Category Archives: Rating: 7

Chocolatesmith Chocolates

Chocolatesmith

Recently I was sent a nice selection of chocolates from The Chocolatesmith in SanteFe, New Mexico. They hand make all their chocolates in SanteFe and the quality of everything I tried was very good — fresh and flavorful. The Petite Melange (shown above) has a nice selection of sweet, dark and slightly spicy confections. I especially enjoyed the Dipped Caramel with Sea Salt and the Don Juan Pecan — a caramel, pecan chocolate.

Chocolatesmith_winter_bark

I also tried their Winter Mint Bark, a nice mix of white chocolate, dark chocolate and peppermint. The bittersweet chocolate kept things from being too sweet here. The pretty presentation makes for a nice gift too.

I also have some wax covered chocolate they sent to me to try — More on that soon!

Abuelita — Hispanic Chocolate Beverage

Abuelita

Recently I was given samples of Abuelita by Nestle which is a cinnamon flavored chocolate beverage. I was happy to see that these products use real sugar and are cholesterol free — something hard to come by these days.

As you can see, the product comes in a liquid, packets of powder and chocolate discs. My daughter loves the liquid which easily makes a cold chocolate drink or a hot chocolate. I found the cinnamon flavor to be quite prominent in the liquid. In fact, it is more of a hot cinnamon flavor — like a red hot candy — than the sweet cinnamon flavor I prefer.

The chocolate discs require a bit more work, but are totally worth it! One disc makes 4 servings, so I made this on a weekend when the whole family could enjoy it. It's really simple — you just heat it with milk on the stove until everything is hot and frothy. Since it is real chocolate, the resulting drink is quite rich and tasty. I felt like the cinnamon flavor was toned down in this version which I preferred.

You should be able to find this in your grocery — probably in the Hispanic food section. Give it a try for a nice alternative to the usual plain cocoa.

IKEA Dark Chocolate

Ikea_dark

Here’s the third and final IKEA bar — Dark Chocolate.  As you can see, it is dark and shiny — very nicely tempered.  This is my favorite of the IKEA bars by far.

There isn’t a strong aroma on opening the package — just a mild chocolate smell.  The pieces break apart with a nice snap.  Upon putting the chocolate on your tongue, it begins to melt quickly — a bit dry at first, a very slight graininess.  The flavor is rich and fudgie — sweet and plain.  While there isn’t fruitiness, or spiciness — no overwhelming flavors other than chocolate — it is still quite nice.  At the finish there is a hint of coffee, or roasted nuts. 

I would definitely pick up this bar again — at only $2 it is a deal.

IKEA Hazelnut Chocolate

Ikea_hazelnut_chocolate

Next in the IKEA lineup is Hazelnut Chocolate.  Upon opening the wrapper, I noticed a bit of bloom on the bar — most noticeable on the bottom.  This bar smells distinctly of hazelnuts, as it should.  The chocolate is thick and sweet — much like the milk chocolate bar, but here there is more of a milkiness and intense sweetness.  There are actually crushed hazelnuts in the bar, which taste quite fresh, giving the bar a nice crunch.

I liked this quite a bit better than the plain milk chocolate and although it is a bit too sweet for me, I think it works as a desert bar. 

Seeds Change — Playa del Coco

Playa_del_coco

The Seeds of Change Playa del Coco bar is an organic, 61% cacao chocolate bar with coconut.  Upon opening the package, there is an overwhelming smell of coconut.  The bar was well tempered and had a nice snap — quite pretty.  It melted easily on the tongue and was very smooth until you reached the coconut which gave the bar a nice crunch and bit of texture.  Overall I really liked this bar, however I believe the coconut was a bit overdone.  The ingredient list shows that there is added coconut extract — I think perhaps this could have been left out to great effect. 

I purchased my bar at Whole Foods, and they appear to be widely available.  More information as well as retail locations can be found at the Seeds of Change website.

Lake Champlain — Triple Nut & Macadamias

Lake_champlain_nuts

Recently Lake Champlain Chocolates sent me a bunch of their bars to try out and I am slowly starting to work my way through them.  First up we have two nutty items — the Triple Nut Milk Chocolate bar and Milk Chocolate Macadamias.

The Triple Nut bar is sweet milk chocolate combined with salted almonds, pistachios and cashews.  The chocolate is very sweet, quite smooth and a little milky.  The nuts are chopped up into small pieces and while they are fresh and crunchy, I lost the individual taste of each nut.  Overall this bars was tasty — more of a dessert bar for me than chocolate.  I prefer darker chocolate and a single nut — bigger pieces are better. . .

