Raaka First Nibs Selection – September 2018

Because my First Nibs Selection subscription with Raaka comes every other month, I get super excited when I see a Raaka box on my doorstep. I’ve raved in the past about their unique inclusions in these limited edition bars. For September, my eyes almost popped out of my face. Nibby Butter Buckwheat Cookies?! Cranberry Sage Pie?! Already the names of these bars are very interesting!

According to the description sent with these bars, Food52 is releasing a new cookbook on September 4th (we’re past that now). They chose three of their dessert recipes that would work well with chocolate and handed them off to Raaka to “work their magic”. The new cookbook is called “Genius Desserts: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Bake”.

The first bar is Nibby Butter Buckwheat Cookies in Asochivite, Guatemala 72%. That’s quite a mouthful for the title! According to the description, buckwheat is an alternative to wheat flour. The recipe originally calls for using grassy buckwheat and bitter cacao nibs in shorbread cookies. Raaka believed these flavors would pair well with a fudgy Asochivite.

For me, the scent of this bar was a mixture of fruity and earthy. With the buckwheat side down on my tongue, I first tasted salt followed by strong herby and light fruity flavors. The toasted buckwheat bits literally added a “pop” of flavor and texture. Once the buckwheat flavors had dissipated I was left with fudgy brownie. The thought of fudgy pecan brownies crossed my mind, but instead of pecans there’s buckwheat. This bar was like having a party in my mouth! There was a lot going on with texture and flavors, and in the end it comes down to reminiscing about brownies.

The next bar is Cranberry Sage Pie in Kokoa Kamili, Tanzania 66%. First of all, this bar is gorgeous to look at! The brown sugar glistens in the light and the deep red cranberries are like little dark rubies. The description for this bar mentions the Elsen sisters who run a bakery called Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn. They go beyond creating traditional pies “splashing bitters into their filling and showering salt across the top”. This bar was inspired by a pie they made that uses raw and dried cranberries, sage and fall spices.

The scent of this bar is like Christmas with the brown sugar scent reminding me of gingerbread cookies and the strong cranberry scent was like cranberry sauce that’s seen around Thanksgiving. If you don’t like chocolate, then the scent alone is what you need. I want the essence of this bar as a perfume that I can wear during the fall and winter. I first tasted the sweetness of the brown sugar followed by the sweet yet tart dried cranberries. The sage was subtle and I could definitely taste the fall spices. The Tanzanian chocolate is described as being sweet and it was a nice way to pull all the sweet things together yet balance out the sage. This bar is SO good!

The last bar is Roasted Sugar in CAC Pangoa, Peru 68%. The description for this bar says it was inspired by a happy accident of Stella Park (writer behind the book “Brave Tart”) in leaving sugar in an oven at low heat for hours. Instead of melting, the granules became “more caramelly”. The bar smelled sweet like honey. The flavor reminded me of the brown sugar in the Cranberry Sage Pie bar and like light molasses. This is a great chocolaty, sweet bar that is subtle rather than intense for people who are exploring dark chocolate bars but don’t like bitterness.

One again Raaka made three very unique bars! The Nibby Butter Buckwheat Cookie bar is great for people looking for a flavorful and textural experience. The Cranberry Sage Pie is awesome for fall-lovers such as myself who love the holidays of the colder months and the foods that come along with it. The Roasted Sugar bar is good for savoring anytime of the day and anytime of the year. If I had to pick one out of the three, I gravitated the most to the Cranberry Sage Pie. And I’m saying this as I’m already popping another piece of it in my mouth ­čÖé

Raaka Chocolate

These are my personal thoughts and experiences. I did not receive pay or any compensation for reviewing any products. Though at the time of writing this post I am working in the chocolate industry, my work in the chocolate industry has no affect on my personal thoughts and experiences with the chocolate products shared on Time To Eat Chocolate. Website links to articles, companies and other sources of information directly related to the topic written within the posts were included during the time of writing and the writer will not be held responsible for future changes on such website links. All images are original and the property of Time To Eat Chocolate unless specifically stated otherwise.

 

WKND Chocolate

Apparently I had tried these WKND bars at the end of spring and somehow never got to finishing writing my thoughts about these bars! At this point, Lauren of WKND Chocolate is in the process of moving overseas and relocating her business, which means the bars I’ll be sharing here might be the last I get to try until she’s settled into her new location. Since I can’t immediately recall my experience, listed below are my old notes from the original time of tasting.

