Search results: "Amano"

Amano – Ecuador and Madagascar

I’m not a stranger to Amano products,  but whenever I get the chance to try more of their bars, I take the opportunity! I ordered these a while back through Cacao Review and unfortunately from the looks of it the chocolate has suffered. There’s that white ashy look to it from bloom. Which kind of bloom? Thankfully Art Pollard, the chocolate maker behind Amano, has a very helpful article describing the differences between sugar bloom and fat bloom. Sugar bloom is when water comes in contact with the chocolate, dissolves the sugars on the surface and dries up creating a white patch or dusty appearance. Fat bloom is when the the chocolate experiences unstable temperatures and the cocoa butter crystals reform into bigger clumps and are pushed to the surface appearing as white patches.

I don’t think this is sugar bloom as the bars had just been opened and I doubt water had access to the chocolate. But as advised by the article, I wiped a damp finger on the surface of both bars to determine if sugar bloom had occurred. Sure enough, the white ashy appearance remained, so this was fat/cocoa butter bloom. From my experience, the transportation step in getting chocolate into my hands is usually the culprit in causing fat bloom since delivery vehicles don’t have temperature regulation and sometimes packages are left in the sun at my doorstep.

The back of the packaging mentions the Madagascar bar was the first to be released by Amano. The cocoa comes from a plantation in the Sambirano Valley on the northwest coast of Madagascar. The tasting notes are listed as chocolate-y, raspberries, cherries, raisin an citrus. Just reading this flavor combination makes me excited to try the chocolate! The bar smelled chocolate-y with hints of fruit and citrus. Because the bar had bloomed it took a while to melt making me chomp on the chocolate rather than let it gradually melt like usual. A punch of citrus with berry flavors developed with a chocolate-y undertone. I tasted the raisin notes at the end and in the aftertaste. The combination made me think of spring and summer when berries are ripe for picking and of sunny days. Since the weather has been cold and kind of dreary, this is what I needed as pick-me-up!

On the back of the packaging it says this “cocoa comes from a remote community in the Guayas River Basin just up river of Guayaquil, Ecuador”. Art made sure the families growing the cocoa got to taste the finished bar and he threw a launch party for them. The tasting notes are listed as chocolate-y, green bananas, smoke and blackberries. The scent of the bar was light smoky and green bananas. When I bit into this chocolate, smokiness burst forth followed by the slightly grassy green banana flavor. I didn’t taste any blackberry flavors. A couple of coworkers tried this bar with me and they definitely tasted green bananas.

I really enjoyed the Madagascar bar! The flavor combination was my type since I prefer fruity flavors in chocolate (nutty flavors are my second favorite). I’ve tried a few Amano bars now, but there are still a couple I have yet to get my hands on. When my current chocolate stash has gotten low enough, I’ll be placing an order.

Amano: Made in Orem, UT

 

50 States: Utah – Amano and Solstice

Because my parents are currently living in Utah, I wanted to cover that state for my 50 States collaboration with Trish. I’ve tried several of Durci’s bars, and I’ve tried Amano once, but I had never had Solstice before.

Utah has a nice handful of chocolate makers, and I’ve heard somewhere that because the air is dryer, it’s an ideal environment for making chocolate. I know that water causes chocolate to seize, but I can’t say I know if a humid state, such as Florida, would be considered the worse place to make chocolate. Otherwise, I know that Utahans love good food as much as everyone else, and they are lucky to have several local options to choose from for good chocolate!

Starting with the Amano bars, I like how both bars came in a plastic wrapper that ensured freshness. There was even a clear panel on the back so you get a preview of what you’re about to enjoy.

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The raspberry rose bar had a story on the back of the packaging mentioning that Art had visited a pastry shop in Paris by Pierre Hermé and bought $70-worth of pastries to take back to his hotel room. I’m taking a moment to pause here… when I go to Paul’s Bakery or any type of French-style bakery, I usually end up “accidentally” walking out with a box of pastries. $70 is a LOT more than how much I spend! Anyway, when he tasted Pierre Hermé’s raspberry rose cheesecake, he was so impressed by its flavor that he wanted to make a chocolate bar that paid homage to that cheesecake experience. His goal is that his chocolates would impress his consumers that same way.

Also according to the packaging, this bar uses Ecuadorian cacao and contains raspberries, rose petals, whole vanilla beans and rose extract.

I could smell a chocolatey, raspberry and a very light floral scent (obviously from the rose). My taste buds were immediately hit with the sweetness and fruity raspberry flavor. The rose flavor developed more as my bite melted, though it was a light rose flavor. Raspberry remained as the dominant flavor throughout my bite with rose in the background. There were crunchy bits inside of the chocolate that gave a nice, light texture to the bar. This was a very pleasant chocolate and perfect for spring! I would definitely want to get this bar again! The raspberry flavor was so delicious, like eating a danish with berry jelly filling on top. With my second bite, the rose was more obvious toward the end but still not strong enough to match the raspberry flavor. I could not taste the vanilla at all despite there being whole vanilla beans present.

