L is for Lavender

Looking back, there are so many different “L” inclusions in chocolate: lemongrass, licorice, lilac, lilikoi and lucuma – for example. So, in retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have chosen lavender since that flavor and aroma is generally overpowering and overwhelming. I’m not sure exactly why I settled on lavender, though it was easy to find two bars for “compare and contrast” purposes. Bear with me on this post…

First off is Cowgirl Chocolates Mild Dark Chocolate Lavender (55%) made in Idaho. Love the silhouette of the cowgirl mounted on her horse.

Cowgirl Chocolates color coordinates their wrappers with the flavor of the chocolate bar. They use a yellow for their Lemonade White Chocolate, a rust color for their spicy dark orange espresso and, of course, a light purple for the lavender bar I’m about to taste.

Try as I might, I wasn’t able to slip this small bar out easily since the silver foil was attached to the inside of the paper sleeve.

Once I managed to unwrap the bar, I was fascinated by the unique way the foil had been folded, though I’m reminded of my failed origami attempts!

Each of the 6 small rectangles is imprinted with the word “Dream” in cursive, as well as a star and sliver of crescent moon, unfortunately the matte finish surface exhibited some signs of “transit wear.”

There is a sharp snap when segmenting pieces and looking at the cross section, I knew that I would have a silky smooth mouthfeel while melting a morsel on my tongue.

As a rule, I don’t like to post negative comments about chocolates, but this bar has a very strong floral perfume that reminded me of bath soap. I experienced an almost “cooling sensation” while tasting this bar, which I suspect comes from the lavender oil that was used.

While this chocolate sadly wasn’t appealing to me, there are several other mild and spicy chocolate bars available, as well as chipotle or habanero caramels. Visit their website for more details: https://www.cowgirlchocolates.com/

Next up is Dolfin Lavande fine (60% dark chocolate with lavender) made in Belgium. Love that the label has descriptions in 4 languages.

Like Cowgirl, they chose a light purple paper wrapper; though in this case, there is an illustration of a small bouquet of lavender flowers on the front.

There are two unique features of their outer packaging. The first thing you’ll notice is that the informational paper wrapper (portrait/vertical on the first panel and landscape/horizontal on all the remaining panels) is completely encased in plastic. The second is that the packaging opens like a tri-fold wallet or tobacco pouch.

Inside, the chocolate bar is wrapped tightly in a crimp sealed plastic wrapper adorned with small illustrations that, I assume, depict their other flavors (see if you can spot cinnamon, tea, star anise, mint, ginger and so much more!)

Cutting open the packaging with scissors, I could already smell a more subtle, delicate and natural aroma. Amidst the swirls on the back of the bar, I could see the bumpy outlines of the small lavender flowers (1% of the overall ingredients) that generously dotted the matte finish surface.

The bar is comprised of 6 long rectangles, each etched with symmetrical lines that radiated away from a small square at the center of the rectangle. Despite the tightly fitting inner packaging, there was still some scuffing and chocolate dust marring the surface.

There is a sharp, yet slightly crumbly snap to the bar. Clearly, the mouthfeel would not be smooth due to the lavender flower inclusion.

As you rub a tasting morsel against your tongue, you feel little pieces of the tubular bud (calyx) come away from the chocolate, like separating chaff from seeds, which then adds a crunch to each bite.

Here is a close up of two ridged lavender buds; I’m surprised that they still retain such a deep purple hue and that they look a little like fennel seeds.

There is definitely an herbal and floral taste to the chocolate, though it seems to be less pronounced when chomped rather than melted. Initially, the flavor was quite intense and overwhelmed the chocolate itself; though after several tastings I started to enjoy it and pictured myself walking through a lush field in Provence, France 😉

To discover Dolfin’s extensive product line, check out their website: http://www.dolfin.be/en/

Did you know that lavender is part of the mint family of flowering plants?! It’s said that inhaling the scent of lavender has calming and soothing effects. So, whenever I feel stressed in the future, all I need to do is sniff this chocolate…though, of course, I’ll be tempted to nibble at it too! 🙂