Strawberry bar: “The World Through Strawberry Colored Glasses”

The ingredients list contains cocoa butter, almonds, balsamic vinegar and freeze dried strawberries. Balsamic vinegar? That’s very interesting and a unique ingredient! The bar smelled fruity and delicious. I tasted some “tang” once I put the chocolate in my mouth. After reading balsamic vinegar in the ingredients, it was stuck in my mind and I could taste it. It was like the vinegar brought out some tartness and the sweetness of the strawberries. The almonds gave the bar some subtle crunch and texture. This was delicious and very different than other strawberry bars I’ve experienced.

53% Micolate

The ingredients included Vale Potumuju Brazilian cacao, cocoa butter, cane sugar and non-fat milk powder. This bar smelled less creamy than most milk chocolate bars I’ve had. Even though it tasted subtly milky, the flavor of the chocolate reminded me of coffee and I experienced a chocolaty aftertaste. This was also delicious and I loved how I got to enjoy more of the cacao’s flavor than just the milk powder. Maybe this milk chocolate having a natural light coffee flavor is why it’s called mico-late? ­čÖé

Scarlett Sunrise 80% Dark Chocolate

Ingredients include Vale Potumuju Brazilian cacao, cane sugar, freeze dried raspberries, hibiscus flowers, red Alaea Hawaiian salt, and cardamom. What a unique combination of hibiscus flowers with salt and raspberries! I could definitely smell the raspberries and if I searched for it, I could detect subtle floral and spice. The salt hit my taste buds first, followed by tart raspberries and an interesting combination that almost seemed savory of the cardamom and hibiscus. This flavor combo reminded me of sweet spice rubs used for ribs. Once the initial party of flavors dissipated, I tasted only the chocolate base, which was the same as the 53% Micolate, so I also tasted subtle coffee and strong nuttiness. I applaud Lauren on making such a unique combination! It’s perfect for the summertime.

Now that I’m finishing this post at the end of summer, the strawberry bar has lingered the most in my memory and it must be because of that balsamic vinegar. I hope that Lauren is having no trouble in relocating and hopefully down the road I’ll be able to try more of her creations!

WKND Chocolate

These are my personal thoughts and experiences. I did not receive pay or any compensation for reviewing any products. Though at the time of writing this post I am working in the chocolate industry, my work in the chocolate industry has no affect on my personal thoughts and experiences with the chocolate products shared on Time To Eat Chocolate. Website links to articles, companies and other sources of information directly related to the topic written within the posts were included during the time of writing and the writer will not be held responsible for future changes on such website links. All images are original and the property of Time To Eat Chocolate unless specifically stated otherwise.

 

An update…

Hi all! It’s been a while since I’ve shared a post here on Time To Eat Chocolate and I figured I would give an update and chat a bit about what’s been going on. Hang tight because this will take a while! I’ll be diving into some topics that have been weighing heavy on my mind and why I’ve taken a step back from social media and from blogging.

Ever since March when I got married my life has become busier. I’d been warned by married friends and family members that once you get married, in general you become busier. It just kind of happens. Personally I think I’ve been focusing more time on family, helping raise our “children” (meaning our Scottish terrier and cat) and doing all the regular chores and grocery shopping takes longer now I’m not just looking after myself. I’m starting to understand why when people get married they kind of fall off of the edge of the earth compared to when they’re living a single life!

I also want to share that ever since mid-February I’ve been working as an assistant chocolate maker for a business in the D.C. area. I made the switch so I could gain hands on experience learning what it’s like to make bean to bar chocolate. I admire how some people can simply read a book about the process and fully understand it. I’m a tactile and visual learner, so this has been the best way for the process to stick in my mind.

I never put this job switch out there on social media because I wasn’t sure if I’d receive any backlash, but now I feel like I need to mention it somehow. I’m surrounded by chocolate at work and when I come home I want to unwind and take a break from chocolate, which affects my time spent on social media and sometimes from consuming it at home. I still love chocolate, don’t get me wrong! But I think I’m experiencing overexposure.

