March 2014 Bean to Bar Tastings {Review – Cocoa Runners Parcel}

Easter is coming! Dust off your bonnets and egg hunt baskets! Yes I do have an Easter bonnet, very Jane Austin.

I’m not quite sure how I managed but I did indeed manage to make my first Cocoa Runner Chocolate Parcel last a whole month. Say what?!? I wanted to savour them, instead of gobbling them up in a blink of an eye. A change to my norm character I can ensure you.

I was super excited when I opened this month’s parcel as it held two of my favourite chocolate makers included (yes I have favourite chocolate makers so sue me!). Mast Brothers and Duffy’s rock my world. I love what they are currently doing in the world of chocolate in their own ways. I may of gotten a bit Mast Brothers blind and didn’t judge the other chocolates fairly when I compared them the first time.  But returning to them individually after more of the individual characteristics developed in each bar.

This months parcel was based around the theme of texture and it was interesting to  see how the different processing or inclusion of additional ingredients can affect the eating experience of the chocolate.

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The first bar (or bars!) I tried from Zotter Labooko ‘For Those In Love’ , a beautiful designed packaging that will surely set your heart a flutter. Two separate 35g bars, to either share with loved ones or showing yourself some love.

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I love the style of this chocolate, fun and distinctive. One of the bars is a bar where instead of milk powder added to the mix, dried raspberries. The result is an incredibly vibrant bar, not just in appearance but in flavour. The freshness of the raspberries with the silky cocoa butter is a treat for the palate. Such a refreshing bar to be savoured and to awaken the senses at the mid afternoon slump.

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The second bar was as equally a surprise. 60% single origin dark chocolate from Ecuador. The chocolate was silken, that melted like a dream on the tongue. It may of even creped into my top 5 chocolates tried, rich flavour without being overpowering from some the heavier, higher cocoa content bars. Dreamy.

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Next up was the beautiful Duffy’s Corazon Del Ecuador With Nibs & Oak Smoked Sea Salt. This is a perfect example who adding texture to the bars can affect the eating experience. The delightfully crunchy cocoa nibs adds an earthy, nutty note to the ultra creamy base chocolate. I like the use of salt with sweet items as can really open out the flavour of the other ingredients. I personally would of liked the smoke note to be a little bit stronger to work with the richness of the nibs but still a beautiful bar of chocolate.

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Drumroll………next up was the sexy Mast Brothers Madagascar bar! The super cool brothers from Brooklyn are known for their small batch bean to bar production, presented in slick packaging. I’ve been a fan since I tried some at Paul.A. Young chocolate making course and have been itching to try their amazing bars. The chocolate has a slightly coarser texture than European chocolate which I enjoyed and gave a different melting experience. I rationed myself a tiny square at time. A nice citrus note, slight lime and cranberry notes that keeps it a fresh bar to enjoy.

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I think I’m a magpie when it comes to chocolate packaging, that I love the varied wonder of all the producers and this is no different for Taza’s Chocolate. Stone ground with minimal processing to allow the true chocolate character to shine through. I had the Mexicano Cinnamon, a traditional Mexican chocolate ground with whole cinnamon sticks to give a wonderful warmth and wholesomeness to the bar. Due to it’s sugar and cinnamon content, I’m saving this bad boy to make traditional Mexican hot chocolate, but saying that I quite like the slightly gritty texture of this bar. They also make a host of different flavours which I want to try, such as Salted Almond,  Guajillo Chili and Salt and Pepper.

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Another great parcel this month, which I’m not sure will last as long as the other parcel but we will see. Now I can’t wait for the next one!

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March 2014 Choc Pin

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