Dark Matters Chocolate Reviews Craft Chocolate Awards 2018

Another year full of even more chocolate has come and gone bringing us to the 3rd annual Dark Matters Craft Chocolate awards for 2018.

The same rule from the past applies to these awards: Only bars I have purchased are eligible for awards.  As usual, some of these bars might still exist in a makers collection and some may have been limited edition only.  (Keep in mind that each year/harvest is different and as chocolate makers tweak recipes, bar tasting notes are subject to change).  Full tasting notes for each bar may be found on this blog, or on my Instagram account

And now the winners are…

Best Coffee Chocolate Bar:

I tried several bars with coffee in them this year.  What made the top 3 stand out the most, besides the overall great flavors, was that while often coffee can end up a bit stale-tasting in bars, these 3 managed to convey the feeling of having a fresh cup of coffee. 

3rd place goes to Hogarth’s Espresso Bar with Dominican Oko Caribe cacao & Pomeroy’s Coffee. This bar has tastes that included lemon, grape, lavender, mocha and bright coffee. 

Hogarth’s Espresso Bar (The packaging has changed since I took this photo)

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Chocolate Naive Nano Lot Drinking Chocolate Review Cacao Review Collection 2

Cacao Review has outdone themselves this year with Collection No. 2, a very limited (only 200 made of each item, ever) chocolate set featuring Chocolate Naive, Marou, Omnom,  Ritual and even a bar by Cacao Review. While a few of the chocolate bars are available for individual purchases (50 individual and 150 box sets) the only way to try Chocolate Naive’s Nano_Lot drinking chocolate is by going for the whole collection (ahem…holiday gift perfection, just saying). 

Chocolate Naive Nano_Lot Drinking Chocolate Limited Edition Cacao Review Collection No. 2

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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 ).

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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!

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