I won’t name the company that I’m working for because that should not matter nor should people be nosing into my business, but if you haven’t already read it at the bottom of every post since mid-February, I make it clear that my thoughts in my reviews are always my personal thoughts despite my working in the chocolate industry. I have to stress that since a someone in the chocolate industry I used to admire decided to be disrespectful toward me since they learned of my job and I had to remind them that I’ve already been reviewing chocolate products for three years prior to my working in chocolate. Because I’ve now seen and experienced the behind the scenes work at a craft chocolate business, my tolerance for rude behavior from other makers and businesses has greatly decreased. If I and other customers are using our hard earned money to buy their bars and therefore support their business, they have no grounds to treat us that way! It’s simply poor customer service.

Besides overexposure, I’ve taken a step away from social media and considered cancelling this blog┬ásince I’d come home from work with no energy to scroll through Instagram, read articles or write a blog post. Also in the past my husband pointed that out I was probably spending an unhealthy amount of time on my phone and laptop. He had a good point. I’ve been happy yet sad about this change. Happy in that I have been able to better appreciate the moment when I’m not staring at my phone or laptop, and sad because I’m missing out on chocolate news. After some thinking, I’ve decided I’m going to keep the social media accounts I’ve set up and this blog since my current rate of sharing may be slow, but down the road I might be able to return to a regular schedule of blogging possibly posting twice a month rather than once a week.

The business I’m currently working for already knows that I won’t be with them for long. As my husband and I have been discussing the future and what our family will look like a few years from now, we’ve decided we want to move away from the D.C. area, get a house and eventually start raising children (“children” includes having more Scottish terriers ­čÖé ). I will be moving to part-time work to free up my schedule a bit so I can continue focusing more of my attention to family. Sadly this means that this job position may be the only time in my life when I’m able to work for a chocolate maker, but I’m grateful and satisfied to even have the opportunity. On the positive side, hopefully when I leave my current job it means overexposure to chocolate won’t affect my blogging and sharing on social media.

If you’ve made it this far in reading this post, thank you for your time and patience! I’m thankful and grateful for the network of fellow chocoholics, makers and bloggers I’ve come to know thanks to writing this blog and social media. If you follow me on Instagram @timetoeatchocolate and notice I’m quiet there, I’m most likely active on @lauberhaus where I share family-related activities. I’m excited for what the future brings and I hope that I can at some point return with a regular schedule in sharing thoughts/reviews on chocolate products!

 

 

 

River Sea Chocolates

I learned of River Sea Chocolates through the D.C. Chocolate Festival and I was glad to see that they added to the few number of chocolate makers based out of Virginia. Virginia is now my home state (New Jersey still remains in my heart) so whenever I hear of any new chocolate makers pop up here, it makes me very happy! What was pleasantly surprising is that River Sea is based out of Sterling, which is in the northern part of Virginia and not too far from my current stomping grounds (but that will change in a year or two). If you’ve ever flown through Dulles International Airport, you were very close to Sterling.

I like that the back of every bar says that River Sea Chocolates “partners with small-scale growers who use sustainable farming methods that prevent deforestation and reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers or pesticides that could harm bio-diversity”. According to their website, their name was inspired by the “world’s cacao grow[ing] in coastal jungle areas influenced by the daily flow of the tide”. You can read more about their name origin┬áhere.

It’s perfect that I’m trying this matcha bar because this morning I tried to make a matcha cake roll, which didn’t work out well, but basically matcha is the theme today. I also made a matcha latte for the first time and thankfully that worked out way better than the cake roll. If you’ve been following my blog or social media you’d know that I LOVE any chocolate that has matcha in it.

I remember this was the first bar I wanted to try at River-Sea’s table during the D.C. Chocolate Festival. The ingredients consist of cocoa butter from Ecuador, whole cow milk from Brazil, cane sugar from Brazil and Gyokuro leaves from Japan. Usually I see “matcha powder” being used so I’m curious if River-Sea ground up the Gyokuro to obtain their matcha. Their website says that “matcha green tea leaves” were used. From what I understand, sencha, matcha, even black and other teas come from the same type of leaf and its the growth and preparation of the leaves prior to consumption that makes their differences in flavor, so the way it was listed on the bar is no big deal, just interesting.

