When I’m picking which chocolate maker to feature for a state, it’s really hard to choose just one or two because I want to try all of them! The main factor that helps narrow down the list of who I should order chocolate from comes down to whether that chocolate maker has bars to sell (as not all chocolate makers produce bars full time, such as Patric), and if they do have bars to sell, some don’t ship their products. SRSLY was the only chocolate maker I was able to order bars from.
Bob Williamson, the founder of SRSLY Chocolate, had earlier tried his hand at cheese and beer making, though it was while making chocolate croissants that he was inspired to make his own chocolate. Even though SRSLY is currently based out of Austin, it was first established in Tallahassee, Florida. Since the food scene in Tallahassee at the time didn’t seem as receptive to craft chocolate, Bob and his wife moved the company to Austin where their chocolate started being sold at the Wheatsville Food Co-op. The challenge Bob had to face due to the move was increasing his tempering time (keeping the chocolate at a cool 70 degrees) for a longer period of time due to the warmer climate in Texas.
The cocoa Bob uses in his bars comes from the CONACADO cooperative in the Dominican Republic. I knew that during the refining stage of chocolate the chocolate becomes fluid as the friction and heat melts the natural fat of the cocoa bean, but it was nice to hear the description of allowing “contact” between the sugar and cocoa during this step to “commingle” their flavors. This wordage gives a nice visual picture of what’s happening.
You can watch a video of Bob speaking on a local news channel about his bean to bar process. I like how he describes roasting the cocoa beans as “low and slow like barbecue.”
84% Dark Oko Caribe Dominican Republic
This bar had a deep cocoa and light raspberry scent. I first tasted tangy citrus with earthiness. The texture was slightly gritty. The tanginess mellowed out midway through my bite and I tasted light raspberry with earthy flavors. At the end it tasted more like fresh raspberries while cocoa and earthiness were subtle flavors. On the back of the packaging the tasting notes are listed as “raspberry and dark stone fruit, bright acidity and a big chocolate body.” The cacao came from farmers in the San Francisco de Macoris region of the Dominican Repbulic (just east of Santiago).
70% Sal De Rey
The scent of the bar was reminiscent of mangos. The salt didn’t have the same “saltiness” as table salt. It was a little subdued and brought out bright fruitiness and astringency in the chocolate. After the salt wore off, the chocolate had a fudgy texture and tasted earthy mixed with the astringency. The packaging says that the salt comes from the Sal De Rey salt river in the rio Grande Valley. It’s combined with their 70% dark chocolate, which is described as having “bright fruit notes.” Their flavor description was accurate with what I experienced!
70% Oaxacan Espresso
The bar smelled spicy, earthy and smoky. Spiciness and the espresso flavor hit my taste buds first. The texture was a little gritty, as I’ve usually experienced with chocolate bars with coffee inclusions. The spiciness hit me in the back of the throat but it wasn’t crazy strong. The texture was also fudgy. Midway through my bite, a chocolatey flavor developed with the spice and coffee. The spiciness stuck with me the entire time and into the aftertaste. The chocolate’s earthy and chocolatey notes stayed through the aftertaste as well. The back of the package listed chipotle pepper and coffee from Third Coast Coffee (an Austin based coffee roaster) as ingredients. The tasting notes are listed as smoky and fruity with a “warm, complex coffee and chocolate middle note.”
I knew that chocolate could be fudgy in texture, but this was the first time I truly felt like I experienced that, which was nice! When I made my order from SRSLY, I had originally ordered the 70% Dark Chocolate bar. When I received my package, a kind note was left by Bob saying he had ran out of the 70% bar, but he replaced it with the 84% Oko Caribe and 70% Sal De Rey bars. It was very generous of him!
As much as I liked the 84% bar, I found myself returning to and eating almost the rest of the 70% Sal De Rey bar. That’s kind of rare for me because I feel like almost every chocolate maker, brand and store has dark chocolate + salt. I know it’s a popular combo, but I sometimes blow over it as an option because of how common it is. But this is an exception! I think because the salt in the Sal De Rey bar is present yet subtle, it doesn’t attempt to compete flavor-wise with the chocolate itself, and truly compliments the natural flavor notes in the chocolate so I can appreciate both elements without being overwhelmed with saltiness. Since this bar is made using the 70% Dark Chocolate bar, it makes me believe that I would have enjoyed that bar on it’s own if SRSLY continues to make it.
SRSLY Chocolate: Made in Austin, Texas
Don’t forget to check out Eating the Chocolate Alphabet to see which state Trish will be covering next!
Other chocolate makers in Texas:
Affinity Craft Chocolate
These are my personal thoughts and experiences. I did not receive pay or any compensation for reviewing any products. 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.