W is for Willie’s Cacao

Happy Halloween! Hope your day was filled with (chocolate) treats 🙂 Honestly, I’m not sure why October 28th is considered “National Chocolate Day” instead of October 31st given that most trick or treaters prefer chocolate over other types of goodies. As you might imagine, my taste gravitates toward craft chocolates over mass-produced sweets.

Just when it seemed like my dream “W” bar was out of reach, Pashmina and Chris from Choco Rush came to my rescue! The timing of my inquiry was just right since they were shortly scheduled to receive a shipment of Willie’s Cacao straight from the factory in the UK! I don’t know about you, but I get excited every time chocolate is scheduled to be delivered to me by mail. Upon receiving the USPS tracking number, I set up text message alerts so that I could stay informed about the exact whereabouts of my precious cargo 😉 Rushing out the door once I received notification that the package was “left in the mailbox at its destination,” I was eager to see Choco Rush’s distinctive logo on the sealed cardboard rectangular box.


The bar was expertly packed with two mini sheets of re-usable cooling “ice cubes” to ensure that it would arrive in pristine condition despite the warmer weather that is still lingering here in SoCal despite it being Fall.


Recently I discovered “Willie’s Chocolate Revolution: Raising the Bar,” a documentary that chronicles the various ups and downs that Willie Harcourt-Cooze experienced while setting up his production of bean-to-bar dark chocolate bars as well as his attempts to “re-educate” British palates that were raised on Cadbury’s milk chocolate confections. The three episodes (each split into 4 mini episodes on YouTube) first aired in the UK in 2009 as a follow-up to the “Willie’s Wonky Chocolate Factory” series. One of the bars that was featured heavily on “Raising the Bar” is this 72% Rio Caribe Gold made with Trinitario beans from Venezuela!


There is an elegant simplicity to the black square box emblazoned with gold and white foil stamped and embossed lettering. The blue font draws your attention to the country of origin of the beans and the tasting notes. Inside the box, the bar is wrapped in an easily opened, crimped shiny gold foil wrapper that has many stylized capital “double u” letters imprinted with a contrasting opaque gold so that they will stand out.


Seems that the “W” from the outer packaging matches the company logo that appears on the chocolate bar itself (inside an indented cacao pod).


Despite the chocolate “dust” marring the surface of this bar, there is an overall matte finish on both the front and back of this deep dark brown square. With a little effort, the sturdy bar breaks apart with a sharp snap and releases a roasted/smoky aroma. I was surprised that the edge of the piece looked like mini jagged stalactites and that the color was almost like a reddish mahogany.


The flavor was a bit bitter and coffee-like to me on the first few bites; but upon allowing the morsel to melt easily on my tongue, it seemed to mellow out and become more of an earthy tang. The taste grew on me in a pleasant way. Hopefully when I visit San Francisco later in the year, I’ll be able to locate more of Willie’s bars since I’m especially interested in tasting his flavored bars (like Hazelnut Raisin or Ginger Lime)!

To learn more about Willie’s Cacao, please check out: http://www.williescacao.com/

If receiving a curated collection of craft dark chocolate bars on a monthly basis sounds good to you, check out https://chocorush.co/ to subscribe!

V is for Violet Sky

Any day that I get to sample and photograph new chocolates is a good day! Lately, though, I’ve come to look forward to “blog post” days almost as much as I did Christmas mornings when I was growing up. The process of unwrapping chocolates as if they were small gifts and then savoring them fills me with gleeful anticipation 🙂 I’m not sure which drew me to Violet Sky’s Instagram feed more: the eerie and ethereal photos of bloomed chocolate as it ages or the close-ups of their ever-changing, unique inclusion ingredients/flavor combinations. Either way, I hope to make Hans and Alison Westerink proud with this post!

