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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 🙂 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 🙂 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 🙂

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.

 

Wm. Chocolate – I finally try a bar made with cacao from India!

This is the third time I’m trying chocolate by Wm. Chocolate and I’m glad to say I’ve been a returning customer! Will has made some pretty unique products since I’ve started trying his chocolate, like his Papua New Guinea sweet corn and ancho chile bar, which is exciting if you have an adventurous palate. If you want to learn more about Will, you can read my Q&A with him here. Fellow chocoholic and blogger Estelle Tracey also held a Q&A with Will, which I definitely recommend and you can find that here.

Social media is a great source to see what’s going on in the world and it’s my way of learning about new chocolate products. One trend I’ve been seeing more often is cacao from India being used by chocolate makers. When Will released his 74% Anamalai bar, I placed an order and excitedly waited for it to arrive in the mail. Trish of Eating the Chocolate Alphabet also had this bar in her possession and we decided to have an across-country tasting. Made sure to head over to blog for her thoughts!

Will had a vision for a bar that would provide strong flavor notes that would unfold and develop while savored. Apparently it’s difficult for chocolate makers to find cacao that can provide this type of flavor story, but he found a Venezuelan varietal called Guasare that provided the experience he was looking for. As exciting as the flavors sounded, there was no way to obtain more of it, which led to him to trying multiple origins, suppliers and test batches before the decision to use cacao from the Anamalai farm.

In the summer of 2017 Will was able to get his hands on the first batch of cacao beans from Anamalai that reached the U.S. I recommend reading his 3 part blog post on how he managed to get his hands on it because the story provides a lot of insight into what chocolate makers have to go through to obtain, make and sell their chocolate. As a consumer, it’s opened my eyes to some of the many struggles our favorite chocolate makers experience.

The Anamalai farm in India experiences damage from elephants tromping through their land. Since the farm grows coconut trees, sits at the base of the Ghats mountain range and is situated within an animal preserve, the elephants will come down to the farm and help themselves to the palm fronds to whack mosquitoes around them. Cacao has been grown in India for 50 years, though most of the production goes toward Mondelez, which owns Cadbury. Though Cadbury products were originally brought from the U.K. to be distributed and sold in India, Cadbury realized the climate was ideal for growing cacao. They set up production and training programs in southern India for this purpose.

The owners of the Anamalai farm, Harish Manoj and Karthi Palaniswamy, are on a mission to increase the production of cacao in India because despite the country’s size, India represents only 0.3% of the world’s cacao production. They are focusing on improving their cultivation, harvest, and post harvest steps to increase their cacao production and take advantage of their micro-climate. You can read more on their story here.

The tasting notes for this bar are listed on Wm. Chocolate’s website as grape jelly, tahini, toasted peanut with tangy fruit notes that lead to a “deep, nutty finish.” I could definitely smell grape jelly and nuttiness, but also a scent that reminded me of sunflower seeds. The flavor was like a peanut butter sandwich, including what made me think of whole wheat bread, except with the tangy fruitiness mentioned in the flavor description. Halfway through my bite the tanginess dissipated and the flavor of a peanut butter sandwich with full strength whole wheat bread came back. The flavor brought memories back of when my mom made such sandwiches for me when I was in elementary school and I could remember the specific brand of whole wheat bread she used back then. The end and aftertaste of my bite was definitely nutty.

The cacao for this 80% Haiti, Kafupbo bar came through the Singing Rooster non-profit organization. It’s mission is to purchase directly from coffee and cacao farmers and support artists in Haiti so they can grow and one day hopefully become self-sustaining. Kafupbo is a cooperative in northern Haiti.

On Wm. Chocolate’s website, the flavor notes are listed as oolong tea, molasses, biscuit, “rich, herbal chocolate with layers of earth and spice.” The scent was totally like oolong tea, and earthy with a hint of spice. Immediately the flavor reminded me of oolong tea with it’s deep earthiness and there was that subtle spiciness in the background. The earthiness was really strong at first but as my taste buds got used to it, I was able to taste that molasses flavor. Toward the end of my bite the chocolate tasted what was like those biscuits you find in most grocery stores that have a slab of dark chocolate on them, but this chocolate would be better on those biscuits.