Which brings me to the macadamia nuts — YUM!  These really hit the spot for me.  There is a thin, but substantial coating of what appears to be a slightly darker milk chocolate — just enough to give you a sweet, sugary hit before you bite into the salty, fresh, crunchy nut.  Perfect combo!  These were simply not safe in my drawer and I finished off an entire package of them before the week was up. 

I received my Lake Champlain chocoaltes from the company for review, but you can purchase them at their website and many stores.  More Lake Champlain Chocolate bar reviews to follow!

Taza Stone Ground Chocolate 70% Dark

Taza_stone_ground

If you want to try something really different — give Taza Stone Ground Chocolate a taste.  This dark chocolate which contains only cacao beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter & whole vanilla beans is made quite differently than European or American chocolate.  Instead of conching, this bar is simply ground between — you guessed it — stone tablets.  In addition, they believe in a light roast for their chocolate — so instead of a dark, bitter chocolate you get something light, fruity and pungent.

On first opening the package I was hit with a very strong, almost pungent aroma.  The bar is shiny and well tempered and it has a nice snap to it.  I popped a piece in my mouth and immediately noticed a grainy texture — not unpleasantly grainy as this chocolate is somewhat softer than many dark chocolates.  I would describe the mouthfeel as somewhat chalky.

The flavor is very fruity — ripe, sweet, tropical fruit.  The overwhelming flavor for me was banana followed by vanilla.  The chocolate is bright and tangy and lingers for a long time in the mouth.  The more I eat, the more I like it.

I received my bar from Taza Chocolate, but you can purchase them at the Taza website.

Omanhene 80% Dark Chocolate

Omanhene_80_dark_chocolate

The Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company is a bit unusual in that not only do their cacao beans come from Africa, but their chocolate is also processed there.   So this is bean to bar — completely within Ghana which they say results in higher wages for not only factory workers, but also local farmers.

Upon opening the package, I found that there was significant bloom on the bar, as you can see from the photo.  In addition, when I broke off a piece it came away with a nice snap but as I bit down on it, it nearly shattered.  I think that I would have rated this chocolate higher if not for these characteristics.

The taste of the bar, however, was quite nice.  At first I was hit with the taste of pepper and spice.  This gave way to a hint of cinnamon which, as the chocolate very slowly began to melt, turned to a bit of sweet ripe fruit while still maintaining a background of spice.  The lingering flavor is coffee.  The chocolate was a bit dry, taking a long time to melt, on the tongue and not entirely creamy or smooth. 

Overall, I was impressed with the flavor of this bar, but not the texture.  As I was writing this review, I did a little web search on Omanhene and it appears that the cocoa — used to make hot cocoa and mochas is well regarded and used by quite a few respected coffee shops.  Perhaps I’ll have to give it a try one day.

I think Pete purchased my bar for me, but I have no idea where.  You can purchase the chocolate as well as cocoa mixes through the Omanhene website.

Domori Latte Sal

Domori_latte_sal

I know I usually review a lot of dark chocolate on the blog as it is my favorite, but every once in a while I see a milk bar that gets my attention.  Usually this is because it includes something that I can’t resist — such is the case with the Domori Latte Sal bar.  True to it’s name, it is a milk chocolate bar with sea salt.

The bar here is not what I’m used to since it has no little dividing lines which help you to snap it into perfect portions, instead it is a flat almost blank bar as you can see in the photo.  The chocolate looked quite nice except for that little splotch in the middle and true to it’s appearance it snapped beautifully, all be it irregularly.

The chocolate is smooth and milky with a lovely mouthfeel.  At first taste, the chocolate is very fruity and I taste banana with the slightest hint of leather which seems to come from the salt.  This bar is quite sweet, but that is offset somewhat by the salt which gives it an added dimension.

I think I’ll still stick with the darker stuff on a regular basis, but this bar is nice when you are in the mood for something sweet. 

Dallmayr Champagnertrüffel Schokolade

Dallmayr_champagne_chocolate

Something new — chocolate from Germany, namely Dallmayr which has been around since 1700 according to their website.  I tried the Champagnertrüffel Schokolade which is a milk chocolate bar filled with a soft Champagne center. 

The chocolate is exceptionally smooth and very sweet.  At first taste, the chocolate is quite fruity, then as you bite into the center there is a hint of booziness which gives way to a sweet, milky finish.  It was quite enjoyable, but due to its rich flavor I would consider it a desert bar — not something I would eat every day.   It was a fun little treat for New Year’s Eve though! 

May you all enjoy lots of wonderful chocolate in the coming year!