There was a subtle matcha scent with creaminess from the white chocolate base. As expected, this bar was creamy goodness with some subtle bitter but delicious matcha flavors (matcha alone is naturally bitter). As usual this bar will not last long as I’ll probably eat the whole thing in one sitting since most matcha bars end that way in my hands.

The milk chocolate hemp bar is made up of cocoa beans from Ecuador, cane sugar from Brazil, help seeds from the United States and cocoa butter from Tanzania. I remember sampling this bar at the D.C. Chocolate Festival as well and I was intrigued in trying a chocolate bar with hemp in it for the first time. I’m not familiar with the flavor of hemp and before people go all crazy, a quick Google search shows that though hemp is a variety of cannabis it is NOT the same as marijuana and it lacks THC┬á(tetrahydrocannabinol), which causes the psychological effects that marijuana has on its users. Go to this website and read the differences for yourself if you’re getting worked up.

I got a subtle herby smell and chocolaty creaminess. River Sea’s website describes this bar as┬á“fudgy, nutty, nourishing and rich”. I definitely experience a fudgy texture though more of a roasted than nutty flavor. If the flavor is viewed as nutty, it would be like roasted walnuts. There is a subtle herby flavor going on in the background as well. I would actually be interested in trying hemp in a dark chocolate.

The 72% bar consists of cocoa beans from Tanzania, cane sugar from Brazil and cocoa butter from Ecuador. Their website says the bar is “made from Kokoa Kamili Certified Organic Cacao Beans and then roasted using our Alchemist Roast”. My guess is that they referred to John Nanci’s Chocolate Alchemist posts (such as this one) to learn about roasting cocoa/cacao beans, but there aren’t any other specifics about what Alchemist Roast means.

The flavor notes are listed as cherry, coffee and lemon. The scent reminds me of jerky with roasted notes, but once my bite started to melt I could see why River Sea chose those flavor notes. It does seem like a fruity, roasted flavor combo with a slight touch of acidity. As my bite melted further, I was reminded of woody flavors, like a finished wood table, and tobacco.

While the match bar will certainly not last long in my hands, I’ll be taking my time with the other two bars. The hemp and the flavor combo of the 72% Tanzanian bars were different for my palate in a good way. I’m looking forward to trying more of River Sea’s bars in the future!

River Sea Chocolates: Made in Sterling, VA

These are my personal thoughts and experiences. I did not receive pay or any compensation for reviewing any products. Though at the time of writing this post I am working in the chocolate industry, my work in the chocolate industry has no affect on my personal thoughts and experiences with the chocolate products shared on Time To Eat Chocolate. Website links to articles, companies and other sources of information directly related to the topic written within the posts were included during the time of writing and the writer will not be held responsible for future changes on such website links. All images are original and the property of Time To Eat Chocolate unless specifically stated otherwise.

Puna Chocolate

After hearing and briefly meeting the chocolate makers behind Puna Chocolate during the D.C. Chocolate Festival, I had to order some of their bars. I didn’t have time to purchase any in person, so I placed a couple of orders for their half-size bars online.

Despite being based out of Wauconda, IL, Puna Chocolate owns a cacao farm in Puna, Hawaii. As mentioned on the back of their plain 70% bar, Puna first planted cacao in the Puna District in 2012. Also mentioned on the packaging is the reason why Hawaii is the only state where cacao can both grow and produce cacao is due to the volcanic soil and tropical climate. Proceeds go toward supporting Hawaiian agriculture.

I’m going to start with tasting Puna’s plain 70% dark chocolate. The scent was wonderful and seemed to be a mixture of fruity/berry and nutty. The flavor exploded in my mouth of fruitiness and nuttiness. While I’m tasting, the screen door is open and I’m listening to the rain fall outside. My memories took me back to the time when I was visiting a rural part of Dominican Republic and I was thinking of the wonderful smell of being surrounded by tropical trees and trying local sweet fruit. I loved this bar!

The cashews and Hawaiian sea salt bar smelled like the plain 70% bar but it was chomp-friendly with delicious cashews and plenty of sea salt. Besides the cashews the sea salt gave a light crunchy texture. It’s a good snacking bar combining two healthy things: nuts and chocolate ­čÖé

See the pictures above for the pepper and spice ingredients as well as the interesting description for the The Kilauea Volcano Style bar. I could smell and taste the spice medley. It took a little bit of time but eventually my mouth was on fire. The crunchy nibs were helpful in distracting me from the burn. It’s not for the weak of heart but it’s also not too hot. At the end I experienced not just the heat but I could taste the Aleppo pepper, which was nice.

