, respectively.

The color of Costa Rica was a medium-dark brown Bracken (PANTONE 19-1015). The top surface of the bar had an incredibly smooth temper that Lindy described as "almost lacquered". The snap was hard.

Costa Rica gave off an aroma that included earth, roast, flowers, spice, sweetness. We agreed that the floral scent was rose. Lindy also detected a hint of fruit.

The taste of this chocolate was somewhat similar to its aroma, giving flavors of floral, roast, sweetness, and vanilla (note that there were no vanilla ingredients). The roast tasted like coffee to me and like cocoa to Lindy. I also experienced a nut flavor and Lindy noticed tannin and the faint fruit flavor she found in the aroma.

Costa Rica had a more smooth melt. The length was medium, with the flavor lasting 20 to 25 seconds after the chocolate was gone. The final aftertaste was somewhat tannin.

Overall, we were both impressed with this bar. It was much better than the previously opened sample I tried in July (that may have suffered during its lifetime).

You can purchase Dandelion Costa Rica online directly from Dandelion for $8.00, or if you would like to combine the purchase with other brands, from Chocolopolis for $8.99.

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