I love discovering new chocolate bars. Finding one I like always makes for a good day. I have no issues trying all manner of exotic flavor combinations even ones many people shun. Rose flavoring in chocolate, for instance, is polarizing – people love it or hate it. I happen to like it if it’s used wisely.
While in Boston at a conference I encountered a great chocolate shop (World of Chocolate”) on my way to dinner near my hotel. Seeing a bar there from a maker I had not previously encountered, it was a must-try, even at a price point of $8.99 for a modest 2 oz./56 grams. The bar was 70% cocoa (pretty much my minimum requirement to elevate it above a classification as “candy”) and flavored with rose geranium oil and cardamom essential oil.
The flavor was subordinated by the weird mouth feel. It was a bit gritty but it just didn’t melt typically. It got soft and malleable but didn’t quite disintegrate the way a typical chocolate bar does. I checked the ingredient label and was nonplussed:
The first ingredient? Cocoa butter. No cocoa mass at all, but cocoa powder was the 3rd ingredient, behind honey.
With cocoa butter as the lead ingredient, then a sweetener, and then cocoa powder, it seemed like the maker was essentially taking the bean apart and putting it back together. It made me think about a solid wood plank versus a similar size of particle board that’s been chipped and then recombined. Both are “wood” but not the same. The maker never claimed it was “bean-to-bar”, only that it was from Peru and ethically sourced.
The label was very rustic and artisan-style, with all manner of politically correct “free-from” claims (no refined sugar, no preservatives, no soy/emulsifiers, no dairy, no shortcuts, all raw and organic, etc.) including that 25% of the profits go to a listed children’s charity. All fine, but I can’t help thinking that the taste would have been better if they’d kept the cocoa bean a little more intact. With cocoa butter as the lead ingredient, the mouthfeel and overall tasting experience suffered. I’m happy to support causes, but in this case I’d rather buy a great bar and donate money myself. Just MHO.