Dark Matter’s Craft Chocolate Holiday Gift Guide 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”

Mission Chocolate 75% Cupuaçu Brazil Chocolate Bar Review

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”

Violet Sky Chocolate: Pierce The Veil Dark Chocolate Bar Review

Violet Sky Chocolate is a bean-to-bar maker located in South Bend, IN.  I’ve had some of their bars in the past, so I was especially happy to see them at last weekend’s NW Chocolate Festival in Seattle, WA so I could buy some more!

I love Violet Sky Chocolate wrappers but one in particular really caught my eye.  Their Pierce The Veil bar has this lovely shimmery wrapper with the label actually on the back of the bar.

Violet Sky Chocolate Pierce The Veil Continue reading “Violet Sky Chocolate: Pierce The Veil Dark Chocolate Bar Review”

NW Chocolate Festival Seattle, WA Craft Chocolate Trends 2017

The 9th Annual Northwest Chocolate Festival took place this year on Nov. 11 -12th, 2017 in Seattle, WA. This was my third year to attend ( I live in Port Townsend, WA so I drive to the Bainbridge Ferry to get over to Seattle.  So grateful to live this close to an event like this!).

The NW Chocolate Festival is a fantastic place to try 100+ craft chocolate makers from both the U.S. and international locations.  Plus, there are several educational talks, presentations, and workshops throughout both days.  There is something for everyone!

For example, Hazel Lee presented a workshop that involved tasting chocolate while utilizing her lovely Taste with Colour Flavour Map and then the participants painted what colors or pictures they envisioned while savoring the craft chocolate.  It was enjoyable to listen to what attendees tasted and the colors the envisioned.  Especially people who weren’t overly familiar with craft chocolate flavors.  (Want a Taste with Colour for your own?  Check it out here:  Taste with Colour). I’ve had her flavour map for a few months now and didn’t even know I associated colors with flavors until then.  (Find out more about Hazel in my interview with her:  Hazel Lee ).

Hazel Lee Taste with Colour Workshop at The NW Chocolate Festival 2017 Continue reading “NW Chocolate Festival Seattle, WA Craft Chocolate Trends 2017”

Chocolate Naive Nano_Lot Collection: Elizabeth Agudelo & Nicalizo Special Reviews

I’ve been a fan a Chocolate Naive for quite some time now and have enjoyed watching, and tasting, the progression of taking what started as good bars and overtime experiencing Chocolate Naive elevating their craft chocolate to even higher levels of great taste.

Chocolate Naive is a craft chocolate maker in Lithuania.  I’ve tried several of their bars before these particular ones in the Nano_Lot collection, and have even more bars I’ve purchased that are now in my collection to post reviews on soon, so I was especially excited when Chocolate Naive’s founder Domantas Uzpalis sent me these two bars from his new collection.

Nano_Lot Chocolate bars are made in very limited amounts from unique, high quality cocoa with emphasis on education and continued exploration into the world of rare, high quality chocolate.   I hope my reviews on these bars also help inspire you to continually seek out more bean-to-bar chocolate and add to your tasting palate.

Nano_Lot Elizabeth Agudelo: 

Per the inner card of information the cocoa beans used in this bar are listed as  “FTA, a clone selected by Colombian Cacao Federation”.  This bar is made of the first yield  from four year old cacao trees from a section of Villa Gabi that was renewed by  Elizabeth Agudelo with “experimental clones selected from the old hybrids”.

Chocolate Naive Nano-Lot Elizabeth Agudelo Pic Taken at Fort Worden, Port Townsend, WA Continue reading “Chocolate Naive Nano_Lot Collection: Elizabeth Agudelo & Nicalizo Special Reviews”

Dark Matters Tasters and Makers: Chocolate Exploration, Ruby Chocolate, White Chocolate, Etc. Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 where chocolate tasters each give their own unique take on the current Dark Matters craft chocolate related question.

If you missed Part 1 catch up here: http://darkmatterschocolatereviews.com/2017/09/29/dark-matters-tasters-makers-series-chocolate-exploration-ruby-chocolate-white-chocolate-etc-part-1/

The current question is:  How do you feel about living in a time where new horizons in chocolate are being explored so widely (i.e. ruby chocolate, white chocolate, etc). What are the downfalls in this exploration by chocolate makers?  What are the benefits?

