Since Time to Eat Chocolate wrote about Florida yesterday, I decided to feature a state that is diagonally on the opposite side of the country: Washington!
Thanks again to Jess (aka the Seattle Dessert Geek) for helping to shop for chocolates in her hometown! In addition to sending me a variety of chocolates, she sent a super cute hand-drawn card with the penguin avatar from my Instagram handle @myic2016!
First up is a mini single-origin tasting “pod” in the shape of a, you guessed it, halved teaspoon-sized cacao pod packaged in a re-sealable plastic pouch…as if there could ever be any leftovers! 😉
All of indi’s single-origin chocolates are made with just three ingredients: cacao, sugar and cacao butter and, although it’s not stated on the packaging, this Nicaragua pod is made from 72% cacao.
Due to the size and shape of this chocolate, I wasn’t able to “snap” the piece, so I forgot to smell the chocolate after I bit into it! 🙁
I think this was the first time tasting Nicaraguan chocolate, so I regret not sniffing it before eating the whole pod. The flavor was earthy and reminded me of black olives. The slow and mostly smooth melt finished with a slightly tannic aftertaste.
Next is a single-origin mini bar made from Orecao beans.
The country of origin isn’t listed on the packaging, but their website reveals that it is Ecuadorian. I remember this being one of the Heirloom Cacao Preservation “Designation 7” chocolates that I tried last year. If you are interested in learning more about HCP, here is the link to that post.
Though the bar sustained some damage in transit and there was a bit of chocolate “dust” marring the surface, it’s hard not to be captivated by the decorative multi-segment bar depicting leaves as well as whole and cracked opened cacao pods.
Since I had neglected to smell the last bar, I made sure to pay attention this one! To me, there seemed to be a faint “industrial” aroma, but thankfully that didn’t really transfer to the taste of the chocolate itself. Overall the chocolate looked a little dry in appearance and had a sharp snap when breaking it into tasting morsels.
I experienced a grainy mouthfeel and the piece melted slowly on my tongue. Interestingly, the taste seemed to change depending on how I ate the piece: when “chomped,” the flavor reminded me of raisins, but when I melted a piece in my mouth, I was reminded of a hard rind cheese! Afterwards, there was a long-lingering astringent/chalky aftertaste.
indi chocolate is best kept secret of Pike Place Market…but now YOU know! They are currently located on the 5th floor, but it sounds like soon they will be moving to the new Market Front (Spring 2017), so be sure to check out their website for more details: https://indichocolate.com/
One of my current favorite inclusion ingredients at the moment is breadcrumbs, so I couldn’t miss trying a 70% dark chocolate Bread & Chocolate bar which is a twist on a pain au chocolate breakfast viennoiserie and is part of Theo Chocolate’s “fantasy line.”
My only complaint with Theo’s bars is that the outer packaging is sealed so tightly, that it’s impossible to open the wrapper without ripping it. Being ingenious, I ended up using a letter opener to slice the informational sticker from the paper. While it used to bother me when the inner foil encasing the bar itself was folded with the outer wrapper, I now realize that it’s a much neater way to keep both layers crisply folded.
The “back” side of the bar is mottled with tiny dots that appear to be the beginnings of bloom and there were also plenty of large lumps poking out, showing that Theo was generous with the inclusion ingredients!
Though not pictured, this mini bar is made with a 4 rectangle mold and there was a matte finish to the “top side” of the chocolate. Breaking off one of the large rectangles produced a dull snap & little flecks of chocolate flew everywhere. So many nooks and crannies and chunks of bread!
The crunchy, lightly salted, creamy, not-too-sweet bar had a toasted butter aroma that begs to be chomped NOT melted! I would have loved to have known the origin of the chocolate, though perhaps it was a blend?
Just last week, as part of my separate Eating the Chocolate Alphabet project, I featured a different Theo bar, please follow this link if you are interested in reading more about that adventure.
Theo Chocolates can often be found at Bristol Farms and/or Whole Foods Markets in Southern California, but you can always order directly through their website: https://www.theochocolate.com/
Remember to follow the Time to Eat Chocolate blog to hear about the next stop in the “50 States” project!
Other chocolate makers in Washington:
NOTE: If you know of any other bean-to-bar makers in Washington that aren’t mentioned above, please leave a comment or send an email so that we can keep this list as up-to-date as possible!