The back of the packaging says, “Fresh golden Macadamia Nuts are roasted to a gentle nutty crunch and combined with crispy coconut flakes for a sweet and salty pairing.” Coconut was forefront in scent and flavor but I could taste macadamia in the background. I find coconut to be relatively savory and combined with the savory roasted macadamia nuts, the sweet and salty combo had more of a subtle saltiness. This was still a delicious combination!

I love coffee + chocolate combinations! Also my brother has visited Kona multiple times and loves Kona coffee, so this made me think of him. The bar had a light fruity scent but the flavor was coffee, nibby (from the nibs), and fruity. Since I’m trying this on a rainy day this bar helped me wake up. It was like consuming a cup of cold brew coffee with a fruity aftertaste. I liked this bar!

The back of the Horchata bar says that this dark milk bar contains less sugar than the 70% dark bar and the dairy used is sourced from the midwest. The flavor was chocolaty with milk creaminess and a touch of cinnamon. The texture of the crispy rice was light. The spiciness of this bar was minimal so it’s perfect for those who have a low spice tolerance but enjoy a sweeter chocolate bar. I could easily eat this bar in one sitting, but I’ve promised to share this with a fellow chocoholic.

The scent of rose and pistachio from the Rose Cardamom Pistachio bar had a calming affect. The rose was the most obvious flavor. I could taste the cardamom as well, which was never overpowering. The pistachio gave a nice light, crunchy texture. A great bar for winding down from a busy day!

To make this Honey Wine Berry bar, Puna let raspberries soak in wine then dried and pressed them into the chocolate. I could smell the raspberries and sweetness of honey. Right away I was in love with this bar! The sweetness of the honey and chocolate nicely balanced out the touch of tartness from the wine raspberries. I could definitely see myself enjoying a full sized version of this bar.

Out of the bars I tried, my top favorites are the Honey Wine Berry, 70% plain, Kona Coffee with Nibs, and Rose Cardamom Pistachio. The Honey Wine Berry might be my number one favorite out of the ones I just listed.

Puna Chocolate: Cacao grown in Hawaii, Bars made in Wauconda, IL

These are my personal thoughts and experiences. I did not receive pay or any compensation for reviewing any products. Though at the time of writing this post I am working in the chocolate industry, my work in the chocolate industry has no affect on my personal thoughts and experiences with the chocolate products shared on Time To Eat Chocolate. Website links to articles, companies and other sources of information directly related to the topic written within the posts were included during the time of writing and the writer will not be held responsible for future changes on such website links. All images are original and the property of Time To Eat Chocolate unless specifically stated otherwise.

 

Fruition 100% and Irving Farm Coffee Bars

It’s been a while since I’ve had some Fruition chocolate so during the 2018 D.C. Chocolate Festival I stopped by Fruition’s table, said hello to Emma working there and picked these two bars up.

The 100% bar has been recommended to me by multiple people and while my taste buds have yet to fully appreciate 100% bars, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to at least give it a try. The scent of this bar reminded me of cocoa powder and it was little fruity. The flavor strongly reminded me of cocoa powder but quickly developed into raspberry and tannic flavors. The strong cocoa flavor remained through the end of my bite. Despite my not yet being in love with 100% bars I do appreciate that this had some natural raspberry flavor to help balance out the tannic.

The Irving Farm coffee bar has a subtle coffee scent and it tasted lightly fruity and in general like coffee, which I really liked! The chocolate itself also tasted subtle and chocolaty. It was smooth and delicious. The fruitiness lingered into the aftertaste. I would definitely get another of these!

Fruition: Made in Shokan, NY

These are my personal thoughts and experiences. I did not receive pay or any compensation for reviewing any products. Though at the time of writing this post I am working in the chocolate industry, my work in the chocolate industry has no affect on my personal thoughts and experiences with the chocolate products shared on Time To Eat Chocolate. Website links to articles, companies and other sources of information directly related to the topic written within the posts were included during the time of writing and the writer will not be held responsible for future changes on such website links. All images are original and the property of Time To Eat Chocolate unless specifically stated otherwise.

