The first half of this post covers my first shipment from Vavako. Scroll down to see the second half of this post when Vavako re-sent the bars I had originally ordered (plus extras!) and for an updated version of my thoughts on their chocolate.
Vavako, we need to talk.
I was looking forward to trying some flavor combinations that I hadn’t tried before in chocolate, but my bars arrived sticky and not in good condition. A big thing I noted: there was no ice pack in sight when I opened the slim package that the bars arrived in. I don’t mind paying a few extra bucks to get an ice pack thrown into the package! But please don’t send out a package from the west coast knowing that it will go to the east coast during the summer months and assume the chocolate will be 100% perfect by the time it arrives.
The extra two bars that you threw into my package? That was very generous! And I appreciate the extra gesture. The expiration date for all of the five bars I received was dated for March 2017. But I’m very sad to say that these two extra bars were very hard to break apart, dried up and it was hard to taste anything.
Once again, please take better care in sending your chocolate through the mail so your customers are happier with the quality of the chocolate!
I had heard about Vavako before, which was why I wanted to try them. I knew that ordering chocolate during the summer would be a risk, but after my 6 pack of Durci chocolate came in great condition, I assumed I could continue ordering from other western states. That might have been a mistake as you could tell from my rant above.
Anyway, I wanted to try out some different flavor combinations in chocolate, and these bars by Vavako caught my eye. I’ve had basil in chocolate before when I tried Hello Cocoa’s Spring Fever bar, but basil and lemon? That would be new for me!
The chocolate smelled acidic, but once I put it in my mouth, I was able to immediately taste the lemon and basil, which seemed to be floating in the chocolate as gooey and sticky pockets at this point. The acidity of the chocolate seemed to be the strongest flavor midway through my bite, but then it mellowed out and became a bit sweeter with the basil flavoring coming forward. My bite finished with tartness from the lemon. The chocolate seemed dry, probably due to the blooming the occurred from its journey across the country.
This bar smelled earthier and I could immediately taste the guava. Midway through my bite I could taste the warmth of anise. The chocolate seemed to have some tropical fruit notes in it as well, unless that was the guava I was tasting. The anise overall was more of a background than forefront flavor for me. This bar was less dry than the basil and lemon bar.
The coffee and cardamom bar arrived in the best condition compared to everything else. I could smell and taste the coffee in this bar right away. With the coffee-side down on my tongue, the coffee seemed bright, acidic, fruity and a tad smoky. It lended some nice crunchy texture to the chocolate. The coffee seemed to overwhelm the chocolate flavors through the the middle part of my bite. Toward the end I was able to taste the chocolate more, which was smooth in texture and acidic in flavor with some fruity notes.
I wish I could have tried these chocolate bars in better condition. I think the guava and anise bar was my favorite. I’m used to tasting anise flavors in pho and I didn’t think I would like it in chocolate, but maybe because it wasn’t strong or overwhelming I didn’t mind it at all!
Updated thoughts on Vavako after receiving a second shipment of their bars…
Vavako was quick to respond and reach out to me regarding the bars mentioned above when they heard about the condition they were received. They were kind in re-sending me the same bars. This time, ice packs were definitely included in the packaging and Vavako was very generous including nine extra bars under another brand name! I will cover them in future posts. I’m blown away by their generosity! Vavako, thank you for listening to customers and for reaching out because it means a lot when companies respond to feedback!
The Guava and Anise bar was a bit sticky when I unwrapped it, but the chocolate looked perfectly fine otherwise. The pieces broke apart with a clean snap. I could smell guava and sweetness from the chocolate itself. I first tasted tartness from the guava and fruitiness from the chocolate. The tartness from the guava remained throughout my bite. I couldn’t really taste anise until the very end. It was quite subtle, but I like anise when it’s subtle rather than when it’s overwhelming.
The Basil and Lemon bar was sticky like the Guava and Anise bar, but it was also still in good condition with the same clean, sharp break when the pieces were broken apart. I could smell both basil and lemon. I first tasted tartness from the lemon followed by herbal basil flavor. As my bite melted, I tasted earthiness from the chocolate. The basil grew in strength and continued throughout the rest of my bite. The earthiness of the chocolate and lemon flavor also lingered until the end. I liked how the lemon remained throughout my bite. Ever since I tried Theo’s lemon + milk chocolate bar, I’ve more of an appreciation for lemon in chocolate 🙂 This bar reminded me of spring with the citrus and green herb combination. I liked it!
From the Coffee and Cardamom bar, I could smell both the coffee and a slight hint of cardamom. I could immediately taste the strong flavor of coffee, which seemed bright and fruity on its own. The spiciness of cardamom was subtle in the background. There was a pleasant crunchy texture due to the coffee. The chocolate itself tasted acidic, but it brought out the fruitiness of the coffee. The acidity from the chocolate mellowed out at the end of my bite while fruitiness from the coffee lingered. The flavor combination seemed warm and very fall-like combining the cardamom spices with coffee (which I’ll need more of with the decrease in daylight). With the current changing of the seasons I’m looking forward to fall, so this would be one of those fall season bars for me 🙂
The 77% and 60% bars were extras that Vavako originally included in my first order from them. Originally they were very dry, hard to break apart, and had bloomed badly. They look excellent this time around! Both gave a clean, sharp snap when broken apart. The 77% bar smelled earthy and it took a while to melt, but it was smooth in texture. It tasted earthy and a little acidic at first, and then grew in acidity as it melted. Partway through my bite I tasted red fruit notes. At the end it returned to earthy.
The 60% bar smelled sweet and tasted very sweet. It melted quicker than the 77% bar and tasted just like cherries! Can I make a cherry pie using this chocolate? The entire duration of my bite just tasted like cherries, and it was very pleasant and smooth in texture. This was my favorite out of all 5 of the bars with Basil and Lemon being the runner up.
Vavako: Made in Bellevue, WA