Having ended last year with an absolute mountain of nibbled on chocolate bars from my chocolate advent calendar, you would think that I wouldn’t need any more chocolate in my life. Oh, how wrong you are. To start the year off right, Victoria, who I’ve got to know through Instagram suggested a chocolate swap with her. She is based in Portland, so I was excited to try some makers that I hadn’t been able to get my hands on yet.
She sent me a lovely selection of bars and chocolate treats. You’ll need to check out her website to have a nose at what I sent her in return.
Solstice S’mores Bar, from Salt Lake City, Utah – This was the first bar by Solstice I have tried and what a bar to start with. This is from a micro-batch project for Cacao Review’s Underground Chocolate Club. Only 200 bars were made so very lucky and fortunate that Victoria was able to get her hands on a bar for me. Also, Victoria must have sensed that I was super into S’mores as my parcel arrived right in the middle of my S’mores series here. The back of this bar was studded with chewy marshmallows and crisp chunks of graham crackers. A slight spice and not overly sweet with the marshmallows, nicely balanced bar. There needs to more of these made though!
Fran’s Chocolate Almond Gold Bite from Seattle – This glorious nugget was heftily packed with roasted almonds, pockets of buttery salty caramel, coated in a deep rich dark chocolate. Can’t say that this lasted too long after opening and trying!
Solstice Coconut White Chocolate – A decadently creamy bar, with the light nuttiness of toasted coconut coming through the white chocolate. The bar’s snap was softer than a standard cocoa butter bar but it means you just need to eater it slightly quicker before melting in your hand, which is no bad thing. I’ll have to save this bar for when I need a tropical summer moment.
Map Multnomah Salted Caramel Apple White Chocolate – I love the details Map put into their beautiful packaging. From the back of pack ‘follow your dreams’ sticker and the insert explaining the inspiration of flavours for the bars. This one was inspired by Portland’s, Multnomah Falls and travelling around the Fall, visiting the orchards and the caramel apples. Sprinkled with Himalayan pink salt, shredded caramelised apple are scattered over the back surface of the intricately moulded front, which reminds me of a Moorish ceramic tile. The salt helps the bar not become too sweet and overwhelming but an utterly delicious bar that has been nibbled away at to all but crumbs.
Lauren Heineck’s WKED Tanzania 78% – This punchy little bar, is brimming with bright red fruit flavours that burst when melting on the palate as well as rich tannin note, to cut through the vibrancy of the fruit burst. I may have had this as my morning pick me up. I just need to get my mitts on more of Lauren’s amazing bars.
Theo 45% Milk Chocolate – Another new maker for me to try, a great pioneer of the first supply of organic cocoa beans to the United States and the first organic and fair trade certified chocolate maker in North America. Using beans from the Democratic Republic of Congo, I thought this bar had almost a caramelised milk and hay aroma and flavour. Victoria mentioned that this is the chocolate she likes to use when she has S’mores, I’ll have to give it a go!
Durci 65% Ecuador Coated Cocoa Nibs – The perfect desk and writing snack, rich Ecuadorian chocolate coating the energy-boosting cocoa nibs. Would like to bake with some, into cookies for some bite and chocolate hit but in reality, I’ll take them to work and scoff them by the handful!
Thank you so much to Victoria for sending such a great selection of chocolate for me to try. Can’t wait to nibble more on these delights!