Raaka First Nibs Selection – July

This month Raaka produced two summer drink-related bars: Mojito and Thai Iced Tea. Technically both could be consumed all year around, but both of these types of drinks sound good for the ~90 degree weather the D.C. area has been experiencing. Though the Cabernet Sauvignon bar was also included in this month’s First Nibs I will not be sharing it here. I can already say that I recommend it since I’ve eaten several Cabernet Sauvignon bars in the past.

The description included with these bars says the Thai Iced Tea bar is made with a Kokoa Kamili, Tanzanian base “infused with a cacao butter tincture of assam tea, mango ceylon tea, cardamom and star anise” making the base flavors for Thai iced tea. A quick Google search shows the definition of tincture is┬á“a medicine made by dissolving a drug in alcohol” or “a slight trace of something”. This makes me think of previous Raaka bars where the cocoa butter/cacao butter was infused with various spices or other flavorings. Raaka makes a note that though Thai iced tea is usually sweetened with sugar and condensed milk and they wanted to keep the bar vegan, they used cane sugar and coconut instead.

The scent of the bar actually made me think of nutmeg but it was definitely a warm spice blend. My taste buds were washed over with warm spicy deliciousness. As Raaka described, the chocolate tasted creamy and I could detect some of that coconut. It’s been a couple of months since I’ve had Thai iced tea, this bar is reminiscent of it though a little on the less sweet side. I could definitely taste the coconut and spices in the aftertaste.

Raaka’s description of the Mojito bar mentions that the base is made up of Asochivite, Guatemala cacao for it’s fruity and nutty flavors. The nibs were aged in rum barrels from Van Brunt Stillhouse for 4 weeks. The nibs were then “blended with lime peel powder and peppermint-spearmint infused cacao butter creating a tangy, complex, cooling dark chocolate”.

The scent was lightly fruity but I was able to taste lime right away. The bar literally tastes like a mojito including the alcoholic flavor! Personally I feel like a lot of alcoholic beverages have a “bite” to them. This bar managed to include that, probably due to the peppermint-spearmint flavors. My mind has been blown. I can’t believe this bar literally tastes like a mojito! My mind has been blown so long that my bite finished melting…

Once again Raaka has created two very unique flavor experiences in the form of chocolate. The Thai iced tea was something different, but I can’t wrap my head around the fact that a chocolate bar could taste so much like a mojito. I may be thinking about the Mojito bar for the rest of summer ­čÖé

Raaka: Made in Brooklyn, NY

These are my personal thoughts and experiences. I did not receive pay or any compensation for reviewing any products. Though at the time of writing this post I am working in the chocolate industry, my work in the chocolate industry has no affect on my personal thoughts and experiences with the chocolate products shared on Time To Eat Chocolate. Website links to articles, companies and other sources of information directly related to the topic written within the posts were included during the time of writing and the writer will not be held responsible for future changes on such website links. All images are original and the property of Time To Eat Chocolate unless specifically stated otherwise.

Chocolate Roulette with Wm. Chocolate Bars

During a visit to see my siblings and some extended family I took the chance to play a game of chocolate roulette with them. There were exactly five of us meeting for dinner and I had that number of Wm. Chocolate bars in my personal chocolate stash. Before I dive into sharing how the roulette game went, I want to share my own thoughts on tasting the 100% Honduras, 75% Ghana and the limited 68% Belize hot sauce infused bar, which acted as the bullet. For my thoughts on the first and second harvest of the 68% Belize (NOT hot sauce infused) bars, you can see my comparison of the two here.

I had tried William’s 100% bar prior to this game, but I never shared my thoughts. As mentioned on the packaging, the cocoa comes from Wampusirpi in the northeastern part of Honduras and because the beans are not treated with chemicals they are technically organic despite the lack of official certification. The tasting notes are listed as walnut, elderberry and gruyere. Because my allergies have been terrible lately I won’t bother trying to figure out what I’m smelling from each of the bars I’m sharing today ­čÖé And because my sinuses aren’t handling the onslaught of pollen well, my tasting might be a little off as well. I immediately tasted that cheese-like flavor mentioned on the packaging as well as walnut. Maybe it’s me, but I’ve been tasting a lot of walnut and general nutty flavors in the bars I’ve been trying lately. I’m not sure what elderberry tastes like, but cheese was the top flavor I experienced in this bar. It’s very unique and as someone whose taste buds are still adjusting to 100% cocoa bars, this isn’t bad at all! If I’m wanting a more savory snack, I’ll be turning to this bar in the next few days until it’s gone.