As a side note, this is one of the few posts that carries over a two day period (normally I photograph, taste & post all within a single day, but other time commitments prevented me from doing so this time). I woke up yesterday (Monday) morning to the sound of distant thunder and rain dripping from the eaves, which meant cloudy skies and less-than-ideal lighting for photos. However, I was undeterred!


Eagerly removing the 4 colorful bars from wine fridge storage, I decided to sample the two inclusion bars & keep the “plain” Ecuadorian chocolates for a later tasting. Had I captured the view of the sky from the window near my “desk” with time lapse photography during the photo shoot, you would have seen it change from ominous/gloomy clouds, to the sun playing hide-and-seek, to bright rays of light streaming into the room…I took that as an omen of good things to come!

Colombia 77% with Black Currants, Maple, and Cinnamon


At a quick glance your eye is fooled by the outer wrapping…you think the thick blue paper is textured, but really it’s just printed on one side to look like linen weave! I really like that the featured ingredients are listed on a contrasting colored band as well as the back of the wrapper, though as you’ll soon see, there would be no mistaking this bar if I were to misplace the outer packaging! 😉 Speaking of packaging, my only “quibble” is that I would have liked to open the wrapper without slicing the informational sticker in half…maybe unfolding the top or bottom flap & sliding the foil-wrapped bar from the paper would be more ideal?


What a surprise awaited me as I unwrapped the bar from the bright royal blue foil! I don’t think I’ve ever seen such plump and round black currants in my life (up until now, I thought that the desiccated currants used in scones were the same fruit, I have since been enlightened to the differences!) I’m guessing that the berries were freeze dried to maintain their shape and vibrant taste.


The “top” side of the bar (the side with the mold segmentation lines) had a matte mahogany finish with cinnamon flecks adding to both the overall coloring and the aroma of the bar.


Unfortunately, the bar did not remain intact during transit, but that just made it easier to see the large chunks of maple sugar that were dotted at strategic intervals throughout the bar!



The earthy/roasted dark chocolate flavor itself was secondary for me since it was difficult to isolate the taste aside from the inclusions. Each bite was an explosion of piquant/tart chewy fruit, sweetened by the gritty crunch of the maple sugar. This is an instance where “precision of language” is tricky because certain words can carry negative connotations; I only want to convey that it was “gritty” in the best possible way!

Brandy Barrel Aged Belize 77% with Red Wine Salt


In retrospect, any bar that followed would not be as stellar (if you’ll forgive the “celestial” pun!)

From the packaging, the salt inclusion was created by soaking plain sea salt in red wine and then drying it + the cacao was aged in Journeyman Distillery brandy barrels. For a 77% dark chocolate bar, the color is substantially lighter than the previous one, reminding me of a diluted hot cocoa or mocha beverage.


Removing the bar from the gold foil wrapper, I noticed that a couple of corners and part of the “front” of the bar displayed signs of blooming.



I blame a recent power outage, after which my wine fridge reset itself to 54 ℉ from my “default” temperature of 65 ℉ before I noticed. I don’t know about you, but there is a magical beauty in the fat bloom: swirls that just appear and could not be exactly re-created even if you tried. Where the surface wasn’t marred by bloom, there was an almost mirror shine.


The inclusion side looked like a lunar landscape, evenly sprinkled with light purplish-pink salt crystals which were starting to dissolve in the air.



This bar broke apart with a medium snap and had a woody/tobacco-like aroma on the non-inclusion side. My guess is that the barrel aging process imparts both smell and taste enhancements. The morsel had a smooth mouthfeel, but didn’t really melt easily. Overall, the flavor was a bit bitter and vinegary to me with a tannic, astringent after taste. Perhaps these flavors would appeal more to wine drinkers or should be paired with a brandy and/or some cheese? I see experimentation in my future 🙂

After listening to a recent Well Tempered podcast interviewing Estelle Tracy from 37 Chocolates, I strongly agree that (as consumers) we should celebrate and learn as much as possible about the passionate people who create the chocolates we enjoy. It’s impressive to read that such talent and creativity is coming from 20-somethings + Hans and his wife Alison really only started their bean-to-bar production just about two years ago.

