Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The Chocolate Alchemist

The Chocolate Alchemist is a NOOOOTORIOUS chocolate maker in Philadelphia. The magic behind the chocolate is that they utilise cacao, and by doing so it becomes a "vehicle for true flavour, nutrition and energy"

The packaging, when in hand, is distinct. It is made from lokta paper (i.e. tree-free). The ingredients are all organic, and clean. Looking online there is great emphasis on paying fair prices for The Chocolate Alchemist's raw materials. Through and through this chocolate screams quality.

The 80% Philly Blend, a 5 different region blend, had an aroma of dill, coconut cream, vanilla, Muscovado, and a taste herbaceous, coconut, Muscovado, cream. The melt was a little sandy. The sugar was coconut sugar

The 75% Cultivagro was a single origin from Ecuador, sweetened with coconut sugar. I had the notes: smoky, lapsang souchong tea, leather, butterscotch, some peaty whisky; the mouthfeel had thoughts of astringency and tannins
80% Philly blend
The 90% Zarumilla, made from Tumbes Peruvian cacao, was super lime juice, pancakes, brown sugar, grassy bamboo, acidic juiciness, flowers. This one was sweetened by Colombian panela sugar
Clasico 60% was a dark milk chocolate, with a blend of 5 different cacao and sweetened by brown sugar. This was an inclusion bar with roasted hazelnuts, coconut, vanilla and salt. I felt this really could have been harmonious and toasty, it was instead quite raw in flavour 

Goat Maple 65% dark goat milk chocolate, with a blend of Dominican Republic and Peruvian cacao, sweetened with local maple sugar! It was like a creamy creamy creamy chocolate pudding, made with goats cheese obviously. The maple sugar here was a nice touch

Out of the collection, I was very much for the dark chocolates; particularly the Cultivagro and Zarumilla - these two being very nuanced 

Monday, 30 January 2017

Mast Brown Sugar

60% cacao, brown sugar, cacao butter, buttermilk. The cacao beans are from Tanzania, but this detail was found on the Mast website not packaging, most likely for the minimal aesthetic, but cleverly allows for cacao deviation

This particular 28g bar was Brooklyn-made, bought in Shoreditch. It had a gummy melt, obvious not much cocoa butter added, although suffice to create a milk chocolate (that would be 35% cocoa butter minimum). It was very sweet, especially so in the finish. The flavour was distinctly Mast Brothers'

Overall, I like Mast Brothers' flavoured chocolate a lot, this one wasn't a standout bar, but it was nice enough. I like the colours on the packaging, and the texture of that too. The chocolate having brown sugar and buttermilk feels American, I like that too

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Moser Roth Chocolate Liqueurs

Some throwback-feels with reviewing a product like this, a product like this being not craft chocolate! Holla! 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Dick Taylor 72% Black Fig

image: Caputo's Deli
Dick Taylor, handcrafted in Northern California, bought in UK up-market supermarket M&S, wow! That is a great moment for craft chocolate. Selected Marks & Spencer stores currently stock Dick Taylor's Belize and Black Fig bars. Belize I've had, so Black Fig I had to buy. I am fond of Dick Taylor craft chocolate, mostly because of their Belize bar...

The ingredients: organic cacao from Madagascar, organic cane sugar, black mission figs. The chocolate itself is just 2 ingredients. The figs get sprinkled on the back, although less do than I expected (from having seen pictures)

It was pretty vinegar in flavour, though the subtle fig was a nice touch. This chocolate probably tastes like Chocolate Noise's fig and balsamic vinegar truffles, if I ever had one. It lacked the fruity quality of Madagascan cacao, harnessing predominantly the acidity of it. It had a smooth melt, despite no added cocoa butter. Admittedly, I think anything I have said or could say about this particular bar is unreliable, as it just didn't seem like Dick Taylor's approach, nor did it match what other people have found the chocolate to be, i.e. great. (batch no. 16195, if you're interested)

Friday, 23 December 2016

Hummingbird Hispaniola 70%

Hummingbird, who craft chocolate in Almonte, Ontario, Canada; won the Golden Bean award in this year's Academy of Chocolate awards, for their Hispaniola 70%. And so it was kinda the word that this Hispaniola was the BEST bar of 2016. The "best" bar of 2016 is recognised as something else from another chocolate awards, but it's alllllll relative

The aroma acidic, vinegar, cherry wine. The taste is chocolate, red wine, cherries, toasted almond. This chocolate melts smoothly and quickly, which enhances the experience. Cherry jam on toast, so very cherry
The first time I had tried I was underwhelmed, but now it has qualities I really admire. It is balanced, due to a great conche I feel. It's certainly nice, not a standout of 2016 for me, but nice! It took time to get my hands on this bar, everywhere sold out - eventually managed to bypass a waiting list of 100+ people in Toronto

I found the packaging to be unfortunate, inside and out; there was too much going on with many different fonts and images. This, along with the peripheral information is the forgoing of great design. It gives off a European vibe, not in this decade