My 50 States project with Trish (who writes Eating the Chocolate Alphabet) was a great time to learn about and be proud of the chocolate makers we have in North America, but I do want to learn more about chocolate makers from other parts of the world. Scotland was definitely not at the top of my list, but after seeing fellow bloggers rave about Chocolate Tree, I had to try them myself. Their bright, colorful yet tasteful packaging is eye catching. I like how the background pictures on the packaging is made up of birds and llamas.
Each package contains two separately wrapped bars. Perfect for on-the-go or for enjoying bits of the chocolate at a time.
The mold holds a lot of detail with intricate floral carvings and an uneven surface.
The trinitario cacao for this 70% Colombia bar comes from the Huila region where even the farmer who grew the cacao is named on the back of the packaging (Aldemar Guzman). The tasting notes are listed as chocolatey, dark cherry and black currants. An additional tip on the packaging says to pair the bar with red wine or port, though I usually taste my chocolate with water. The bar smelled chocolatey and like cherries. The flavors were earthy, cherry, chocolatey and there was some other berry flavor that I’m guessing is black currant. I’m honestly not familiar with the flavor of black currant. The texture was a little gritty and the chocolate took a while to melt. I’m pleasantly surprised that I didn’t get any astringency in this bar, which helped me enjoy my tasting experience. The boyfriend also tried this bar and said it was bitter for him but otherwise pleasant. I brought this bar to work and after eating lunch, it tasted like deep, dark, chocolatey brownies and it was very nice 🙂
The 70% Peru bar was made with cacao from the village Chililique. The tasting notes were not listed on this bar. It smelled like oranges to me and started off with a light citrus flavor that developed into a bread-y flavor. The bread flavor increased in strength such that the citrus was drowned out. A touch of tartness developed midway through my bite. Toward the end a blackberry-like flavor developed. A very slow and interesting flavor story unfolded for me while experiencing this bar. The boyfriend also tasted tartness but was not in love with this bar.
This bar is made up of cacao from South America, though the packaging doesn’t specify which country. The cacao is infused with the Scottish whiskey Islay (the boyfriend likes Islay, so he was excited to try this). I’ve had bars infused with wine and bourbon, but never whiskey. The tasting notes are listed as “delicious waves of dark chocolate” with peat and smoke from the whiskey. The bar definitely smelled like peat and the flavor stared off smokey with sweetness. Midway through my bite I tasted what reminded me of berries. There was a pleasant crunchy texture from cocoa nibs. Usually bourbon bars have this kind of harsh astringent “bite” to them that I don’t enjoy, but this one did not have that at all! It was subtle in scotch flavor. The boyfriend tasted nuttiness whereas I tasted berries in the chocolate.
The whiskey bar was one of the most pleasant alcohol infused bars I’ve tried so far, which is impressive since the closest I otherwise get to whiskey, bourbon or scotch is to smell them. I’m curious now if there are any other chocolate makers based out Scotland that I just haven’t heard of. I’m hoping to one day visit Scotland, so maybe I’ll find out more if I eventually make that trip!
Chocolate Tree: Made in Edinburgh, Scotland