As far as I know, their bars aren’t currently available in Southern California, but hopefully they will be soon so that I can satisfy my “fix” for unique inclusion ingredients aside from just drooling over their Instagram feed. However with Violet Sky’s philosophy of making small-batches and experimental bars, I realize I can’t get too attached to any one flavor…each one is as ephemeral as the company’s name implies.

To learn more and order bars for yourself, check out: http://www.violetskychocolate.com/

U is for Undone Chocolate

Antioxidants…flavonoids…trace minerals. We hear these words bandied about every day, but do you really know much about them? (yeah, me neither!) So, with inspiration from Undone Chocolate, I decided to finally look up the meaning of those words today. Had my biology and chemistry teachers associated these terms with chocolate, I just might have paid more attention in high school!

Adam Kavalier (co-founder and CEO of Undone Chocolate) started off in phytochemistry (a fancy name for studying the chemistry of plants) with a postdoc research project on the flavonoids found in the hop plant and how those properties might assist in treating different forms of cancer. During his research, Theobroma Cacao (the scientific name for the cocoa plant) also attracted his attention since it too is a major producer of flavonoids and is rich in antioxidants. His knowledge of plant biology and chemistry have been instrumental in making chocolates that are both healthy and flavorful. To read more about his unusual journey from scientist to food entrepreneur, check out this article.

I think I first heard about Undone Chocolate from a fellow Instagrammer & chocolate blogger when she wrote a series of posts featuring local Washington, DC chocolate makers. Then, when I discovered that Undone was available at the same place as another chocolate that was featured earlier in the Eating the Chocolate Alphabet series, I knew fate had intervened so I could taste this bean-to-bar chocolate for myself too!

One of the first things that you see on the packaging is what looks like a heart monitor reading within an enlarged teardrop (which sort of reminds me of graphics seen on a blood donation poster).


Both of these are health-related images, which tie into to the information on the back of the package touting the benefits of eating this particular chocolate bar.


While I’m glad that their new packaging now lists the country of origin of the chocolate + a batch number, as well as de-emphasizes “two ingredient chocolate” (since this one was actually three ingredients: cacao, sugar & Himalayan pink salt), I miss the single word chocolate bar name that was color coordinated with the rest of the outer packaging.

Slipping the foil wrapped bar from the paper sleeve, you could already see that the inclusion side had left indentations.


Removing the bar from the foil, the 12-rectangle bar showed a little scuffing and small air bubbles marring the dull matte finish.


Himalayan pink salt was a sparsely sprinkled over the bar on the inclusion side. Besides, a little goes a long way in terms of salt…don’t you agree?


Though the photo below might not show it well, there were squiggle lines under the salt that made me think of a fish kissing a small dog with raised ears (I know, I know…I have a very over-active imagination!) FYI – I changed the exposure/lighting to bring out this pareidolia better.


The waxed foil wrapper had certainly done its job well while this bar was being stored in my wine fridge…I know this because the inclusion side started deliquescing before my eyes while photos were being taken.


Since it rained over the weekend, there was higher-than-normal humidity, so the salt started melting/dissolving (some would say “weeping” or “sweating”) by absorbing the moisture in the air. Until today, I didn’t know that the verb form for this phenomenon is “to deliquesce”…you can start using it to impress your friends too! 😉

This bar had a nice sharp snap when being segmented and imparted an earthy, roasted aroma. I noticed a slightly gritty mouthfeel and the portion didn’t melt very easily in the mouth. To me, the aftertaste was a bit chalky and lingered in the mouth for a while. However, when I chomped on a piece that had more of the crunchy salt, the flavor of the chocolate became fruity (I assume this bar was made with beans from the Dominican Republic, where beans are known to be naturally citrusy).