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On the back of the Macorís – Dominican Republic package, Art tells another story. This time he’s at a cocoa plantation and he admires the beauty of the trees, hears the chirping of the birds and feels at peace. He compares the beauty of the experience to the Garden of Eden. He wanted to some day make chocolate using the cacao from that plantation and his dream came true seven years later.

The tasting notes were listed as molasses, brown sugar, cream, nuts and dried apricot. This smelled like dried apricots and brown sugar. The scent was deep and rich. I took some time to enjoy the aroma. The flavor of apricots, molasses and brown sugar filled my mouth at first. Halfway through my bite the cream and nutty flavors were subtle. The nutty and cream flavors lingered in the aftertaste. Such a delicious bar! I had a couple of coworkers try this bar too. One of them only tasted apricots while the other only tasted nuttiness. This bar also contained whole vanilla beans, but I did not taste the vanilla.

Both bars definitely provided rich experiences in scent and flavor. I’ll be trying more Amano in the future!

Amano: Made in Orem, UT

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This is my first time trying Solstice, and I’m super excited! I had seen them on Instagram and at The Chocolate House in D.C., but I had yet to pick up a bar for myself.

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I liked how the bags that hold the Solstice chocolate is a roll-down-and-pin-closed style. It’s like when you buy bags of coffee and there’s that flexible plastic clip already attached to the bag for you. I wish more chocolate makers would have resealable packaging so the chocolate remains fresh.

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70% Blend – Wasatch

The chocolate maker, Durci, is based around the Wasatch mountain range near Salt Lake City. I remember for Mother’s Day ordering a package of their chocolate to be delivered to my parents’ home. For this upcoming Mother’s Day, I’ll have to order some Solstice for my mom! According to the packaging, Solstice also calls the beautiful Wasatch mountains their home and the bar gets it name from them.

The description on the back of the packaging says that the chocolate is “both mild and exciting with an essence of cream and subtle, sweet spice.” The bar only contains cacao, cane sugar and cocoa butter.

The chocolate had a faint spicy smell that reminded me of Undone Chocolate’s cinnamon, cardamom and chili bar. Immediately my taste buds detected that light spice, but just like the description on the packaging, it was subtle. My boyfriend tried this bar and said it tasted lighter in flavor to him. I really liked this bar! Throughout my bite I just tasted that subtle spiciness. A coworker who doesn’t like dark chocolate hesitantly tried this bar but enjoyed it!

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70% Camino Verde – Ecuador

The back of the package explains that Camino Verde is a farm in the southern part of Ecuador. The chocolate has tasting notes of brown sugar, caramel, banana and cream. I could smell some fruitiness (banana), hints of caramel and sweetness of brown sugar. My mouth was filled with a mixture of banana, caramel and brown sugar. There was a touch of astringency to the chocolate and the banana flavor grew in strength as my bite melted. The caramel and brown sugar flavors were subtle. The brown sugar flavor was more obvious at the end. I need to have one of my friends try this bar because he almost always tastes banana in dark chocolate made with cacao from South America.

I also enjoyed both of the Solstice bars! With the exception of The Conspiracy Chocolate, I have liked all the other chocolate makers based out of Utah!

Solstice: Made in Salt Lake City, UT

Other chocolate makers in Utah:

Coleman & Davis Artisan Chocolate
Durci
Jerjobo Chocolate
Mezzo Chocolate
Millcreek Cacao
Ritual
The Chocolate Conspiracy

Don’t forget to check out which state Trish will be covering next at Eating the Chocolate Alphabet!

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.

 

 

Dick Taylor, Nathan Miller, Amano, and Durci

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During my last visit to J. Chocolatier’s shop, I was able to grab up a couple of bars I had yet to try and had wanted to for a long time! I’ve covered J. Chocolatier’s Cherry Blossom bar and Potomac Chocolate’s Peru 70% bar seen in the above picture in earlier posts.

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I had been hearing about Dick Taylor from practically every chocolate lover and I felt like the only person who had not tried any of their bars before. I was so excited to see that J. Chocolatier carried some of their bars! (The Chocolate House in Washington, D.C., does as well) If you want to learn more about Dick Taylor, aside from their website, I recommend reading Chocolate Noise’s article about their fascinating story.

Their bar smelled of maple and coconut. It gave a warm, wrapped up feeling. When eating it, I tasted the maple first followed by the chocolate and coconut. The chocolate had a slightly fruity flavor to it (maybe that was partially due to the coconut) and bright citrusy or acidic notes to it, but the texture was otherwise smooth. The texture of the chewy coconut was very nice and had a flavor of “toastiness” to it.  I really, really liked this bar! I would definitely like to get it again! I might even call this a comfort food chocolate bar.

