Thursday, June 28, 2012

What We're Eating: Cacao Sampaka La Joya 70%

The newest addition to our collection of single-origin chocolate has also quickly become one of my favorites. The Cacao Sampaka La Joya 70% is a complex bar with fruity notes of all kinds. I initially taste notes of rum raisin and tobacco that are quickly followed by tart cherry and black licorice notes. The bar moves back into heavy acid territory with cranberries and a lemon and tobacco finish. This is a very interesting bar that makes me think.

This bar is also notable for the origin of its cacao beans, which hail from the La Joya estate in Tabasco, Mexico. Tabasco is in the area of Mexico that was home to the ancient Olmec civilization (~ 1000 BCE). The Olmecs are the population credited with domesticating cacao as a food. While this region has the oldest chocolate tradition around, it's been tough for artisan chocolate makers to find well-fermented, quality cacao. As a result, we've had very few bars of chocolate in the store made with Mexican-origin cacao.

It's a pleasure to have such a wonderful bar of chocolate, particularly from Tabasco. It comes packaged in a 100g bar size, but it is conveniently presented as 2 thin 50g tasting bars, making it easier to snap and taste.

We'll have samples out this Saturday from 11-5. Let us know if you're in before Saturday and we're happy to give you a preview taste!

Happy chocolate tasting,
Chief Chocophile

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What We’re Eating: Olive & Sinclair Mexican Style Cinnamon Chili Bar

At first bite, there’s an initial kick of heat that is soon followed by the taste of cinnamon.  Instead of the heat building as you eat the Olive & Sinclair Cinnamon Chili bar, the cinnamon tones it down and the two flavors come together as perfect partners in crime. At the end of the melt, your throat is left tingling with a pleasant amount of spice.

This particular bar has a rustic, grainy texture reminiscent of Mexican style chocolate. We think the texture of this bar enhances its Mexican-like flavors.

Come in on Saturday and have a taste for yourself! We'll also be sampling this bar's sibling, the Olive & Sinclair Salt & Pepper bar.

Anna & Stacey
Chocolate Bar-istas

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Spicy, Sweet & Serious Treats for Dad

Is your dad a Red Hot Chili Pepper or a Serious Connoisseur when it comes to chocolate? Not sure? We've put together profiles in chocolate for Father's Day to help you pick the perfect chocolate for your dad.

Red Hot Chili Gift
The Red Hot Chili Pepper: We see them all the time in the store. They ask, "Do you have chocolate with chilies in it?". We show them our array of chocolate with chilies and their eyes widen. You can see them begin to pant in anticipation of the capscaicin coursing through their veins. Then they try to decide which bar to try first. Do they want to start with the DO NOT EAT THIS CHOCOLATE, with its painful heat that will make them sweat? Do they want to start with something pleasantly hot, like Pacari's Chili Bar, with just enough heat to make their tongues tingle with a pleasing amount of pain? Or do they want something a bit more balanced like the Olive & Sinclair Cinnamon Chili bar? Whatever their preference, we've learned to recommend appropriate bars for the level of heat they'd like. For Father's Day we've put together a Red Hot Chili gift pack that offers some of our favorites.

Salty Nutty Blonde
The Chocoholic: Not content with one bite, the Chocoholic likes his chocolate rich and substantial. Whether he prefers milk or dark chocolate, it's sweetness he's after. A Venchi Chocolate Cigar filled with a truffle & candied orange peel center is sure to be a hit. For something a bit more sophisticated that will leave him in chocolate bliss, get him The Player by Chocolat Moderne. Each square of this bar is filled with dark chocolate & Scotch truffle. Our own Salty Nutty Blonde bar is made with rich milk chocolate and salted blister peanuts and topped with more peanuts and sea salt - it's hard to eat just one bite. If it's quantity he's after, why not get him a pound of chocolate disks? We have a whole menu of single-origin bulk chocolate from chocolate makers such as Guittard, Felchlin and Valrhona. We'll let you taste them to see which might be the best fit for dad.

Connoisseur Gift
The Serious Connoisseur: This dad likes being an expert. Whether he discovered his penchant for expertise through wine, single-malt Scotch or chocolate, the Serious Connoisseur treats every fine food as a research project. When we think of a chocolate connoisseur, we think of Richard, a good customer of ours who started a chocolate review blog. Richard's favorite bar, the Amedei Chuao, is a favorite among many a chocolate connoisseur. Made with cacao from the remote village of Chuao, Venezuela, the Amedei Chuao bar has complex but balanced notes of bread, butter & jam with hints of anise. Its rarity and price make it the perfect special treat for a special day. We've also put together a wonderful Connoisseur Gift that will delight any dark chocolate lover.

Stop by for more suggestions for Father's Day gifts.

Happy chocolate tasting,
Chief Chocophile

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What We're Eating: Domori Sambirano

As I've said before, I love Madagascar chocolate. The complexity of the flavor profiles found in this not-so-little island is astounding. Who knew chocolate could be elevated to this level?

Domori Sambirano 70% Dark Chocolate Domori SambiranoFor those of you unfamiliar with chocolate maker Domori I'll give you the run down. This Italian chocolate maker is committed to what it calls "cocoa culture" or a desire to bring fine chocolate into the mainstream while maintaining the culture and biodiversity that is part of cacao's history. It is no wonder we carry so many of their bars as this mission is one that is close to our hearts. If you've been away you may have noticed a few changes. They've recently revamped their packaging and moved to smaller, 25g boxes, but the change has been a good one. It keeps their commitment to getting fine chocolate to the masses when many other chocolate makers are having to raise prices (as an added bonus now I can eat the whole bar and not feel so guilty).

Domori always surprises me with it's smooth texture and sharp snap. No added cocoa butter here folks, this is chocolate at it's most pure. Upon opening the wrapper you are inundated with rum, raisins, and more rum. A light conch leaves their bars alcoholic tasting (true for most of their bars) - the bold flavors of this bar are not for the faint of heart. With a 70% denomination this is a seemingly darker than average bar with tart fruit staccatos intermingled with a cherry cordial quality.

Stop in this Saturday and try a taste of Domori's 70% Sambirano bar

Purveyor of fine chocolate

Friday, June 8, 2012

What we're Eating: Michel Cluizel Noir 72%

On a cold and rainy day like today nothing hits the spot quite like a cup of drinking chocolate. If you've never had our drinking chocolate before, you are missing out. Rich and creamy, it is a pure delight. Our most popular? Right after the Spicy (which is another post) comes Cluizel's 72% blend. It is pure chocolate delight. Perfectly balanced and delightfully smooth it is exactly what drinking chocolate should taste like.

Michel Cluizel Noir de Cacao 72% Dark Chocolate
Don't have time for a cup? Bring home a bar and make some for yourself!

Our Recipe:

Directions: Heat milk over low heat and whisk in finely chopped chocolate (be careful not to boil the milk). Once the chocolate has melted pour into a mug and enjoy!

Stop by Saturday for a taste and see just how delicious this bar truly is.

Purveyor of fine chocolate