Oh, and those terms that I started the article off with? Well, antioxidants prevent or delay some types of cell damage such as that associated with cancer. Since I’m not a scientist, I don’t want to explain them inaccurately…so I recommend you do some research too! It will be well worth your while to learn about the health benefits of eating chocolate!

To learn more about Undone Chocolates, check out: http://www.undonechocolate.com/

Bonus “T” bar – Tony’s Chocolonely

The more I think I know about chocolate, the more I realize how much there still is to learn and explore!


I’ve seen these brightly colored bars before, but never really paid attention to them…until my boyfriend bought me a set of six large bars, which happen to be all of the flavors that are available from the U.S. headquarters in Portland, Oregon (some different flavors, sizes plus other treats are available from their European location in Amsterdam, The Netherlands).

As you might expect, there is a fascinating story behind the company’s name and origin. A little more than 10 years ago, television journalist Teun van de Kueken launched an investigative report about the use of child slave labor within the chocolate industry for his Dutch consumer report TV show. After being rebuffed by some of the largest chocolate makers in the world, Tony (the English equivalent for Teun) decided to prove that it was possible to produce 100% slave-free chocolate. From the company website: And because he felt like he was the only guy in the chocolate industry that cared about eradicating slavery from the industry, he named his chocolate “Chocolonely.”

Since the beginning, Tony teamed up with the Barry Callebaut Group in Belgium to produce the chocolates from the West Africa-sourced beans. They specifically chose a “screaming red” wrapper for their first milk chocolate bar in 2005 to draw attention both to the bar and the “alarming situation” that they were trying to eliminate. Through awareness, leading by example and inspiring others to act, they strive each day to achieve fully traceable 100% slave-free chocolate as well as work toward the goal of ending the use of slavery in the entire chocolate industry.

Here are the 2 bars that I tasted so far…

51% Dark Chocolate with Pecans & Coconut



Each of the bars is a hefty 6 ounces and they use a mold that has 25 unequal pieces to highlight the unfairness within the chocolate industry. Even though the bar is thick, it segments easily (this one broke in half during transit) and has a sharp snap when broken.



There were generous pieces of pecans and shredded coconut throughout the bar, but the overall taste was a little too sweet for me. Though it’s not mentioned on their packaging, 30% of the chocolate comes from Ghana & 70% comes from the Ivory Coast, so I’m not sure if the sweetness is inherent in the beans themselves or due to the added sugar.

32% Milk Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt


In 2012, this flavor was part of their lineup of limited edition bars. Since this bar is the most popular bar in the Netherlands, it’s now available in unlimited quantities. The chocolate is creamy and melts easily, though I prefer to “chomp” the bar to better enjoy the crunchy toffee bits.


Unfortunately sugar is the first ingredient listed for this bar & caramel (toffee) accounts for 10% of the content. In trying to transfer the bar from the thin aluminum foil to a more sturdy one, the bar sort of “disintegrated” into more than just the unequal pieces…


Along with the bars, they provided an informative Annual FAIR Report (2014/2015) comprised of 109 pages printed on Paperwise (uncoated Forest Stewardship Council recycled paper made of 100% recycled materials) and printed with alcohol free & vegetable based inks.



The pages were once leaves and cobs of plants like corn and sugarcane, so maybe that’s why there is an unusual smell to the booklet. Since 2012, their bars have been wrapped with the same type of paper, though thankfully they don’t impart the same aroma as the annual report.