Dick Taylor: Made in Eureka, CA

www.dicktaylorchocolate.com

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I picked Nathan Miller’s gingerbread bar because it struck me as the most unique (gingerbread flavors in the summertime!) out of all the other bars, though the designs on all of their wrappers are pleasing to the eye. The only small downside with this chocolate was that there were “fluffies” from the orange outer wrapper stuck onto the chocolate itself, so I had to be careful when eating it.

The chocolate smelled of the gingerbread spices and just overall sweet. I immediately got crunchy bits of gingerbread flavoring in my first bite and saltiness from the Himalayan salt and possibly the butter. As I chewed on the chocolate, the butter flavor became more apparent as it mingled with the spices. The aftertaste was also of spice and butter. This chocolate was sweeter than expected, but I really enjoyed the texture!

Nathan Miller: Made in Chambersburg, PA

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Jane pointed this bar out to me as one of her favorites, so of course I had to try them out! I’ve also been seeing Amano mentioned pretty often lately on social media.

First of all, I really like the detail of every piece of chocolate having the Amano stamp. Like the Dick Taylor bar, the small details make this bar nice to look at! The chocolate smelled floral. My taste buds were whacked with the flavors of lavender and blueberry with orange lingering in the background. My friends described it as “perfume-y” and claimed it was their favorite bar out of the bunch! One of them said it reminded them of Ethiopian coffee, just in chocolate form. I can see why it’s pretty addictive. The lavender is soft and not overpowering while the other flavors didn’t attempt to overpower each other. I ended up leaving some of the bar behind for one of my friends so they could enjoy the chocolate longer 😉

Amano: Made in Orem, UT

www.amanochocolate.com

When I brought this bar to the counter to purchase my chocolates, Jane said that Durci wasn’t getting enough attention at her shop. I hadn’t tried Durci at that point, so I wasn’t quite sure why either. Was it maybe the packaging that looks out of this world? (Sorry for the pun :D) I actually really liked the design and colors used for this bar. It’s actually what grabbed my attention. When I unwrapped the bar, I thought at first that this would be like a single serving bar seeing how smooth the surface looked. I considered chomping into it before sharing with the others… then I noticed what looked like faint break points on the back. Sharing is caring, so…

The bar had a dark chocolatey, fruity and sweet scent. The packaging said the chocolate contained tamarind. I don’t know what that tastes like, but I definitely detected citrusy and caramel notes, especially toward the end and in the aftertaste of my bite. My friends thought it was subtle, but I actually liked it for that reason. I found myself going back to the bar throughout the following week until it was finished!

Durci: Made in Lindon, UT

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Millcreek Cacao Roasters

I had not heard of Millcreek Cacao Roasters until my sister, while visiting my parents, sent me a photo of what chocolate options were available at a nearby store. First of all, I was amazed and admittedly jealous that my parents had such a great craft chocolate selection available not far from their home. Second, my eyes landed on packaging that I was not familiar with, which was Millcreek. My mom was surprised that I hadn’t tried them before and was kind to ship a couple of bar my way.

I know there are several chocolate makers based out of Utah, such as Solstice, Ritual and Amano, but Millcreek somehow flew under the radar when I last Google searched for chocolate makers in that state. And yet the address on the back of the packaging reads Salt Lake City as their location! Google needs some updating or something so more people can find Millcreek.

The packaging is simple yet elegant as the bar slides out of the bar. A sheet inside explains that Millcreek sources their Arriba Nacional beans from from a farm called Hacienda Limon in Ecuador. The cacao can have caramel and fruity flavor notes.

I’m excited to try any berry + chocolate combination in bar form, so I’m trying the blackberry one first. The description for this bar on Millcreek’s website says it’s “warmly sweet and slightly tart”. The chocolate smelled very sweet, almost like a syrup. The flavor was a strong berry flavor but I was reminded me of grape flavored Jolly Ranchers. As my bite melted, though, the chocolate tasted more roasted and the berry flavor subsided to something like cough syrup. This bar was a bit too sweet for my tastes and I can’t say I’m fond of my chocolate reminding me of medicine, especially as I’m getting over a cold at the time of my writing this.

This bar had the strong scent of mint. Like the blackberry bar, the flavor of mint was quite strong in flavor and it reminded me of mint gum. The description for this bar on Millcreek’s site says “refreshing and pungent”. I wouldn’t say it’s refreshing, but it is definitely pungent. My fiancé tried these bars with me too and wondered if the overpowering flavors could be masking something. I’m curious as well. Or maybe simply a lot of flavoring was infused into the cacao beans or whatever process Millcreek uses to infuse flavors into their chocolate.

I can’t say I’m a fan of both these bars. Sorry, Millcreek! Maybe I’ll be able to give them a second chance, but for now my chocolate stash is currently quite large due to receiving a lot of chocolate for Christmas. I have a lot of catching up to do!

Millcreek Cacao Roasters: Made in Salt Lake City, UT

What’s on my wall?

A while ago I posted on Instagram a picture of chocolate wrappers/boxes I had framed and hung on my wall. Several people asked me why I hung up the bars that I did, and that’s a very good question! Today I’m giving you a close up and my thoughts behind each picture frame.