The description on the back of the Ghana bar packaging mentions that Ghana harvests about 15% of the global crop. That’s a decent chunk when considering many of the other countries 20 degrees north and south of the equator that also grow and produce cacao/cocoa. William makes a point to mention that the cocoa used in this bar comes from “Ghanian farms that meet the Rainforest Alliance’s social, economic and environmental standards.” The flavor notes are listed as chocolate pudding, malt and peanut butter. My interest is already piqued at “peanut butter” since I’m a huge fan of chocolate + peanut butter ­čÖé I immediately got those peanut butter flavors when the chocolate started melting, so I’ve been hooked! As my bite melted the chocolate started to taste more fudgy and I can see how it would be reminiscent of chocolate flavored Snack Packs. I really like this bar! I definitely plan on ordering more of this in the fall along with any first harvest 68% Belize that may be left.

The 68% Belize hot sauce infused bar I was able to get thanks to Will sharing it during the D.C. Chocolate Festival, otherwise I’d probably have no other way of obtaining it. Thank you, Will, for being willing to let me try this limited edition bar! It was perfect for roulette since it clearly has a spicy kick. The heat slowly intensifies as the chocolate melts and at the end the back of my back my throat was taking the brunt of the spiciness. I wish more of these bars were made since I’d keep a few in my stash for times when I need a wake-up jolt ­čÖé

Okay, on to the game of roulette! My siblings and a couple members of extended family had heard of this game before, but they had never played it themselves. The first time around, my brother-in-law got the hot sauce piece but was able to handle the heat very well. The second time around my brother got the bullet and seemed to be outwardly fine. The third time around my sister unfortunately picked the hot sauce chocolate and had to run for water since she doesn’t prefer spicy foods. My brother-in-law’s sister never experienced the heat and preferred not to.

After three rounds of roulette everyone got the chance to freely pick and choose which bars they wanted to try. The consensus was that my siblings and extended family liked both the first and second harvest 68% Belize bars for their fruity flavors. They were not fans of the 100% bar because the weren’t sure what to expect and are not used to trying higher than 70% bars. My brother was the only other person enjoying the Ghana bar as much as I did.

So there we have it! I finally got some of my family members involved in a game of roulette. They thankfully enjoyed it and want to play again sometime in the future. For more of my thoughts on trying Wm. Chocolate bars, go here.

Wm. Chocolate: Made in Madison, WI

These are my personal thoughts and experiences. I did not receive pay or any compensation for reviewing any products. Though at the time of writing this post I am working in the chocolate industry, my work in the chocolate industry has no affect on my personal thoughts and experiences with the chocolate products shared on Time To Eat Chocolate. Website links to articles, companies and other sources of information directly related to the topic written within the posts were included during the time of writing and the writer will not be held responsible for future changes on such website links. All images are original and the property of Time To Eat Chocolate unless specifically stated otherwise.

 

Wm. Chocolate – Comparing Two Harvests of Belize

I know that cacao is harvested in the summer and the fall, but I’ve never had the chance to compare two harvests of the same cacao in chocolate bar form until now. When Will of Wm. Chocolate announced that his Belize bar was available in separate harvests of cacao from the Maya Mountains, I wanted to try both bars side by side.

When looking at the packaging of the first Belize bar harvested in 2016, the tasting notes are listed on the back as blackberry, custard and candied pineapple. The bar smelled like tropical fruits to me, and the flavor was a burst of subtle earthiness and tropical fruits (like mango). As my bite melted the flavors turned into cheese (like gouda) and what reminded me of sourdough bread. In the finish I continued to experience that cheese flavor with fruitiness and subtle candied pineapple. The cheese remained as an aftertaste for a long time. The chocolate melted smoothly and quickly and provided an exciting flavor story!