To learn more about this unique company’s mission/vision/goals, here is a link to the U.S. webpage: http://www.tonyschocolonely.com/us/

T is for Terroir Chocolate

Variety is the spice of life! When faced with having to choose amongst a large selection of options, my boyfriend prefers the “get one of everything” approach 😉 This endearing “quirk” has been a boon for my Eating the Chocolate Alphabet project. Just as I was planning to make purchases for “T” week, I was informed that this assortment of goodies would be arriving just in time for this post:


As you can see, each one of the bars is wrapped in a different colored horizontal pinstripe paper sleeve with a crisp white sticker listing a quick description of the bar + the company logo (a lower case “t” inside of a larger “C”). At the bottom of that white sticker is an eye-catching, brightly colored half circle with the bar’s name prominently displayed. In case you’re curious, the back of the sleeve is kept closed with another white sticker that lists the ingredients, as well as the “best by” date and a barcode. It was sweet of them to include a handwritted thank you note!

Tasting and writing about 9 different chocolate bars all in one sitting seemed daunting to me, so I narrowed things down to the 3 bars shown below. However, if you follow me on Instagram, I’ll be posting pictures and reviews of the rest of the bars there.


Terroir is an all-encompassing term to describe how the various environmental and habitat factors can affect and/or enhance the flavor of a crop. You might be familiar with this word in relation to wine and coffee, but it also very much applies to chocolate! It makes sense that Josh and Kristin Mohagen, owners of Terroir Chocolate in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, would choose “taste of place chocolate” to be their company URL to pay homage to this concept. From their website: “Each of our organic, single-origin dark chocolate bars have unique taste profiles due to the influence of the soil, the climate and the other vegetation grown around the cacao tree throughout its development…”

Wild Bolivia (76% single origin dark chocolate)

Lately I’ve noticed that chocolate bars made from Bolivian cacao beans have resonated with me, so I was particularly excited to try this three-ingredient bar since they received a Bronze in 2016 at the International Chocolate Awards (Americas division – micro batch plain/single origin bar). Removing the silver foil-wrapped bar from the sleeve, I could immediately see indentations made from their distinct mold of 20 “dimples” and a square logo off to one side.


Upon unwrapping the bar, I was a little disappointed with the chalky appearance and noticed that the finish was marred by tiny air bubbles.


Breaking off the bottom row of the bar, there was brittle, dry snap to the segments and the squares didn’t really melt easily in the mouth.


I wish that the flavor was as bold and robust to match the initial earthy and roasted aroma when unwrapping the bar.

Lavender (60% dark milk chocolate)

This bar was made with beans from Finca Elvesia (which upon further research indicates the Dominican Republic as the origin). Unwrapping the bar from the equally indented silver foil wrapper, there was a noticeable difference in the appearance of the bar! This one was shiny and glossy, though there were several small air bubbles on the surface as well.




The aroma reminded me of dried fruits or olives and the segments melted easily, plus seemed to have a creamy mouthfeel. Using lavender oil is always a bit risky since too much makes it seem like you are eating perfumed soap. However, for a lavender bar, this was at the other end of the spectrum: honestly, I think they used too little lavender oil since that flavor component was very subtle/muted, almost not noticeable until the finish/aftertaste. To me, the taste was like a not-too-sweet caramel, with a slight tang from the whole milk powder.


Salty Nibber (60% dark milk chocolate cocoa nibs & salt)

Even before unwrapping the bar, I could tell that this one was an inclusion bar and would have a different appearance than the other two. Interestingly, the thin foil was not as indented as the other two prior bars!


What a pleasant surprise to discover that this bar was made with beans from Alto Beni… my favorite chocolate region in Bolivia! The non-inclusion side had a slight matte finish rather than being highly glossy.


The same small air bubble imperfections appeared on this bar as well. When tasting the chocolate square with the inclusion side down on my tongue, the immediate flavor note for me was sea salt, followed by roasted crunchy nibs. When melting the segment with the non-inclusion side down on my tongue, I could better appreciate the buttery texture of the chocolate itself before the salt kicked in.


While the packaging doesn’t mention it, their website says that their slow roasted cacao nibs are stone ground for several days. Overall, I was surprised by how smooth these bars were since none of the ones that I tasted so far have exhibited the gritty texture that I generally associate with stone ground cacao (like Taza or Olive & Sinclair).