Several of these bars I like because of personal experiences and you’ll get to know me more because several of these bars brought out memories. Not all of these bars blew me away with their flavor. I’ll give more details when I get to such bars. Remember, if everyone were to make their own chocolate wall, they would all be completely different because everyone has their own stories and experiences. The book “Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love” by Simran Sethi helped me understand that how we experience various foods is different based upon our personal stories and background.

We’re starting off with Beau Cacao’s 72% Serian Malaysia bar! What immediately attracted me was their appearance and eye for detail. Every inch of this bar, packaging and mold, screamed luxury and beauty. And it’s affordable at 8 British Pounds! If your friends aren’t blown away by other craft chocolate that you’ve been introducing them to, you can at least grab their attention with this bad boy. The reason why this bar is on my wall is for their unique appearance as well as the unique and exciting flavor combination. If you want to read more on my thoughts about this bar, go my post about Beau Cacao here.

One of my first coffee + chocolate bars by a craft chocolate maker was this Mocha bar by Hello Cocoa. I remember meeting one of the chocolate makers at the first D.C. Chocolate Festival and the guy was all smiles and so friendly. Since then, Hello Cocoa has generously allowed me to try all of their bars and I still hope to one day try their bonbons and truffles. This mocha bar has stayed on my mind even though I’ve tried it more than once and it showed me that I really like coffee/mocha in chocolate. If you want to read my previous posts on Hello Cocoa, go here.

The main reason why I’m partial to Glenmade is because they are based out of New Jersey, my home state where I was born and raised. They’re even based out of Hoboken, where I dreamed as a child I would one day live and work because I was attracted to the city life but understood NYC was crazy expensive (now I live in the metropolitan area of D.C.). As much flack as people give New Jersey, where I grew up played a large part of who I am today. I grew up in the western part of the state where there was a corn field behind my house and chickens running around in the backyard. I also really enjoyed the blackberry flavor I experienced with this Glenmade bar. You can read more of my thoughts and experience on Glenmade in my previous post on them here.

I had never experienced blueberries in chocolate until I tried Brasstown’s blueberry bar. I immediately fell in love and I’ve had this bar at least three times now! Brasstown has since changed their packaging, but I wish they had kept this old style. The texture of the box felt nice and the watercolor-looking picture of a blueberry bush reminded me of the countryside. My family used to grow blueberries when we lived in New Jersey. I wanted to preserve the old appearance of this bar. Gearharts and Kacau are the only other brands I’ve tried who have used blueberries in their chocolate, but none of them impressed me as much as Brasstown. If you want to read my first experience trying this bar, go here.

Upchurch is on my wall because they’re the only chocolate maker based out of Richmond, VA, the city of my alma mater. To be honest, I wasn’t in love with Richmond when I first started studying there. It took graduating, moving out of Virginia, revisiting Richmond multiple times and then learning that they had their own chocolate maker that helped me start to fall in love with it. Upchurch plans on changing their packaging, and even if the original wrapper was a quick design (learned through a conversation with Alex Brito), I like the simplicity of it. The parallel lines remind me of wallpaper in a southern home. If you want to learn more about the story behind Upchurch and my thoughts on their bars, check out my previous posts here.

Chocotenango is one of my local chocolate makers being one of the three based out of Washington, D.C. Ismael is friendly and approachable and I’ve enjoyed all of my conversations with him, whether in person or online. At the time of my writing this, I’ve been able to say hi to him at weekend farmer’s markets a few times where he has a table set up. Every time I speak with him, it’s more of my listening to him passionately talk about his craft and I love it! I always walk away feeling inspired and educated. I’m on a mission now to try all of his bars because I’ve enjoyed all of them! I was pleasantly surprised that my post on some of Ismael’s bonbons was helpful for a fellow chocoholic who couldn’t find much information on them otherwise. It’s so encouraging to hear my blog helping someone else! If you want to read more on Ismael and Chocotenango, check out my previous posts here.

Will Marx is so down to earth. I was impressed with how approachable and open he was to talk about anything chocolate related. He’s also been very generous to send me some of his silk cocoa butter so I could try my hand at retempering chocolate! Will informed me that the labeling on this package is not entirely correct, but don’t fret because I will replace this with another of his bars when I next make an order from him. Will has also made some interesting combinations, like when I got to try for the first time dried corn in chocolate. I’m definitely keeping an eye on Wm. Chocolate for new and exciting flavor combinations. You can read my previous posts on trying Will’s chocolate here.

Harper Macaw is another chocolate maker that is local to me and based out of Washington, D.C. Besides their mocha bar, this Amazon Rainforest bar is my favorite by them. I’ve enjoyed it at least three times and it was the first bar I tried that truly tasted like raisins to me. Any time I get the chance to purchase Harper Macaw, I throw this bar into my order. I have yet to take their factory tour and I really need to someday. If you want to learn more about other Harper Macaw bars that I’ve tried, check out my older posts here.

