Sunday, May 26, 2013

Review: Lillie Belle Farms Dark Star 80%

Richard's Rating: 6.0
chocolate makerLillie Belle Farms
barDark Star 80%
regionDominican Republic, Peru
cacao trees(unknown)
size77g ~ 2.7oz
cocoa solids80%
added fat(none)
other ingredients(none)
list price$8.00
colormedium brown
PANTONE 19-1012
Dark Brown
texturesmooth, relief, uneven sheen, bubbles
aromaearth (musty), fruit (plum, berry), roast, sweet
tastesour, roast (cocoa), fruit (prune, berry), nut, sweet (honey), tannin
finishacidic, slightly bitter, slightly sour
Jeff Shephard is the amazingly creative and passionate chocolate maker (and painter, sculptor, musician, and all-around artist) behind Lillie Belle Farms. The name comes from his daughter Lillie and wife Belle.

Jeff started the company more than a decade ago, selling truffles locally in Oregon. Although known for their other chocolates, Lillie Belle began making bean to bar chocolate for sale in 2010. In addition to flavored bars such as his intense chili-infused Do Not Eat This Chocolate bar, Jeff makes unflavored chocolate as well. Other bars we've reviewed include Perfect Illusion 65% and Purple Haze 75%

Dark Star 80% was inspired by the Grateful Dead song. It was crafted with a mix of cacao from the Dominican Republic (sourced via La Red) and Peru (sourced via CEPICAFE).

The ingredients were 80% organic cacao beans with added sugar and organic vanilla beans. The 2.7 ounce bar came wrapped in gold-sided foil inside a paper wrapper. There was no production or best before date on the bar I purchased at the Northwest Chocolate Festival.

Dark Star had a medium brown Dark Brown color (PANTONE 19-1012). The surface had a matte finish on top and smooth underside, with a relief of "Lillie Belle Farms" and two flowers. The sheen was somewhat uneven and there were some bubbles. The bar had a hard snap.

The aroma contained earth, fruit, and roast scents. The earth was musty, and the fruit scent included plum and berry. It also smelled sweet to me.

The chocolate had a heavy roast and tasted sour. I noticed fruit flavors of prune and berry. There was nuttiness as well as a sweetness in the form of honey. Tannin was also present.

The melt was smooth. The length was medium, with the chocolate flavor lasting about 25 to 30 seconds after the chocolate was gone. The final aftertaste was somewhat acidic, slightly bitter and slightly sour.

You can purchase Dark Star 80% online directly from Lillie Belle Farms for $8.00.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

International Chocolate Awards 2013 Europe Semi-Finalists

The International Chocolate Awards have national and regional semi-final competitions throughout the year, followed by a world final in October in London. The full results of the Europe semi-finals were published this month, and here are all of the winners in the unflavored dark chocolate bar category.

GOLD: Bonnat Cacao Cusco
SILVER: Friis-Holm Barba 70%
SILVER: Bonnat Juliana
SILVER: Bonnat Porcelana
SILVER: Red Star Honduras Indio Rojo
SILVER: Friis-Holm Nicaliso 70%
NOMINATION: Bonnat Chuao
NOMINATION: Dolci Libertà Madagascar 68%
NOMINATION: Friis-Holm Medagla 70%
BRITAIN GOLD: Red Star Honduras Indio Rojo
DENMARK GOLD: Friis-Holm Barba 70%
FRANCE GOLD: Bonnat Cacao Cusco
SWITZERLAND GOLD: Idilio No. 1 Porcelana Criollo Puro