As a side note observation, their distinct mold made for a very visually appealing and photogenic bar, but my camera had problems focusing on so many “dots” all at once…so it was funny to watch the “auto focus” function in process. Next tasting, I’ll try the scorpion pepper flavor…I hear that is SPICY!! :0

Unless you live in a state where Terroir has retail locations (Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota), be sure to check out their website to place an order since they are offering free shipping within the continental US for orders over $40: http://tasteofplacechocolate.com/

Bonus “S” bar – SOMA Chocolatemaker

Behind the scenes at Eating the Chocolate Alphabet in early September (you’re eavesdropping on an internal conversation with myself):

  • “S” week is coming up soon and I haven’t selected which chocolate to feature yet.
  • How about SOMA? Everyone raves about them.
  • Bummer that they aren’t available in the Los Angeles area since I’m WAY over budget already.

 Still, I reached out to one of my Canadian resources to determine the possibility of purchasing and shipping a bar on my behalf…my heart was set on getting one flavored with harissa and corn based on an Instagram post that I had seen. Then, on a whim, I checked the website of a chocolate shop within a two hours’ drive from me and discovered that they had two different bars available for purchase…just a couple of bars from their “Black Science” collection: a 70% Porcelana & a 70% Chama (I’ll explain the irony of the “just” comment in a moment). Now I was in a quandary…do I drive up to Santa Barbara to purchase the Porcelana bar to avoid the high cost of hot weather shipping fees or wait to hear about my “dream” flavor direct from Canada?

Several weeks later, I see a fellow Instagrammer post this article. Turns out that Porcelana bar I was dithering about had tied at the International Chocolate Awards in 2015 for the best single-origin dark chocolate bar in the WORLD! Also earlier this summer, the International Chocolate Awards again honored them with a gold as well as “best in competition” for the plain/origin dark bar category in the 2016 Americas & Asia-Pacific competition. Oh and while researching for this post, I discovered that my “dream flavor” is actually a not a bar, it’s a crunchy toasted corn snack tumbled in chocolate and dusted with fiery North African spices! All those weeks of hemming and hawing for no reason…when will I ever learn?!

Originally I wasn’t going to post/publish until receiving a milk chocolate Soma bar shipped by my contact in Canada…but I can’t wait until tomorrow or (possibly) Saturday to tell you all about this multiple award winning 70% Porcelana bar made from Venezuelan Criollo beans!

Do you know how hard it is to avoid taking an accidental selfie when the outer packaging is a sealed shiny mirror polish silver pouch?! A few contortions and strategic angling…I think I managed OK 😉


The fairly plain exterior packaging truly belies the intricate and delicate mold that was used. The bar was in pristine condition, no cracks 🙂


To me, it was like looking out a window at a picturesque garden scene with falling leaves; though whose garden happens to have cacao pods, cacao flowers AND a swallow wearing tennis shoes?! Also, don’t blink or you’ll miss the Canadian maple leaf hiding near the bottom right corner!



As mentioned before, I’m also fascinated with the back side of bars. There are 18 dots plus a symmetrical pattern of lines that remind me of a stained glass window. Each half of the bar has a square with a diamond in the middle and 2 small rectangles on either side which repeats again on the lower half. This makes me very curious to see how the molds are filled!


Getting back to first impressions…just snipping off the top of the pouch released such an inviting roasted & nutty aroma! Gently removing the bar from the packaging, I then stuck my nose into the now-empty packaging – there was a subtle whiff of coconut. I thought I was imagining things until I referred back to the package’s tasting notes for confirmation.

It truly pained me to break into the cute bar since I might have preferred to frame the chocolate instead of eat it. As a compromise, I broke off the top part with the company name/logo, but left the garden scene intact for later. The bar is thin, but it still gave a little resistance before snapping.