This bar is on my wall because I really like its texture. Thanks to Cacao Review, I later learned that the sugar in Amano bars is not ground down all the way, leaving nice larger chunks to crunch on. After my parents moved to Utah and I started learning about chocolate makers based out there, I was excited to try bars that were made local to my parents. Cacao Review is also based out of Utah 😉 My mom has generously shared a lot of her chocolate with her friends out there. Many of those friends also enjoyed the texture of this bar and didn’t even know that Amano was in their state. To read more about other Amano bars I’ve tried, go here.

My first exposure to Amedei was through Instagram. My first purchase of their Chuao bar was at the first D.C. Chocolate Festival and I remember feeling very little confidence approaching their table since at the time I was still getting my feet wet with trying craft chocolate and Time To Eat Chocolate was still relatively new. I didn’t know how to relate to chocolate makers. After experiencing an Amedei chocolate tasting at The Chocolate House, I gained some confidence in learning how to taste chocolate, confidence in learning more about how chocolate was made and I learned more about Amedei’s story. Though the Chuao bar has been one of the most expensive bars I’ve purchased, it still stands as one of my favorite brands because of their complex flavor stories. Their chocolate hazelnut spread is amazing too! Choosing only one Amedei bar to frame was hard, but I chose their white chocolate pistachio bar because I had this thought that white chocolate was not chocolate at all, until Marisol at The Chocolate House told me it technically is (made with cocoa butter). The flavor of this bar and Marisol’s tip helped forever change the way I see and experience white chocolate. I’m now a believer, at least of white chocolate by craft chocolate makers 😉 To see what other Amedei bars I’ve tried, go here.

I used to shy away from trying chocolate bars with chili or other strong spices in them because I didn’t really have a palate that could tolerate spice well. As I learned more about craft chocolate makers and trying their bars, I knew that I would have to eventually accept and be able to appreciate chili in chocolate. Cacao Prieto left a lasting impression because they were one of the very few subtle spicy bars that helped me get used to experiencing a burning sensation when eating chocolate. I also just really liked the flavor of this bar overall. To see more of my thoughts on this bar, check out my post here.

This Steelgrass bar is special to me not only because it’s grown and made in Hawaii, the only North American state where cacao can be grown, but because of the farm’s mission to help restore the natural beauty and plant life of their land before they experienced damage from WWII. In a ways it feels like a long time and very little time has passed since that war ended, and to see it come up again and learn how it has left a lasting effect on the Hawaiian islands opened my eyes to see the harm that war literally takes on land. I think it’s amazing that Steelgrass is attempting to restore the biodiversity of their island, Kauai, and to educate and encourage locals to help them with their mission. To see more of my thoughts on this bar, go here.

Durci caught my attention through their packaging. I’ve always enjoyed space-related images and this packaging fed that interest. I remember picking up this Taino 70% bar at Jane’s J. Chocolatier shop. She said not many people were purchasing the Durci bars she had on display and thought it was a shame. If Jane liked Durci, then I needed to try them! Sure enough, I also liked this bar and it is my top favorite Durci bar out of the six I’ve tried. To see more of my thoughts and why I like specifically the Taino bar, go here!

When Jane of J. Chocolatier had her shop in Georgetown, D.C., I used to stop by very often. Like, every weekend if not throughout the week. If I wasn’t getting her truffles, I was trying out the Francois Pralus bars she had on display. Unfortunately all of those bars I tried long before I started recording what brands and bars I had tasted, but this Chuao bar I didn’t recall seeing at J. Chocolatier. The square packaging was different from the rectangular shape of the other Pralus bars. To be honest, I wasn’t head over heels for the flavor of this bar.

This bar is on my wall because it reminds of the days when I would visit Georgetown and therefore J. Chocolatier often after work. J. Chocolatier was the first chocolate shop I had ever gone to that made their own confections. Before that, I had only ever been to For the Love of Chocolate where they sell a variety of chocolate products but don’t create any. The fact that J. Chocolatier was in Georgetown, an area filled with shopping and restaurants, and in a city, I experienced that feeling of, “Wow, I’m finally doing this!” kind of moment. It felt fancy and I had never been able to experience a feeling like that growing up in New Jersey or while attending college in Richmond. Since then, J. Chocolatier has moved out of Georgetown and she’s set up a pop-up shop near the East Market metro station. For my thoughts on the Francois Pralus bars I’ve tried, go here.

Remember back at the Amedei white chocolate + pistachio bar I said I used to not like white chocolate at all until that bar changed my life and perception of white chocolate? This Fruition strawberries and cream did the same thing. It was SO delicious that I ate all of it within an hour and had a very hard time sharing any of it with my boyfriend. This bar has remained in my memory and… you know what, it’s still in stock on Fruition’s website. I might just order a second bar. You also can read why this bar has stuck with me here.

