On the eve before Caputo’s 8th Annual Chocolate Festival, which featured the Icelandic Omnom Chocolate, they held their first private media dinner with Kjartan Gíslason, chef, Chocolate Maker and Co-Founder of Omnom Chocolate with a theme of a traditional Icelandic dinner. Also present from Omnom Chocolate were, Thorlakur Thor, Export Manager and Hanna Eiríksdóttir, Marketing Manager. While the meal was presented in an elegant fashion, it managed to also be casual and family style. Traditions, especially family and food traditions, are important to Caputo’s Matt Caputo and Yelena Caputo with this meal captured these sentiments.
2019 marked the 5th year in a row that I have attended the NW Chocolate Festival in Seattle, WA. With each year different trends emerge. This article focuses especially on craft chocolate trends at NW and may or may not be reflective on trends seen elsewhere.
Trend #1: While makers still offer 100% bars I noticed a much greater presence of milk and dark/milk bars this year including an increase in milk chocolate inclusion bars.
Trend#2: For several years various salts have been featured in bars, but this year makers are turning to a range of peppercorns and/or a combo of pepper with salt.
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).
In 2005 Ana and Jason Willenbrock opened Posh Chocolat in Missoula, Montana. Per their website their chocolates are made from “single-origin chocolate from the South American region”. Ana is originally from Brazil and Jason is from St. Louis , Missouri. They met while attending The Culinary Institute of American in New York. Both have culinary experience working in Europe and in the USA prior to opening Posh Chocolat.
Ana recently sent me some of their chocolates, caramels and chocolate bars to sample.
Luke Owen Smith of The Chocolate Bar in New Zealand puts together amazing bean-to-bar chocolate bars from all over the world for a monthly chocolate subscription box as well as leads chocolate tastings. As if that wasn’t enough, want to know what else makes Luke pretty special? Sometime ago he found out that I never had the chance to try Marou’s no longer available Treasure Island bar so he sent me a piece from the last bar he had in his personal chocolate stash! When I was trying to locate Chocolate Naive’s one-off bar made with sea buckthorn, The Chocolate Bar was the only place I could find it listed any longer and Luke added an extra one to his site just so I could order it. In fact, my full order arrived quickly and in great condition from New Zealand all the way to where I live in Port Townsend, WA USA.
Luke recently sent me his newest creation, a monthly Chocolate Tasting Course. The course includes 4 bite-sized pieces from 4 different tasty craft chocolates by makers from around the world. The first 6 months of the course feature a different lesson card each of those months, such as How to Taste Chocolate and the very first box includes a chocolate tasting notebook.
Read on for my mini-interview with Luke followed by pictures of his new Chocolate Tasting Course and my video on the course too.
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.
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!
Many thanks to everyone who has read my craft chocolate bar reviews, and interviews on my original Blogspot site Dark Matters Fine Chocolate Reviews. I’m in the process of switching over to Blog Press as Dark Matters Chocolate Reviews.
It’s going to take me some time to learn this new site, and get things moved over, so hang in there!
In the meantime, feel free to continue to read my current posts at: