Chocolate delivered to my door? Every month? Sign me up!
Perhaps you’ve heard of Standard Cocoa, the innovative chocolate lovers introducing Americans to artisan chocolate – to which we might not otherwise have been exposed!
This week we’re talking about candy bars, and if you’re looking for an alternative to your favorite sugar-laden treat, consider the exciting flavors of Middlebury Chocolates.
Middlebury is a small “bean-to-bar” chocolate maker – meaning they make chocolate from scratch. The raw cocoa beans are shipped in from Latin America. Then all the roasting, winnowing, conching and crafting is done by hand on site in Middlebury.
That’s a lot of work!
But it yields a remarkable product. By processing their own beans, chocolate makers like Middlebury, Potomac, and even Hershey and Mars are able to finely tune and highly individualize the flavor of their chocolate. And you can imagine the possibility for widely varying results, given the type of bean and how it’s processed.
Middlebury Chocolates did not disappoint. Each of the three bars I received yielded a tangy sweetness that was at once intriguing and satisfying. Two bars were what you might call “flavored” (they had other ingredients besides chocolate and sugar), and one was a straight up Dominican.
The Vermonty: I think this was my favorite. Dark chocolate with maple sugar (I adore maple anything) and coffee, it was subtly gritty and flamboyantly delicious.
The Red Bar: I love my spicy chocolates, but this one was just OK for me. Between the cloves, black salt, hibiscus and anise, there is plenty in this bar to get excited about. It’s unique and interesting – just not my personal favorite.
75% Dominican: Nice and dark, lightly sweetened chocolate made from Dominican Republic cocoa beans. According to the tasting notes on the package, this variety has subtle notes of cherry, raisins, toasted coconut, and rum. I didn’t pick up on any of that, but I liked it.
More on the history of chocolate bars Friday, but if you’re watching your waistline (and your sugar intake) you can save a lot of calories – and find a lot of flavor – with an artisan chocolate bar versus candy bars.
And while you’re at it, you may find that fine chocolate is packed with so much flavor you don’t need as much to feel satisfied.
I know, it’s crazy talk, but try me! If you come back with a legit taste test fail, I will duly reconsider everything I’ve ever held to be true about chocolate, the world, and the universe.
Consider yourself dared. It’s a big chocolate world out there – don’t let it go untasted!