Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review: Chocolate Conspiracy Dark Bar

Richard's Rating: 7.0
chocolate makerChocolate Conspiracy
barDark Bar
cacao trees(unknown)
size57g ~ 2.0oz
cocoa solids74%
added fatcocoa butter
sweetenerwildflower honey
other ingredients(none)
list price$9.50
colormedium-dark brown
PANTONE 19-1015
texturesmooth, scoring
aromafloral, spice, earth, cocoa, vanilla, sweet
snapmedium hard
tastefloral, spice, earth, cocoa, sweet (honey), fruit (berry)
meltless smooth
finishsomewhat acidic, somewhat sour
Utah chocolate maker AJ Wentworth began making raw chocolate as The Chocolate Conspiracy in 2009. With a background in nutrition, AJ handcrafts his healthy raw chocolate from organic ingredients, ensuring the temperature never exceeds 105 degrees Fahrenheit (41°C). At present, all of his chocolate is made from raw certified organic single origin cacao beans sourced from Pacari in Ecuador. In addition to its unflavored Dark Bar, The Chocolate Conspiracy makes flavored raw chocolate bars, raw chocolate confections, and bulk raw cacao products (nibs, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and chocolate).

Although it was not printed on the wrapper, Dark Bar contained 74% cocoa solids. It was made from cacao beans, cocoa butter (from the same beans), local wildflower honey, and vanilla bean. All of the ingredients were raw, and all but the honey were certified organic. The two ounce bar was scored into 12 pieces. It came wrapped in gold foil-sided paper inside a paper wrapper. The best before date was 5 May 2012.

The coloring of this chocolate was similar to Pacari's Raw 70% and Raw 85% bars: a medium-dark brown that didn't quite match Bracken (PANTONE 19-1015) due to additional redness (a bit more than both Pacari bars). The surface of the bar was smooth, but not glossy. The snap was medium hard.

The aroma of Dark Bar was a combination of floral, spice, earthy, cocoa, vanilla, and sweet scents. The spice was particularly intriguing, and I even resorted to going through our entire spice rack in search of that scent, but was not able to identify it. Even though the sweetness did not smell like honey to me, perhaps the scent came partially from the wildflower honey?

The chocolate tasted nearly the same as it smelled, with floral, spice, earth, and cocoa flavors. There was a honey sweetness and a berry fruit flavor as well.

The melt was less smooth, and most pieces had a grainy bit or two. Dark Bar had a medium length, with the chocolate flavor lasting 25 to 30 seconds after the chocolate was gone. The aftertaste was somewhat acidic and somewhat sour.

Overall, I found the aroma compelling and enjoyed the flavor of this chocolate more than that of the Pacari raw bars. I wanted to rate Dark Bar even higher, but couldn't due to the melt and finish. It will be interesting to see where it ends up in a raw chocolate ranking (which we'll do after we complete individual ratings). If all raw chocolate bars taste as good as those from The Chocolate Conspiracy and Pacari, then the poor reputation of raw chocolate has become false.

You can purchase Dark Bar for $9.50 in the U.S. and Canada directly from The Chocolate Conspiracy.

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