Kekao Chocolate Purveyors offers a dark chocolate subscription box featuring three different bars for $29.99 a month. The bars are often a mix of bean-to-bar and some non-bean-to-bar, but excellent quality (often organic) chocolate. They are offering a discount code for my readers for $5 off the first box when subscribing. Discount code: DARKMATTERS5.
Per Kekao website’s “About Us” section, the founder and CEO, Dino Hodzic, missed out on a hiking trip to Machu Picchu due to a fractured knee. When Dino’s friends came back from Peru they brought back gifts including chocolate bars. This lead to Dino researching dark chocolate and it’s health benefits and thus Kekao.co was born.
I was given this particular box from Kekao. I had no idea in advance which bars would be included in it. I’ve included my own nose/taste notes for each bar in this post.
Soma Chocolatemaker, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada features bean-to-bar chocolate creations and was founded by David Castellan and Cynthia Leung.
The very first item I tried by Soma Chocolatemaker was their Dark Side of the Mug drinking chocolate (which I was inspired to order right after seeing an IG post on it in March 2016 by Ecole Chocolat). Since then I have now tasted 23 items made by Soma including chocolate bars, cookies, toffee and drinking chocolate. Why so many? Because Soma always manages to demonstrate consistent quality, texture and taste in their items. And if you want to know what a great “snap” should sound/feel like when biting into a piece of chocolate this is the maker to learn from.
Recently Dormouse Chocolates conducted an experiment of making two special chocolate bars: one from reddish-brown cacao pods only and a separate one with beans from yellow pods only, with the assistance of Kablon Farms in South Cotabato in the Philippines. Kablon Farms kept the reddish-brown and yellow pods separated and Dormouse Chocolates conducted the same roast, recipe and time of conching for each bar to see if there was a difference in taste with bars made with beans from different colored pods. Will there be? Let’s find out!
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”.
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.
Last year I purchased the 1st Dick Taylor Solomon Islands Exclusive Release bar at the NW Chocolate Festival in Seattle, WA. This year it’s back and I was able to order it on Dick Taylor’s website. I got bar #01024 of this 72% dark chocolate bar made with cacao from the island of Paspaskato. The cacao is grown there by Kenny Patovaki. This particular bar is made from his winning cacao from the Solomon Island Chocolate Week.
Dormouse Chocolates is a craft chocolate maker located in Manchester, England. They also happen to be one of my favorite bean-to-bar chocolate makers. A big congrats to Dormouse for their recent UK Rising Star Award from the Academy of Chocolate Awards! Well done ladies!!!
1st up today is their Limited Edition 75% Dark Honduras bar. This bar was in one of Dormouse’s monthly chocolate bar subscription boxes. The origin of the beans is Copan Highlands, Honduras, and the bean type is Mayan Red. Conch time 48 hours.
Limited Edition 75% Dark Honduras Dormouse Chocolates Pic taken in Port Townsend, WA
Color: This bar is a medium/dark brown that also has a reddish/purple color in certain lights.
Nose: Black currant, jammy, new world red wine, coffee.
Texture: Good snap and very smooth.
Dormouse Chocolates 75% Dark Honduras Limited Edition Bar
Taste: Buttery to start, some tannins, dried cherries, Cabernet Franc grape taste and acidity, red fruit. and dark honey.
Finish: A very long finish around 25 – 30 minutes.
Dormouse Chocolates happens to be making a fantastic white chocolate bar called Toasted Madagascar White 38%. This bar keeps selling out so be sure to check their website often, or send them an email to see when it will be back in stock. The cocoa butter in this bar comes from criollo and trinitario beans from Madagascar Sambirano Valley and has a 28 hour conch time. The milk powder in this bar is toasted which makes this an extra tasty white chocolate bar.
Color: Toffee, golden color like caramel.
Nose: Caramel, condensed milk, nutty.
Dormouse Chocolates 38% Toasted Madagascar White (full size bar)
Texture: Very smooth.
Toasted Madagascar White (mini bar size)
Taste: Buttery, caramel, roasted macadamia nut, cream and light brown sugar.
Finish: A medium/long finish with some fruity notes.
Today’s chocolate bar reviews feature three of Damson Chocolate’s Vietnamese dark chocolate bars. Damson Chocolate is a bean-to-bar craft chocolate maker located in London, England. Today’s chocolate review post includes Damson’s 70% Lam Dong, 74% Tien Giang, and 80% Dak Lak dark chocolate bars. Side-by-side tasting from bars made from cacao from a single country with different percentages, is a great way to learn about chocolate and figure out what your favorite tasting notes are. Learning never tasted so good!