Week three into the Chocolate Advent Calendar and after trying ten bars of great craft chocolate already, I’ve got another seven for you this week. Have you been inspired to hunt out any craft chocolate bars? I would love to hear what you think and any new discoveries you might have had into the wonderful world of chocolate.
Day 11 – The York House Columbia 63% Meta & Tumaca made in York, UK
I picked up two mini bars from The York house whilst at the Chocolate Show this year, where they were doing live demos of the processes involved in creating a bean to bar chocolate. Live winnowing anyone? I went for two bars of the same origin and percentage but from different parts of Columbia as think that it’s good to see how they differ through process or percentage but from the same origin as well. The Meta cocoa is grown with bananas and citrus fruit to provide shade to the cocoa trees. From this close proximity, the chocolate has picked up the flavour of young bananas in this creamy bar. On the other hand, the Tumaca are harvested in an area of high humidity so the beans need to be picked whilst slightly under-ripe and with a shorter fermentation, this process imparts a red fruit flavour and aroma to the bar.
Day 12 – Dormouse Guatemala 51.5% made in Manchester, UK
Another delicious bar from Dormouse, I’m going to run out of thing to say about them when we get to the end of the calendar with six bars included in the whole calendar. Of course, I picked up more bars at The Chocolate Show from them, being the first stall I made a beeline for. This bar is a winner of the Gold award of the Academy of Chocolate. What makes an award-winning bar is when the bar doesn’t have a mono flavour but develops as the bar melts to reveal a more complex flavour that continues. This bar starts with a slight blackcurrant fruitiness that develops into a gentle treacly caramelised flavour. An absolute star.
Day 13 – Chocolate Tree Coconut Milk & Sugar made in Edinburgh, Scotland
There has been a growing range of dairy-free milk chocolates on the market, some good, some bad and some plain ugly. I would say that having the coconut milk and sugar in the mix just adds a lovely flavour to the bars that compliments and makes it a special bar rather than a substitute. The coconut aroma when opening the wrapper carries through to the flavour. The bar doesn’t snap as crisp as a cocoa butter bar. The bar has a beautiful tropical coconut flavour that isn’t too overpowering in a Bounty way.
Day 14 – Utopick Passion Fruit, Popping Candy and Cereal Pieces made in Valencia, Spain
How beautiful is this packaging?? I would love to have wallpaper made of this print. As well as some origin bars I picked up at Utopick’s shop in Valencia, I also got a couple of flavoured bars. This bar has passion fruit dried pieces, popping candy and cereal pieces to excite and delight. The tartness of the fruit with the dancing popping candy with the crunch of the cereal makes for a really fun bar.
Day 15 – Bullion No.1 made in Sheffield, UK
When sourcing bars to send to Patricia (My Year In Chocolate) Choc-Swap, some of the British makers she mentioned she would like to try, I hadn’t tried myself. Naturally, I got myself some bars as well. One being Bullion, who with three bars in their range, all at the same cocoa solid percentage but of different origins. I have another bar in the advent calendar, but kicking myself I didn’t get the third as well at The Chocolate Show. Maybe it will feature in next years calendar. Punchy levels of tannins with a rich red fruit flavour that just bursts through. I can’t wait to try their No.2 bar later in the month.
Day 16 – Beau Cocoa Serian 72% made in London, UK
The second bar from Beau Cocoa, and the second in their whole range. Beau Cocoa created their own moulds as the thickness of the bar is important to the tasting and melting experience to the consumer. The beans are grown only a two-hour drive away from the beans used in their Asajaya bar. Whereas that bar was predominate caramel flavour with a hint of smoke, whereas this one is more smokey and a hint of spice with some gentle tannins, not at mouth puckering level. A beautiful way to showcase the finesse in selection your beans and the impact on the end bar.
Day 17 – Coco Chocolatier Haggis Spice made in Edinburgh, Scotland
This flavour might freak out some of you at home. No there is no lamb or other bits included in this bar but the warming spices you would expect in this Scottish speciality of sea salt, black pepper, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. A love blend of spice to warm you up on a cold night, would make a great base for a delicious hot chocolate.
There’s still plenty of bars to go, 24 to go!