Estelle Tracy of 37 Chocolates

Estelle Tracy:  It’s an exciting time to be involved in chocolate.  There is a dizzying array of bars and flavors, so much that it’s hard to keep up with the latest innovations, the latest origin, or new “it” bar.  That said, I do see that the media’s attention usually goes to the flashiest thing (think bacon chocolate), not the most delicious.  I get it, of course, but it can also be frustrating.  Continue reading “Dark Matters Tasters and Makers: Chocolate Exploration, Ruby Chocolate, White Chocolate, Etc. Part 2”

Original Beans Piura Malingas 75% Piura Valley, Peru Dark Chocolate Bar Review

I’ve tried several craft chocolate bars made by Original Beans and they have all been great, but their Piura Malingas 75% bar is extra tasty.  As soon as I opened this bar I knew it would be special just from the aromas.  It is definitely one of the top single-origin bars I’ve had this year. This organic and vegan bar is made with Peruvian Nacional beans from Piura Valley, Peru.

I hope you can get your bean-to-bar loving hands on one of these!  I purchased mine at The Chocolate Project in Victoria, B.C.

Color;  Medium brown.

Nose:  Green apple, green grape, cocoa.

Original Beans Piura Malingas 75% Dark Chocolate Bar
Continue reading “Original Beans Piura Malingas 75% Piura Valley, Peru Dark Chocolate Bar Review”

Dark Matters Tasters and Makers: Chocolate Exploration, Ruby Chocolate, White Chocolate, Etc. Part 1

Welcome to Part 1 of the next installment of the Dark Matters Tasters and Makers Series.  I was originally planning to make this round all about white chocolate, and then ruby chocolate was announced, so I decided to go the route of current chocolate exploration in which the Tasters and Makers could comment on ruby chocolate, white chocolate, or other any topics along those lines.

This series continues to be a space to provide the Tasters and Makers a spot to let their own thought processes and styles shine through, and give the pleasure to the readers (and the other Tasters and Makers out there) of having multiple answers to the same topics presented side-by-side. This particular round includes a surprise chocolate expert guest contributor: Clay Gordon!

Now on to the current question!

Question:  How do you feel about living in a time where new horizons in chocolate are being explored so widely (i.e. ruby chocolate, white chocolate, etc). What are the downfalls in this exploration by chocolate makers?  What are the benefits?

(When I say, “white chocolate” my thinking was along the lines of how white chocolate has changed with single-origin cocoa butter occasionally being used, or no vanilla added, or less sugar, and so forth).

Mackenzie Rivers of Map Chocolate Continue reading “Dark Matters Tasters and Makers: Chocolate Exploration, Ruby Chocolate, White Chocolate, Etc. Part 1”

Solstice Chocolate The S’mores Bar & Marshmallow Drinking Chocolate Reviews

The good news is that Solstice Chocolate The S’mores Bar is exactly what I want in a s’mores chocolate bar!  The only tough part is that they only made 200 of them as part of a micro-batch project for Cacao Review’s new Underground Chocolate Club bag.  This bar is part of the 1st collection, so once all 200 bags have sold out then this bar is gone!

Solstice Chocolate The S’mores Bar & Marshmallow Drinking Chocolate Cacao Review Underground Chocolate Club Continue reading “Solstice Chocolate The S’mores Bar & Marshmallow Drinking Chocolate Reviews”

Interview with Jessica Tupper, the Seattle Dessert Geek with Victoria Cooksey

If you are visiting Seattle, WA and want to know the best spots for chocolate and desserts then check out Jessica Tupper, the Seattle Dessert Geek.  Between Jessica’s website, YouTube channel and Instagram account you will find a ton of useful information and dessert recommendations.

And now for the interview:

Jessica Tupper, the Seattle Dessert Geek

Victoria Cooksey:  What inspired you to focus on desserts?

Jessica Tupper:  Allergies!  Well, kind of.

I started blogging way back in 2011, and back then I was covering more general stuff.  (The first major food event I covered was Tales of the Cocktail). I took a break to graduate from grad school and when I got out I knew I wanted a niche.  Thing was, when I was covering, all food my sensitivities had been making things tough.  As in, I can’t eat raw tomatoes, cilantro, or be around any kind of cooked eggs.  Makes it slightly hard to cover brunches out here.  Continue reading “Interview with Jessica Tupper, the Seattle Dessert Geek with Victoria Cooksey”