The “N” bar that wasn’t…

Let me begin by saying that this hasn’t been the first time that I’ve been fooled by packaging (and it probably won’t be the last time either)!

When I started putting together the “lineup” for the Eating the Chocolate Alphabet project, I wanted to feature both new-to-me bars as well as chocolates with unusual ingredients. This particular 62% Tanzanian dark milk chocolate Porcini bar made in Lithuania seemed to fit those requirements perfectly, so I was super enthusiastic when I found & purchased the bar in anticipation of “N” week!

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However, imagine my dismay right around the letter “G” (early July), when I discovered that this was actually a “C” bar! Darn those European chocolate makers with confusing company names! (Naive vs. Chocolate Naive…really, I don’t think I’m entirely to blame!)

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Since I still really wanted to feature this bar, I’m hoping you’ll indulge me in a little diversion from the proper alphabetical order!

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There is an elegant simplicity to the cream colored box with minimalist taupe lettering. In a flat lay, the logo of a penny farthing (or is it a unicycle?) riding gentleman can “read” as black, but shift your perspective just a little bit & you’ll be rewarded with the shiny copper foil stamping. This philosophy can also apply to life in general! Nothing is exactly as you first see it, you’ll often be surprised when making subtle changes in your point of view.

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Even before removing the bar from the pouch, I could tell that the bar was not completely flat in the middle – this is due to the delicate 3D logo.

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Upon cutting open the sealed Mylar pouch, the distinct musty/earthy aroma of mushrooms was intense. Perhaps this is the right time for me to confess that I’m NOT fond of mushrooms (although, maybe it’s raw mushrooms that I dislike since a Vosges Reishi Mushroom & Walnut bar is among my favorites).

Carefully removing the chocolate bar onto a plate for further photographs, I took the opportunity to stick my nose fully into the empty pouch – almost like a wine or whiskey connoisseur would do before enjoying a poured glass. This transported me back to what it must be like to forage for mushrooms in a lush, damp forest! Did you know that mushroom hunting is Lithuania’s second favorite sport, after basketball?! The packaging says that “Each September, mushroom-hungry folks return to their super-secret spots where all the best ones grow.”

With as much mushroom as I was smelling, I was expecting the bar itself to be flecked and/or gritty due to the freeze dried porcini mushrooms, but that was not the case!

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The bar was creamy and velvety smooth. There was definitely the umami mushroom taste – which was better when “melted” rather than “chomped” (this bar just might provide me with enough inspiration to acquire the patience needed to “melt” a piece of chocolate in order to better savor all the nuances).

Like many other chocolate makers, Chocolate Naive has a fascinating and inspiring backstory. Check out this link to a 2012 interview: http://chocolateandzucchini.com/interviews/artisans/chocolate-naive-a-qa-with-domantas-uzpalis/

I leave you with this quote from the back of the packaging: “Chocolate is like my own life – both bitter and sweet. It has been a constant companion that has seen me grow from a carefree youth to a quixotic adult. Chocolate is as luxuriant as my most vivid dream and as humble as my simple reality.”

For more information about other delectable chocolate options, visit: http://chocolatenaive.com/

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