Nathan Miller, Mashpi & Hoja Verde Chocolate Bars Pic in Port Townsend, WA
In the not to distant past Lauren Heineck of WKND Chocolate and Well Tempered Podcast shared these three chocolate bars with me. I thought it would be fun to in turn share them (or at least my tasting notes) with all of you.
Nathan Miller 71% Guatemala
Color: Medium/dark brown.
Nose: Black tea, floral and jasmine. Continue reading “Nathan Miller, Hoja Verde & Mashpi Chocolate Bar Reviews”
Chocolate Naive’s Nano_Lot collection made in Lithuania features a new chocolate bar every two months. Each bar is limited so if you see one be sure to get it!
What does it take to become a Chocolate Naive Nano_Lot bar? To quote Domantas Užpalis when I recently interviewed him: “Scarcity, flavour and background. I wanted to create the product that constantly evolves and tells a story or two”.
Nano_Lot Finca La Rioja Mexico Pic in Port Townsend, WA Continue reading “Chocolate Naive Nano_Lot Finca La Rioja Mexico Review”
Most likely, if you have spent time in the craft/specialty chocolate world you have heard of, or often times had assistance, knowledge and overall mentoring from the one-and-only John Nanci of Chocolate Alchemy. John’s very first blog post on the Chocolate Alchemy website was posted on October 1, 2003. Now that’s a lot of chocolate making, experimenting and experience! Back when it was thought that there was no way chocolate could be made at home John Nanci thankfully didn’t listen and instead paved the way for people to make both chocolate at home as well as start up their own craft/specialty chocolate business. John continues to share his knowledge through his Ask The Alchemist posts. It just so happens that John is also a FCIA 2017 Lifetime Achievement award winner.
And now for the interview.
John Nanci of Chocolate Alchemy Continue reading “Interview with John Nanci of Chocolate Alchemy with Victoria Cooksey”
Around Valentine’s Day I often see the recommendation to have port with chocolate, but the question is: which specific chocolate with which specific port? These two delights can dance together in lovely harmony, or quite frankly, the wrong two together can taste like crap. Not the way to spend a romantic evening (or any evening)!
From an economical stand point a bottle of port goes a long way and as long as you keep the bottle closed, port will last a very long time (approx. six months) unlike a bottle of regular wine. Although with port there is a wide range of cost depending on what you are buying and if it is a vintage bottle. Where I live, the Victoria Tawny Port is around $15 and the other ports I keep on hand go up from there.
Various Ports I Often Keep on Hand at Home
First, let’s go over a little information about the different styles of port followed by some port and chocolate pairing tasting notes with specific pairing recommendations. Continue reading “Port and Chocolate Pairings with Victoria Cooksey”
Chocolate Naive is a specialty bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Vilnius, Lithuania. Chocolate Naive has won several awards and Domantas was recently named 2017’s Chocolate Maker of the Year by Chocolate Uplift. After being a fan of Chocolate Naive’s bars, and communicating through direct messaging, I was pleased to met Domantas Užpalis in person at the Northwest Chocolate Festival in Seattle, WA. Domantas is great at giving complete, one- on-one, attention which is sometimes rare these days. Even more recently I had the chance to interview him.
Domantas Užpalis of Chocolate Naive with Victoria Cooksey at the Northwest Chocolate Festival November 2017
Victoria Cooksey: How has your work with craft chocolate changed you? What changes have you seen in the craft chocolate industry since you started Chocolate Naive?
Domantas Užpalis: My former background is with IT and urban city development – nothing to do with food. So jumping into chocolate was quite a change and it did change everything. I have no official culinary education although I was always interested in what we consume and where our food comes from. I was and still am a proponent of the slow food movement and this is where it all started. My first encounter with slow food concept was through the making and selling of fresh farm-made dairy products and then I slowly shifted towards more sophisticated produce – chocolate. It has been almost 8 years since I became fully engaged with this multilayered product. Continue reading “Interview with Domantas Užpalis of Chocolate Naive with Victoria Cooksey”
In celebration of Zotter’s 30th anniversary they introduced this Vintage 2016 dry-aged dark chocolate bar which is described on their web site as “a superior cuvée made of dry-aged fine flavour cocoa, which we have aged for a year in order to mature its aroma. It is a blend of 5 fine cocoa varieties from 4 different countries, and of course the legendary Criollo is part of the mix”.
Zotter’s Labooko Vintage 2016 Continue reading “Zotter Chocolate Labooko Vintage 2016 Dry Aged 75% Dark Chocolate Bar Review”
Sirene Chocolate is a craft chocolate maker located in Victoria, B.C., that makes bean-to-bar bars with direct trade chocolate.
Their Pure Cacao Pur set features two 100% bars so you can compare Kokoa Kamili, Tanzania and Costa Esmeraldas, Ecuador in one sitting. The bars are labeled in an easy to tell one bar from the other, in both written word and by the color of each bar’s foil wrapper (gold and silver).
Sirene Pure Cacao Pur Continue reading “Sirene Chocolate 100% Kokoa Kamili, Tanzania & Costa Esmeraldas, Ecuador Craft Chocolate Bar Review”
I can’t believe another amazing craft chocolate tasting year has past! That means it’s time for the 2nd annual Dark Matters Craft Chocolate Awards.
I have only included bars I have purchased myself. I’m also only including bars that I tried in 2017, so some of these bars might be new creations and some may be part of a maker’s permanent collection.
Full reviews of the winning bars are available on this blog or on my IG account.
And the winners are……drum roll….. Continue reading “Dark Matters Craft Chocolate Awards 2017”
What’s that sound? Oh, yes…the fast pace sound of the holidays approaching! No worries! Dark Matters has you covered with some craft chocolate holiday gift ideas.
Chocolate Subscription Boxes
Subscription boxes are the way to go if you are unsure which bars a person has already tried, to introduce someone to the world of craft chocolate, or to give the gift that continues delivering throughout the year. I tend to look for ones that feature their newest collections or subscription only limited edition bars. Here are some of the ones I love:
Map Chocolate’s Quarterly Subscription box delivers 4 bars from the newest collection four times a year. Dormouse Chocolate’s offers 3, 6, and 12 month subscriptions that feature one limited edition bar a month. Endorfin Food’s monthly 3 bar subscription box, that features one bar from their current line, plus two made-only-for-subscribers (Endorfin Foods also carries larger subscription boxes too).
Pic of Dormouse Chocolates and Map Chocolate Subscription Boxes Continue reading “Dark Matter’s Craft Chocolate Holiday Gift Guide 2017”
I first tried this bar during Hazel Lee’s Taste with Colour workshop in November at the NW Chocolate Festival in Seattle, WA. Luckily there were some for sale at the show. (This bar is the reason why bubble gum is listed as a tasting note on her flavour map).
Mission Chocolate is a small batch craft chocolate maker located in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This inclusion bar has the dried pulp of cupuaçu scattered generously on the back of the bar. Cupuaçu (Theobroma grandiflorum) is related to cacao. The three ingredients in this Brazil 2016 harvest bar are cacao, sugar and the cupuaçu.
Mission Chocolate 75% Cupuaçu Bar (Pic taken in Port Townsend, WA) Continue reading “Mission Chocolate 75% Cupuaçu Brazil Chocolate Bar Review”