Potomac Chocolate is another local chocolate maker to me, and even though Ben Rasmussen is planning on changing his packaging, I always enjoyed the minimal, clean appearance of his packaging and straightforward mold. The first bar I tried by him was the coconut one followed by the San Martin, Peru. I recently tried his sourdough bread and spice blend bars, which were also very good! I always enjoy supporting my local chocolate makers and I wish Ben the best as his business continues to grow. To see what other bars I’ve tried by Potomac Chocolate, go here.

Undone is another chocolate maker that is local to me and based out of Washington, D.C. Since I currently work in a research lab, I was really happy to learn that Adam came from a scientific background before diving into his own chocolate business. What makes this bar special to me was that I didn’t like chili or any hot spices in chocolate for a long time. As I mentioned for the Cacao Prieto Domincan Spice bar, I used to not enjoy spicy chocolate and this Undone bar was spicier than Dominican Spice. But this bar slowly grew on me and I’ve now bought it several times. I think because of the cinnamon and cardamom to add sweetness and other layers of spiciness, I started to learn to appreciate the slow burn of chili. I’m now more likely to try dark chocolate with various spices because of Undone. If you want to see what other Undone bars I’ve tried (and my favorite Bolivian Amazon that’s now discontinued 🙁 ), go here.

Ritual’s Novo Coffee was another one of the first coffee + chocolate bars I had tried. Why is it on my wall? Simply because I like the minimalist depiction of tree and mountains. Also for some reason this bar has also just stuck with me as a bar I need to try again. I remember I wasn’t absolutely in love with it, but I want to give it a second chance now that my taste buds have had more time to mature. Seeing this on my wall reminds me that I need to try more Ritual bars at some point. To see what I originally thought about the Novo Coffee bar, go here.

Why is Amedei on my wall twice? Because I like them so much! I’ve definitely had their Toscano Red bar, like, probably five times or more. I think I’ve lost count! 🙂 It’s addictive, delicious and one of my favorite combinations is berries in chocolate. I think out of every craft chocolate bar I’ve tried, this one is the most I’ve eaten. The packaging is also pretty, which doesn’t hurt. Seriously, you need to try this bar if you haven’t! To see why I rave over this bar, you can read my thoughts on it here.

When I first started my journey into trying craft chocolate, I kept seeing Dick Taylor all over Instagram. I had a hard time finding them sold in stores local to me, so I broke down and eventually made one of my first chocolate online orders around Christmas-time. I was curious about the maple and coconut combination. This was unique to me at the time, and I’m glad I tried it! I have purchased this bar least a couple of times now and I’ve enjoyed every bite. I was also intrigued by the story of the owners having been involved in the boat building business before making chocolate. I love it when I see chocolate makers allow previous career influences to be reflected in their bars or packaging. This is similar to Maverick, which is coming up soon. To see my thoughts on my this bar, go here.

Just like Amedei’s white chocolate + pistachio and Fruition’s strawberries and cream bars, La Naya’s white chocolate + pistachio + cocoa nibs bar also changed the way I had originally felt about white chocolate. This bar had something of a browned butter flavor to it that was addictive. One of my coworkers actually introduced me to La Naya through this bar when they purchased it during the second Washington D.C. Chocolate Festival (which I wasn’t able to attend). This bar left such a positive impression that I had to try the rest of the La Naya bars! La Naya was generous to share some of their products with me, which you can read about here.

These last three bars are hanging on another wall and I couldn’t fit them into my original photo at the very top of this post. The lighting was hitting the frames in a way that would cause a lot of glare (I was using natural light), so I had to take photos at an angle.

You know how I was mentioning that I love how chocolate makers allow other influences to be reflected in their chocolate or packaging? One of the Maverick chocolate maker’s background in aviation engineering is shown here and you can’t help but admire the vintage depictions of flight on each bar. The chocolate itself was also delicious. I actually recently revisited Bluprint Chocolatier where I first saw and purchased Maverick and I tried to convince my friends with me to try them as well 🙂 To see my thoughts on this bar (it didn’t last long in my hands), go here.

I actually wanted to frame Solstice’s Wasatch bar because I fell in love with it, but that wrapper got destroyed after I shared it with others 🙁 I had to use the Ecuador wrapper in its place. I’m planning on getting Wasatch again at some point in the future, though! I sent Solstice bars to my mother for Mother’s Day, and she also liked the Wasatch bar the most. Solstice was one of the first chocolate makers I tried who uses resealable wrappers and I really appreciated being able to ensure my chocolate stayed fresh in between bites. Potomac Chocolate is currently planning to make a change for resealable packaging and I fully support that effort! To see my thoughts on both the Wasatch and Ecuador bars, go here.

We end my wall tour with Akesson’s, which I couldn’t ignore. This bar I really liked and I remember I had a hard time sharing it. Yes, I could choose to keep a whole bar to myself, but I find more joy in sharing what makes me happy with others. After trying the 75% Criollo, I remember trying the 100% after hearing good reviews of it. My taste buds weren’t ready for 100% that day, but eventually I will revisit it and I hope I will appreciate it more! I recently picked up a completely different Akesson’s bar that I’ll be trying soon 😉 To see why I liked the 75% Criollo, you can read my thoughts here.

