Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bar of the Week: Bonnat's Java

If you've finally gotten your head around the differences between "dark", "semi-sweet", and "bittersweet", our bar of the week might throw you for a new loop.  From France's venerable bean-to-bar chocolate maker Chocolat Bonnat comes Java, made from single-origin Indonesian cacao.  Java is a 65% milk chocolate, a so-called "dark milk" that contains milk but also has a higher percentage of cocoa solids than is typical for a milk chocolate. 

A dark milk chocolate tends to be creamier than most darks and less sweet than most milks.  Bonnat's Java lives up to this reputation, with a flavor that is at once sophisticated and comforting, intense and gentle.  Notes and smoke and peat provide a bassline for lighter tones of citrus and cream.

Come by on Saturday, June 4th, for a sample of Bonnat's Java and an introduction to the world of dark milks. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bar of the Week: Pralus' Ghana

Pralus' Ghana bar is made in France using Forestero beans grown in Ghana.  Like most of Pralus' line, Ghana is a 75% dark chocolate with strong roasty notes and a silky-smooth texture.  In other respects, Ghana has its own thing going on.  Pralus' tasting notes describe Ghana as "relentlessly aromatic, cocoa, spicy," but most of us here experience it as milder and more subtle than many of Pralus' other offerings, with the earthiness characteristic of the region leavened by a nutty sweetness not unlike sun-warmed hay.

We'll have samples of Pralus' Ghana available on Saturday, May 28th. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bar of the Week: Cluizel's Mangaro Noir

Our bar of the week is the Mangaro Noir from French chocolate maker Michel Cluizel.  Made from beans grown in Madagascar on the site of a former mango forest, this 65% dark chocolate is so light, bright, and fruity it's tempting to chalk its personality up to terroir alone. 

Stop by on Saturday, May 21st, for a sample of Cluizel's mouthwatering Mangaro Noir.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Shout Out - Best Use of Single-Origin Chocolate

As you may have heard, The Serious Chocolate Contest is being held at Chocolopolis this coming Sunday, May 15. While there are four categories you can enter, there's one category that is particularly close to our hearts. I'd like to make a special shout-out to the category "Best Use of Single Origin Chocolate".

Why do we like this category so much? If you've been to Chocolopolis, you'll know that we arrange our carefully curated selection of artisan chocolate according to cacao origin. For us, it's all about cacao varietal,  proper fermentation, terroir and the style of the chocolate maker in creating delicious chocolate. Whether the cacao has the smoky, earthy notes of Papua New Guinea, or the red fruit and citrus notes of Madagascar, we want to taste and enjoy what's unique about each of these regions. For The Serious Chocolate Contest, entries in this category will be judged based on how well they show off the unique flavor profile of the single-origin chocolate.

So yes, it's a challenge. But those who enter the Best Use of Single-Origin Chocolate category will earn our admiration and respect, whether or not they win. And we don't bestow our admiration easily.

If you're considering entering this category and you want to talk about it first, I'm happy to talk. Just give us a call and let whoever answers the phone know that you'd like to discuss this category. If I'm not here when you call, I promise to call you back very soon.

Happy chocolate tasting,
Lauren Adler
Chief Chocophile

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bar of the Week: Rogue's Hispaniola

Our bar of the week is Rogue's Hispaniola, a 70% dark chocolate made from cacao beans grown, fermented and sun-dried by a small cooperative in the Dominican Republic. With a list of ingredients that's as about as short as they come ("cocoa beans, cane sugar"), Hispaniola's flavors are clear and bright.  Sunny notes of citrus and red fruit are grounded by mild spices and cool, herbal licorice.  

This is the first time we've featured Rogue Chocolates since micro-batch chocolate maker Colin Gasko since he packed up his contraptions and moved from Minnesota to Massachusetts.  Come by on Saturday, May 14th, to sample Rogue's Hispaniola and join us in wishing Gasko the best of luck in his new neighborhood.  

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bar of the Week: Santander 70%

Calling all coffee lovers!  Our bar of the week is notorious for robust, roasty, full-bodied flavor.  Chocolate Santander's 70% dark bar is a terrific eating chocolate and the basis for our Colombian truffle and one of our most popular drinking chocolates.

The cacao for Santander's range of single origin bars is sourced from small farms in Colombia.  Unusually, the chocolate is also manufactured in Colombia, by a firm established in 1920.  

Come by our Queen Anne store for a "sip" of Santander 70% on Saturday, May 8th.