What does your ideal breakfast look like? Mine is a warm piece of fresh bread with unsalted butter + a milky, rich sipping hot chocolate! Seems that I just found that winning combination in a chocolate bar made in England!!
Family-run Pump Street Bakery might best be known for their delicious breads and pastries that are made with minimal machinery use; but in 2013, they decided to take their obsessive attention to detail and start producing small batches of single origin chocolate bars in their shop between baking loaves of bread. Here is the link to a recent article about what happens when a baker decides to start making chocolate.
Their bean-to-bar production process has been tailored to achieve unique flavor profiles depending on the carefully sourced and selected single-origin beans which are imported from different farms around the world. These beans are roasted in their bread oven, then the ground nibs are conched (refined) for up to five days and the chocolate is matured for a month before being tempered.
Below, is the second in their “Bakery Series” of chocolate bars:
Rye Crumb, Milk & Sea Salt (60%) – made with Ecuadorian beans from the Hacienda Limon farm
As you can see, there is minimal packaging involved…just a flat, re-sealable, foil lined zip lock Kraft paper pouch with a lot number sticker keeping the pouch closed and nothing else. Upon opening the pouch, I stuck my nose into the bag’s opening and immediately thought of fresh-baked pumpernickel bread! That aroma shouldn’t be a surprise since this bar is made with dried 100% rye loaf bread which was ground into fine bread crumbs and added to the chocolate with a pinch of sea salt.
Unfortunately, this small 16-rectangle bar was broken in half during transit, but that just made it easier to start tasting!
As a quick side note, this was the single most cooperative bar, so far, in terms of “posing” for photographs!
There was a medium snap to the bar, but I was surprised that mini chocolate “crumbs” went flying everywhere while segmenting the rectangles for tasting. Though many suggest “melting” chocolate in your mouth for a tasting, I challenge you not to “chomp” this bar! Each bite is a crunchy delight. It was like eating a freshly toasted slice of bread that had been lightly buttered. For me, the creamy smooth dark milk chocolate was secondary to the texture and flavor of the rye bread crumbs.
Originally I was concerned when I noticed that this bar was about 2 months past the “best by” date, but it didn’t seem to adversely affect the taste at all…I can only imagine what it would be like “fresh”! It’s no wonder that this bar won Gold in 2015 at the Academy of Chocolate in London for the Best Flavoured Milk Chocolate Bar category.
Looks like I’ll soon need to visit some of the shops that carry their bars locally so that I can try more from their “Bakery Series”: the sourdough bar which started it all + their Honduras Bread & Butter bar which won multiple awards at the 2016 Academy of Chocolate.
To learn more about this multi-talented bakery & café, as well as see their full line-up of bars, check out: http://www.pumpstreetbakery.com/