And that’s it! If you’ve made it to this point, you have my gratitude for enduring the length of this tour 🙂 Maybe you agree with some of the bars I hung up and maybe you don’t, but you can always make your own wall of bars and I would absolutely love to see what it looks like! I think a wall like this helps reflect personal tastes and stories that would otherwise not be shared.

 

 

Chocolate Makers From The 50 States

“50 States” was about trying one or two chocolate makers from (almost) all 50 Northern American states. Why? Because no one else has done it before! This was also the perfect excuse to try other bars and chocolate makers I hadn’t had before 🙂

When people think about chocolate, usually European chocolate comes to mind. But North America is the home of many, many chocolate makers, and that number keeps growing every year! Why not feature a handful of some the well known and lesser known chocolate makers per state?

Fellow chocolate blogger and chocolate lover, Trish, who writes the blog Eating The Chocolate Alphabet, joined me on the journey of trying chocolate bars from as many chocolate makers as we could per state. Not every state contained a chocolate maker, but hopefully one day that will change. Any state that doesn’t have a chocolate maker will be clearly listed as such, otherwise click on any state to see which chocolate maker we featured!

Feel free to leave a comment below if you know of other chocolate makers we might not yet know about!

Alabama – needs a chocolate maker!

Alaska – needs a chocolate maker!

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut – needs a chocolate maker!

Delaware

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho – needs a chocolate maker!

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa – needs a chocolate maker!

Kansas – needs a chocolate maker!

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine – needs a chocolate maker!

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi – needs a chocolate maker!

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York (as well as this one)

North Carolina

North Dakota – needs a chocolate maker!

Ohio

Oklahoma – needs a chocolate maker!

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island – needs a chocolate maker!

South Carolina

South Dakota – needs a chocolate maker!

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

Washington, D.C.

West Virginia – needs a chocolate maker!

Wisconsin

Wyoming – needs a chocolate maker!

50 States: Pennsylvania – Nathan Miller

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These Nathan Miller bars are courtesy of my sister who managed to raise eyebrows at the checkout counter when she bought these chocolate bars for me 🙂

Nathan Miller seemed to always have a fascination with food and mixing various ingredients, like creating the perfect chocolate sauce. It wasn’t until he was in high school that he decided his heart was set on food. After attending culinary school, he traveled and worked as a pastry chef in Germany, New York and Colorado. His pastry background led him to chocolate, and from there he decided to start his own chocolate company in 2010. In 2013, he relocated to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania where he now has his own bakery and café.

The wrappers are made of paper and are soft to the touch. They seem to “fluff” and fall apart easily, though. This hasn’t been the first time that I’ve found fluff stuck to the chocolate itself. The designs on the wrappers are simple and easy on the eyes.

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Dark Mint Bar

I could definitely smell and taste the mint in this bar. The nibs gave a nice crunch and texture. The chocolate itself was a little earthy in flavor, but subtle.

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Fluff stuck onto the chocolate.

Buttermilk

Just as its name suggests, the chocolate had a buttery scent and subtle, butter-like and lightly salted flavor. The chocolate itself was creamy with a touch of earthiness.

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Pretzel and Cherry

I first tasted pretzel and salt. It wasn’t until my bite halfway melted that I was able to taste the cherry. I think this was the first time I’ve tasted salt mixed with fruity flavors, but the combination was delicious and pleasant. The bar had light crunchy texture from the pretzels. There weren’t too many pretzels or too much salt, which was nice compared to other pretzel bars I’ve had before.

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Rum and Raisin

The rum scent was definitely noticeable and I was able to taste both the rum and raisin flavors. Since I don’t like rum, I’m glad this was a buttermilk bar because if it were a dark chocolate bar, I don’t think I’d be able to tolerate this.

 

My favorite out of the four bars was the Pretzel and Cherry bar because it feeds that part of my appetite when I’m craving a creamier chocolate and I always love fruity bits in my chocolate as well. It was nice to try a different combination of salt + fruit as well. I’ll be polishing that bar off first 😉

Nathan Miller: Made in Chambersburg, PA

 

The Chocolate Conspiracy

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My mom mailed me this bar when she found it while grocery shopping. Usually I hear about various chocolate makers, chocolatiers and shops through Instagram, but The Chocolate Conspiracy I had never heard of. They’re local to Utah, so it made sense that my mom was able to find it while she was running errands.

I like reading stories about why a specific chocolate brand or company was created, but there isn’t much on The Chocolate Conspiracy’s website. In it nutshell, it mentions that the guy who started the company studied nutrition and had an interest in the health benefits of cacao. They mention the “exceptional quality and standards” of their process for preparing cacao, but they don’t go into detail about what separates them from the rest of the chocolate makers out there. They do specify that the cacao strain they use is the Forastero variety, but otherwise the rest of the About Us section is a list of health benefits of cacao. This section of the website will be beneficial for people who are skeptical about whether chocolate can be healthy, but for chocoholics like myself, we don’t need a list of reasons to consume more chocolate.

