Thanks to fellow blogger “Time to Eat Chocolate” for making me aware of this bar. When I attended the Northwest Chocolate Festival in Seattle a week after her blog post was published, I knew I had to pick up one of these bars for myself. Little did I know then that this bar was a “limited edition,” otherwise I would have picked up more of them!
Upon opening the silver foil inner packaging, I was immediately mesmerized by the plump jewel-like dried cherries, the sprinkling of white and black sesame seeds, the glinting crystals of French sea salt and oh my…the COLOR of the bar itself!!
I cannot get over the unique charcoal grey color that is achieved by combining ground black sesame seeds and non-dairy white chocolate (cocoa butter). Based on my experience with Charm School Chocolate as part of last year’s Eating the Chocolate Alphabet project, I knew that they produced exclusively vegan chocolate bars using coconut milk. What I didn’t realize is that this particular bar isn’t “traditional” in the sense that there aren’t any cocoa solids; black sesame seeds were truly the “star” providing both the flavor and the color for this bar!
Here is a photo of the bar against a black background so you can see the unique shade of grey, as well as the generous sprinkling of inclusions!
After several minutes of trying to capture the perfect angle (the bar is so photogenic, it was hard to decide on what to concentrate while taking pictures), it was finally time to taste the bar!
Surprisingly, there was a sharp snap to the bar; with only 40% cacao, I was expecting a softer snap and, to me, the primary aroma was coconut. The chocolate morsel melted slowly on my tongue, allowing me to enjoy the buttery, lightly salty, nutty and not-too-sweet flavor. Depending on the piece, I either experienced crunchy toasted (or maybe they were air puffed?) sesame seeds or tart, sour Michigan-grown Montmorency cherries or both! My personal preference is to “chomp” (rather than melt), so I enjoyed the juicy bursts of mouth-puckering cherries that counterbalanced the nutty sweetness of the sesame white chocolate.
I’ve heard of Montmorency cherries before, but didn’t know much about them. They take their name from a valley in France and are currently grown in Canada, France and the U.S. (particularly in Michigan and Wisconsin). According to Wikipedia, these cherries are said to date back to Ancient Rome. The trees were planted along the roads and soldiers would use the fruit for food and the wood to build weapons or repair equipment.
Also, did you know that black sesame seeds and white sesame seeds are basically the same? Black sesame seeds still have their hull (shell), while white sesame seeds have the hull removed. Some people say that black seeds are nuttier and smokier, while the white seeds are sweeter. I’m not sure that I could identify one over the other in a blind taste test and the flavors are so similar to me that I certainly can’t pick a favorite.
Long after I finished tasting this bar, a pleasant nutty aftertaste lingered in my mouth, making me want yet another piece. For someone who is not a fan of white chocolate, this bar just might have won me over! 🙂
To learn more about Charm School Chocolate, check out: https://www.charmschoolchocolate.com/