Monday, 15 December 2014

Soma Black Science Trinidad 70%

The bean-to-bar scene has pretty much spread like wildfire in the US and Canada. Soma are small batch craft chocolate makers and chocolatiers, based in Toronto. Their Black Science Trinidadian chocolate was made from Trinitario cacao from Sangre Grande in Trinidad, which was to gift "notes of brownie and roasted grains", organic cane sugar and cocoa butter
I was stunned at how smooth the texture was, including in the mouth. The aroma on the surface was grain and metallic- not so tempting, but deeper in was strong-brewed tea leaves, apple, dried tropical fruits (papaya, pineapple)

The taste was really great. It had a fruity acidity amongst the tea leaves, with cacao and bitterness at the back of the tongue. I presume the beans had a reasonably high roast with a toasty flavour like that. Nearing to the end, it was a really intense brownie/hot chocolate taste (not sugar-sweet). I think it's the fruitiness that really finishes the chocolate for you; it leaves you in admiration for craft chocolate

This is real excellent chocolate

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Paul A Young Fine Chocolates Selection

Visiting Paul A Young's Soho store was paramount to me when in London. From the shop, I had an Aztec-style hot chocolate made with quality chocolate and Muscovado sugar and a chosen spice of cardamom. I also bought a bar of his bean-to-bar Madagascar 63%, though I'm kicking myself for not buying a bar of Duffy's chocolate. And of course I couldn't have left without a few of Paul's fresh, handmade chocolates! The question is, would I pay £7 for 4 of his chocolates again? 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Zotter Labooko lactose-free Milk Chocolate

Lactose-free milk chocolate. I love Zotter's Labooko range, with its origins and flavours, but I'll admit that I was somewhat underwhelmed when given these bars, not to sound ungrateful, of course, I just didn't have a lactose intolerance. Little did I know that 'lactose-free' simply meant a sugar removed from the milk: no biggie
The 35% cocoa, cow's milk-milk chocolate smelt like white chocolate; it tasted rich like white chocolate. If it was a white chocolate, it would have been the best white chocolate I had ever had

The taste was rich in cane sugar, vanilla and toffee. I loved it. It had a smooth texture, excellent temper, mould and snap. The only thing I didn't like was fructose-glucose syrup listed on the ingredients, I had never seen this in chocolate before, and there was more of it than there was cocoa mass. But oh god was this chocolate good
The 40% cocoa 'milk' chocolate smelt familiar. Racking my index of smells, eureka!The Raw Chocolate Company's Vanoffee. It was an aroma not too pleasant

The taste reminded me of, dare I say, 'cheap' chocolate. Occasionally I came across the finely ground cereal [millet powder] which enhanced the texture. The finish was kinda malty

Zotter calls it a milk chocolate, but it contains no milk ... the ingredients are: cocoa butter, raw cane sugar, millet powder, cocoa mass, salt & vanilla. What makes it a milk chocolate is that the millet within was originally made into 'millet milk', a vegan milk substitute, and then dried into millet powder, just like regular milk is. I did not enjoy this chocolate

If you have a lactose intolerance, and even if you don't, I recommend the 35% milk chocolate bar! And if you're vegan, maybe stick with Zotter's Labooko dark chocolate. A little reminder that Zotter chocolate is made bean to bar, organic and Fairtrade!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Dark Sugars Chocolate Selection

Dark Sugars was jam packed, even on the Sunday, but that's the charm of Brick Lane. It's a street defined by diverse cultures, street food, antique, arty markets, vintage shops, cafés, cupcakes, bagels; it's no surprise a chocolate shop, as hip as this, would attract a crowd. The atmosphere in the shop was buzzing, with the smell of chocolate and the old school hip hop playing, it felt real cool. But it was difficult to stay focused. I cannot believe I didn't pick up a cherry chocolate or a caramel or the cognac truffle, and did I miss the Infused Havana Tobacco truffle? Hey - there's always next time!
Putting a cocoa dusted truffle in with a bag of white chocolates? School boy error. But I guess it's not about how they look, rather how they taste! It was £7 for 100g, and with 6 chocolates in my bag it came to just £4.90

Friday, 28 November 2014

Willie's Cacao Colombian Gold Los Llanos 88

It's Willie's darkest GOLD yet. If you were to buy the Colombian 88%, you'll find that on the packaging, and online too, it will say "redcurrant and spice" notes, however on my packaging it was "soft cherry & plum". I was curious to find out which was more accurate
The single estate, Los Llanos, cacao aroma was cocoa (standard, dutch-processed), coconut, and most definitely plummy. Like dark, verging on overripe plums and their pits fermenting in barrels. Strikingly it became a malt loaf, packed with raisins, lightly spiced and made extra sticky with black tea. The malt loaf was toasted. I suspect Willie went for a medium roast 
The flavour opened with cocoa, which also finished the chocolate, and a soft bitterness. Naturally, as chocolate melts, flavour compounds break down on the tongue and you begin tasting all the different flavours of the chocolate. With this Colombian 88%, cherry quietly surfaced, which brought a sour-cherry feeling on the tongue. The cherry remained mild in taste though, with only the slightest sourness. I discerned the toasty roast, but apart from that ... nothing. I was hoping for more flavours, like the plentiful fruits in aroma 

The chocolate didn't take me on a gustatory journey. I will admit that the intense cocoa flavour distracted me slightly, but I still don't think it had a complex flavour. I liked the aroma though, that was nostalgic. Like Willie's Peruvian, it smelt like Polish sweet things - cherry, plum, prune etc.

I like my chocolate to be a little sweeter and fruitier