I’m amazed that it is already time for the 4th Annual Dark Matters Chocolate Reviews Craft Chocolate Awards! Each year chocolatemakers are upping their game and 2019 was no exception. With so many amazing bars to choose from it was quite the challenge to narrow down the list!
How do I choose winners? Throughout the year I taste hundreds of bars and I keep a running list of bars as nominees for various categories. I look for chocolate that is complex flavor-wise, extra pleasant textures and the representation of single origin and/or inclusion that stands out above the crowd. (It’s important to note that different cacao harvests and separate chocolate bar batches all lead to potential changes in the flavors that come through so the bars tasted in 2019 might taste different than the current 2020 version).
The bars that are eligible to win are ones that I tried in the same year, meaning that the bar might have been made in 2018, but I didn’t actual taste it until the year 2019. Some of these bars are limited editions and some may be part of a makers regular line up.
What disqualifies a bar for being a nominee? As a reviewer, makers sometimes send me bars. (Which is quite a treat! Thank you makers!). If I am given a bar for free then I leave it off the nominees list. I received bars this year that I truly believe deserve awards, but alas, I must continue to stick to my own rule.
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).
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!
Note: This interview was first published in my original Blogspot site on 3-24-17.
I’m excited to be sharing another interview with all of you chocoholics out there. This time I interview Lauren Heineck who makes bean to bar chocolates called WKND Chocolate out of Denver, Colorado. She also produces a podcast celebrating women in chocolate titled Well Tempered which may be found on both her website, and now on iTunes. Lauren also promotes strong community ties with those in all aspects of the chocolate industry from farmers, chocolate makers, suppliers, and chocolate reviewers (like yours truly), and more. Needless to say, she is one busy, and creative lady!