Putting a bite-sized morsel in my already salivating mouth, the piece melted quickly and easily with a smooth, buttery, creamy, almost juicy mouthfeel. The taste made me think of not too sweet caramel with a slight hint of a floral note. Can’t wait to compare and contrast it to last week’s Porcelana bar during a second tasting.

If you’re curious about the company name, their website says: Soma in Sanskrit means “food of the Gods.” And by coincidence, Theobroma Cacao (which is the Latin taxonomic classification for the cocoa plant) also means “food of the Gods.”

Their website reminds us that the word soma appears in the 1930s dystopian novel “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley as being the mysterious plant used to achieve nirvana. I don’t know about you, but I tend to agree that their chocolate induces bliss like its namesake!

Next on my wishlist is a bar from their “Old School” line…and to finally taste that harissa and corn that consumed my thoughts for weeks!

To learn more about their bean-to-bar process, where the beans come from, the various chocolate bar collections + other offerings, check out: http://www.somachocolate.com/

S is for Sirene Artisan Chocolate Makers

In the words of Taylor Kennedy, owner of Sirene Artisan Chocolate Makers in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, “Without a direct comparison, it is hard to understand that there is something different about chocolate.” To aid in the appreciation of the nuances between countries of origin, this particular box contains two different mini chocolate bars so that you can easily compare and contrast with minimal effort. Not only are both bars the same percentage (73%), but also they each only contain two ingredients (cacao beans & organic cane sugar) that way the natural flavors/characteristics of those beans can truly be showcased.

This morning on Instagram, The Chocolate Website recounted her dilemma of trying to identify 6 different chocolate bars once they were removed from their packaging. With this in mind, I really appreciated that each of the Sirene bars was wrapped in a different colored metallic foil (silver color for Ecuador and gold color for Madagascar)!


Choices, choices…which one to try first? After reading the tasting notes on the inside of the box flaps, I decided to try Ecuador first and then Madagascar…I think I made the right decision!


The Ecuadorian beans come from Camino Verde, a plantation in the town of Balao with trees that are close to 100 years old. According to the packaging, trees of this age yield beans with 10% less cocoa butter, which in turn produces a more intense cocoa flavor. True to that description, I could immediately see the deep, dark brown color and smell the earthy and roasted aroma upon unwrapping the chocolate.


Even though the bar is a little thick, there was a nice sharp snap when being segmented. Each of the 5 rectangles reminded me of a flag with alternating vertical and horizontal lines on each quadrant…it was fun to run my tongue along those ridges while I was melting each bite. There was a slow, even melt and the flavor was reminiscent of a not-too-sweet, nutty brownie with a long, satisfying finish.


Upon unwrapping the Madagascar bar, I noticed more chocolate “dust” clinging to the outside, possibly since one of the rectangles had been broken in transit.


The snap of that particular rectangle felt a little dry/crumbly and there was only a mild aroma; however the taste was an explosion of bright fruits. Since I didn’t want to rely just on that first broken piece, I segmented another portion for comparison purposes. At the breaking point, there was a fresher roasted aroma and the flavor reminded me of a just squeezed lemon. This piece also had a more velvety smooth mouthfeel with an even melt and a long lasting tart aftertaste.


The Madagascar beans from the Akesson family’s Somia planation are lighter brown in color (perhaps because of being enriched with volcanic minerals), so there was no surprise that this bar looked more like milk chocolate compared to the Ecuador bar.


As a side note…maybe it’s just me, but I’m as fascinated with the undersides of bars as I am with the mold-imprinted side. Both bars seemed to have concentric “ripples” as if a pebble had been dropped at the edge of a lake…more than likely a final drip of liquid chocolate hit the mold & had not been vibrated to a completely smooth finish.


If “tasting pair boxes” aren’t your thing, don’t worry…other packages feature just the one origin or flavor. To find out more about Sirene and Taylor Kennedy’s background as a former world traveling photographer and writer for The National Geographic magazine, check out:  http://sirenechocolate.com/