Thursday, April 5, 2012

Review: Stirs the Soul Blissful Dark Chocolate with dates

Richard's Rating: 6.0
chocolate makerStirs the Soul
barBlissful Dark
cacao trees(unknown)
size28g ~ 1.0oz
cocoa solids83%
added fatcocoa butter
other ingredients(none)
list price$3.20
colormedium-dark brown
PANTONE 19-1015
texturesmooth, glossy, scoring
aromaearth, floral, spice, fruit
tasteearth, spice, fruit (date, raisin), tangy, acidic
finishsomewhat sour, slightly acidic
Stirs the Soul hand-crafts stone-ground bean to bar raw chocolate. Their raw chocolate contains only organic or wild ingredients and never exceeds 111 degrees Fahrenheit (44°C) during processing. Rather than including cane sugar, chocolate maker Daren Hayes uses alternative low glycemic sweeteners (agave, date, honey, and coconut palm). He makes two single origin chocolates (Origins Ecuador and Origins Madagascar), and three unflavored bars (Blissful Dark, Dark, and Honey Dark), each made with a different sweetener.

Blissful Dark was sweetened with dried dates. The remaining 83% consisted of cocoa solids: cacao beans and cocoa butter. All ingredients were organic and raw, though the chocolate was not certified. The tiny one ounce bar was scored into six pieces. It came wrapped in a teal-sided foil inside a paper sleeve. The bar we reviewed was labeled as lot # 125, but had a blank best before date. As you can see in the picture below of four Stirs the Soul chocolate bars, it had an unusual curved shape (Blissful Dark is on the left).

The chocolate had a color slightly more red than Bracken (PANTONE 19-1015). The surface of the bar was smooth with a glossy top. It had a hard snap.

The aroma of Blissful Dark was close to that of Dark, with scents of earth, floral, spice, and fruit. The spice scent seemed slightly stronger.

Blissful Dark tasted similar to Dark, too, with earth, spice, and fruit flavors combined with a nice tanginess. The fruit flavor differed, though, and tasted like date and raisin (rather than the pear experienced with Dark). There some acidity as well.

The melt was smooth. The length was short, with the chocolate flavor lasting about 15 seconds after the chocolate was gone. The aftertaste was initially somewhat sour, but that dissipated, and then the finish was slightly acidic.

Overall, I may slightly prefer Dark's pear fruit flavor notes to that of Blissful Dark, but they are both good raw chocolates.

You can purchase Blissful Dark Chocolate bars in packs of three for $9.60 in the U.S. directly from Stirs the Soul, or internationally if you phone them at 503-774-4903.

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