The back of the bar mentions that the cacao for this bar came from Peru. Honey was added to the bar for sweetness (instead of sugar), peppermint oil was used for the minty flavor and cacao nibs for a crunchy texture. I could smell the mint and sweetness of honey. I tasted mint first followed by a bright citrusy flavor from the chocolate itself and the undercurrent flavor of honey. The description online for this bar mentions that the cacao nibs are “Arriba Nacional” variety from Ecuador and they are supposed to lend some nutty flavors to the chocolate. I didn’t taste any nuttiness, but the texture was pleasantly crunchy. The chocolate became astringent for me toward the end and I was left with a minty and astringent aftertaste.

Facebook reviews for The Chocolate Conspiracy were claiming that it’s the best chocolate in Salt Lake City and I’m like, “Woah! Hang on!” What about the other parts of Utah where you have Durci, Amano, Ritual and Solstice? How could you miss those guys?! My mom told me before that her friends in Utah weren’t aware of the chocolate makers they have in Utah. I hope this changes because it would be a shame if the rest of the country knows and raves about their chocolate but the locals don’t appreciate it as much as we do. I can’t say I was blown away by The Chocolate Conspiracy because I’d rather reach for a Durci, Ritual or Amano bar.

The Chocolate Conspiracy: Made in Salt Lake City, UT

Chocolate Brands I’ve Tried

Since my blog has been a personal log of what chocolates I’ve tried, many times while I’m writing a post I’ll look back to Time To Eat Chocolate myself to recall if I’ve tried a specific chocolate brand or company before. The search tool has been very helpful, but I figured it’s time to keep an updated list on what brands I’ve tried. Looking over this list, I’ve tried a huge range of grocery store to craft chocolate. I’ve noticed my style of writing and my taste buds have changed since my first post. I’m looking forward to seeing how this blog and my palate develop over time 🙂

Akesson’s

Alter Eco

Amano

Amedei

Antidote

Baci

Beau Cacao

Bixby

Blue Bandana/Lake Champlain

Bluprint Chocolatier

Brasstown

Brookside

Burke Mountain Confections

Butlers

Cacao Prieto

Canada True

Cao Artisan Chocolate

Castronovo

Cavalier

Cellar Door

Charm School Chocolate

Christopher Elbow

Chocolate Alchemist

Chocolate Con Amor

Chocolate Fusion

Chocolove

Chocotenango

Chouquette

Chuao

Cocoa Vienna

Coco Sala

Commonwealth Joe

Cote D’Or

Cultura

Dandelion

Double Premium Confections

Dagoba

Damak

Dancing Lion

De Ruijter

Dick Taylor

Dilettante

Divine

Dolfin

Dove

Droste

Durci

Dylan’s Candy Bar

El Ceibo

Endangered Species

Enna Chocolate

Equal Exchange Chocolates

Fine & Raw

Francois Pralus

French Broad

Fruition

Gearhart’s

Ghyslain

Glennmade

Godiva

Good Health Cocoa

Green & Black’s

Guittard

Hammond’s

Harper Macaw

Harry and David

Hawaiian Chocolate

Hello Cocoa

Heritage Chocolates

Hotel Chocolat

Hu

Icelandic Chocolate

Ikea Brand Chocolate

Jacques Torres

J. Chocolatier

Jcoco

John & Kira’s

Justin’s Organic

Kacau

KYYA

Kakawa Chocolate House

Karam Bitter

Kinder

Lake Champlain

La Naya

Letterpress

Lily’s

Madecasse

Madre

Manoa

Map

Marou

Mars Bar

Mast Brothers

Maverick

Max Brenner

Meiji

Merci

Michel Cluizel

Milka

Moonstruck

My Chocolate Shoppe

Nathan Miller

Neuhaus

NibMor

Ocho

Olive & Sinclair

Omnom

Ovation (chocolate orange)

Pacari

Parliament

Pascha

Patric

Perugina

Potomac Chocolate

Prestat

Raaka

Ranger

Ritter Sport

Ritual

Rococo

Royal Chocolates

Salazon

Sanders

Scharffen Berger

Schogetten

Schwarze Herren

Shameless Chef

Seattle Chocolates

Seed and Bean

Sirene

Solstice

Southern Artisan Chocolate

SPAGnVOLA

SRSLY Chocolate

Steelgrass Farm

Steven Howard

Sucre

Taza

TCHO

The Chocolate Conspiracy

Theo

Toblerone

Twenty-Four Blackbirds

Undone

Upchurch

Vanini

Vavako

Videri

Violet Sky

Virginia Chocolate Company

Vivel

Vosges Haut Chocolat

Williams Bennett

Wm. Chocolate

York’s Chocolate Story

Yves Thuries

Zoe’s

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