The second harvest was in 2017 and the tasting notes are listed as candied pineapple, custard and raisin. Maybe because cheese is now on my mind it’s mainly what I smelled from this bar along with subtle fruitiness. Immediately I tasted cheese, mild acidity, and subtle fruity flavors. The cheese, acidity and very subtle fruitiness stuck with me through the end of my bite. I had to take a second bite because my mind was still taking in the different pattern in flavor development compared to the first Belize bar. I took our cat Choco on a walk to give my taste buds a break, then took my second bite, and experienced the same unfolding of a flavor story except this time I experienced more of that candied pineapple flavor midway through my bite.

I’m blown away by the differences between these two bars! For me, the first harvest was more fruity and the second was overall more savory. I kind of like the first harvest of Belize better, but as I’m continuing to try the second harvest it is definitely growing on me! I think it won’t be long before the first harvest bars will sell out and I’ll be consuming the second harvest at the same rate and liking it just as much.

I had my husband taste both of these bars as well for a second opinion. In the first harvest bar he tasted the blackberry and in general a lot of fruitiness and some of that custard. In the second harvest bar he first tasted coffee followed by fruitiness (he worded it as “light fruitiness”) with possibly some of that raisin flavor.

If you want to read my thoughts on other bars I’ve tried by Will and my first time experiencing the first harvest Belize bar, go here.

Wm. Chocolate: Made in Madison Wisconsin

These are my personal thoughts and experiences. I did not receive pay or any compensation for reviewing any products. Though at the time of writing this post I am working in the chocolate industry, my work in the chocolate industry has no affect on my personal thoughts and experiences with the chocolate products shared on Time To Eat Chocolate. Website links to articles, companies and other sources of information directly related to the topic written within the posts were included during the time of writing and the writer will not be held responsible for future changes on such website links. All images are original and the property of Time To Eat Chocolate unless specifically stated otherwise.

 

Ohiyo

I was able to try Ohiyo for the first time thanks to a fellow chocoholic friend who is originally from Ohio, which is where Ohiyo is based ­čÖé

Ohiyo was started in 2014 by Mike Condo who simply wanted to make the best chocolate bar he could and as simply as possible. His┬ájourney into making his own chocolate was also propelled by his suffering from Crohn’s disease and needing to cut soy and processed sugars out of his diet. He started making his own chocolate as a way to still be able to enjoy it. He uses his company to share good chocolate with the central Ohio community where he’s been raised. At this time he doesn’t ship any orders outside of Ohio.

In this excellent Q&A with Mike, I love his description of how craft chocolate makers are different from industrial chocolate companies:┬á“Even though many large chocolate manufacturers do start with raw cocoa beans, they usually are not considered bean to bar chocolate makers. This is due to the fast processing times, automated procedures, and high level of additives in the finished chocolate.” This is a great explanation for people who aren’t entirely convinced that craft chocolate is different from industrial chocolate! At the time of this Q&A (2014) Mike mentions that he only uses cacao from the Moho Valley region of Belize due to its flavor. But that has clearly changed as my chocoholic friend has shared with me a 74% Tien Giang, Vietanam bar.

The tasting notes on the back of the packaging list dried cherries, honey and warm spice. I could smell cherry, sweet honey and spice from this bar. The flavor was a little nibby, cherry and what kind of reminded me of the scent pipe tobacco. The spice and some acidity developed as my bite melted. The finish consisted of that same pipe tobacco flavor from the beginning. I can’t say I experienced honey, but it was a good bar! Thanks to the same gracious chocoholic friend I was able to try Mike’s Coffee Dark Chocolate bar, which was insanely delicious! I ate that bar so quickly that I barely had time to think about it.

As a final note regarding Ohiyo, the name comes from the “Iroquois name for ‘great river,’ a word Condo came across while researching the history of Ohio and chocolate, which was originally a Native American food.” I’m looking forward to hopefully trying more of Mike’s bars in the future.

Ohiyo: Made in Columbus, Ohio

These are my personal thoughts and experiences. I did not receive pay or any compensation for reviewing any products. Though at the time of writing this post I am working in the chocolate industry, my work in the chocolate industry has no affect on my personal thoughts and experiences with the chocolate products shared on Time To Eat Chocolate. Website links to articles, companies and other sources of information directly related to the topic written within the posts were included during the time of writing and the writer will not be held responsible for future changes on such website links. All images are original and the property of Time To Eat Chocolate unless specifically stated otherwise.

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