Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Review: Gnosis Dazzling Dark

Richard's Rating: 5.5
chocolate makerGnosis
barDazzling Dark
regionIndonesia, Ecuador, Peru
cacao trees(unknown)
size56g ~ 2.0oz
cocoa solids90%
added fat(none)
sweeteneragave, coconut palm
other ingredients(none)
list price$9.25
colormedium-dark brown
PANTONE 19-1015
texturesmooth, scoring, image imprints, bubbles, adhered bits
aromaearth, smoke, tobacco, spice, floral, nut
tasteroast (coffee, cocoa, tobacco), earth, hint of fruit, sour, bitter
meltless smooth
finishcoffee, bitter
Vanessa Barg began making chocolate as Gnosis in 2008. She defines the name Gnosis as knowledge of intuition, experience, and heart. Based in New York, Gnosis crafts raw organic chocolate with low glycemic sweeteners and adds nuts, fruits, and medicinal herbs. They now make two dozen different chocolate bars, as well as several other chocolate products, and donate 10% of their profits to environmental causes. The Gnosis raw chocolate product line won a Gold Award in 2011 from Best of Raw. We'll be reviewing the two chocolate bars that are unflavored: Dazzling Dark and Simplicity.

All Gnosis chocolate is processed below 118 degrees Fahrenheit (48°C). Although the bars are not certified fair trade, Vanessa has taken trips to farms in Belize, Grenada, Mexico, and Indonesia to verify fair labor practices. Note that Gnosis is in the process of switching their sweeteners from agave nectar and coconut palm nectar to coconut palm sugar.

Each Gnosis bar has a theme. The theme of Dazzling Dark (formerly Dazzling Darkness) was Intensity. The bar was USDA certified organic and made from 90% cacao beans and 10% agave nectar and/or SweetTree™ [coconut] palm nectar. The thick two ounce bar was scored into six pieces, each with an imprint of a stylized dove with a spiral in its wing and a fleur-de-lis tail (that golden dove, also seen on the box label above, is Vanessa's personal symbol). The bar came sealed in a clear biodegradable wrapper inside a recycled paper box. The best before date printed on the box was 18 October 2012.

The chocolate had a medium-dark brown Bracken (PANTONE 19-1015) color. The surface was smooth with several chocolate bits adhered to it. There were some tiny bubbles. The snap was medium.

The aroma of Dazzling Dark contained earth, smoke, tobacco, and spice. I smelled additional scents of floral and nut.

Surprisingly for a raw chocolate, the primary taste was roast. The roast flavor consisted of coffee, cocoa, and tobacco flavors. Earth, a hint of fruit, sour and bitter flavors were also present.

The melt was less smooth. The length was short, with the chocolate flavor lasting about 5 to 10 seconds after the chocolate was gone. This was more difficult than usual to determine, as the finish was very similar to the ending taste. The finish had the same coffee flavor with more evident bitterness, and lasted for a long time.

You can purchase Dazzling Dark online for $9.25 directly from Gnosis or for $8.49 from Premium Organic Cafe either directly or on Amazon.com. All three sites appear to ship internationally.

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