I’m impressed at how the flavor descriptions for both bars were on point! Very impressed! And on how the Anamalai bar brought up childhood memories. I honestly didn’t like the peanut butter sandwiches my mom made at the time because most kids in my class were eating white bread, but what was I thinking? My mom was ahead of the other local mothers using whole wheat bread for its health benefits. And now I get to savor a bar that reminds me of how that sandwich tasted. I’ve blown away by these bars and I’m super glad that I finally got to try a bar made with cacao from India. I’m excited to see what Will comes up with next!

Wm. Chocolate: Made in Madison, WI

Wm. Chocolate… With Corn!

When you think of inclusions in chocolate bars, what kind of food items do you think of? Maybe almonds, raspberries, sea salt, coffee or nibs?

Now think about what inclusions you’ve seen in bars that make you look twice at the label and think, “What?! That can go into chocolate?”

I used to be pretty conservative in my selection of inclusions in chocolate until I made a friend who loves “wild” chocolate combinations and my world was opened to craft chocolate showing me that the impossible is definitely possible.

I just had a double-take moment when I was thinking I wanted to try more of Will Marx’s chocolate (the found of Wm. Chocolate) and I saw that he had a bar with CORN in it! I couldn’t pass it up. How often do you see chocolate with corn in it? Never, until now.

This bar has not only corn, but ancho chile in it, so I’m really curious how this will taste. Will it remind me of texmex or Chipotle food? Since the last time I tried a couple of Will’s bars, I’ve noticed the packaging now has little interesting tidbits of information about the origin the cacao beans came from, which is really nice touch! This bar mentions that Papua New Guinea dries their cocoa by wood fire which gives a smoky flavor to the chocolate in the end.

The bar had a roasted, slightly smoky scent. I immediately tasted smokiness followed by a punch of spiciness from the chiles. What I appreciate is that the spiciness is definitely present, but it’s not overwhelming. It actually mellowed out further midway through my bite and the dried corn gave some crunchy texture. The appearance of the corn reminds of grilled corn on the cob. I was actually craving corn the other day, so this is actually perfect 🙂 The corn flavor was very mild in flavor and subtle compared to the smokiness of the chocolate. I’m pleasantly surprised by this bar! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I would recommend it for those with adventurous palates!

For those with a more conservative palate, I next tried Will’s Dominican Republic bar. The educational bit on the back mentions that Rizek Cacao, a family based business from Santo Domingo, works mostly in the Duarte province and oversee the growth, processing and exporting of cocoa from the farms they look after. The tasting notes listed on the packaging are truffle, cream and marshmallow. The bar smelled slightly earthy and definitely like truffle. As my bite melted, I tasted mellow berry flavors mingled with sweetness, earthiness and light astringency. Toward the end of my bite the astringency mellowed out and tasted like truffle. The bar make me think of the fall season, and how that’s coming upon us soon with its deep, rich flavor combo.

If you want to learn more about Wm. Chocolate, check out Estelle Tracy’s interview with Will and you can see my thoughts on the first bars I tried by Will.

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. 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.

 

Taylor Made Chocolate and Michel Cluizel 85%

Wouldn’t it be awesome to be a personal chocolate consultant? You could serve clients who love chocolate but aren’t in the know about various chocolate makers, so your job is to find them bars or chocolate products that fit their favorite flavor profile or to simply introduce them to something new. I love those few times when I’ve had family, friends or coworkers tell me that they want a certain flavor in their chocolate and I make it my personal mission to find them that special bar they may like. One example is when a prior coworker told me that they liked Hershey’s Cookies and Cream bar. In an effort to start guiding them in the direction of better chocolate, I gave them Milka’s Oreo bar to try, and they loved it!

Another example is when I became acquainted with a couple in Richmond and the wife said she couldn’t find a certain coconut milk dark chocolate bar anymore. She knew this bar used to be made in Hawaii but couldn’t remember the company that made it. The words “coconut milk” sounded familiar, and since I was in Richmond, I ran over to For the Love of Chocolate to find Raaka’s dark chocolate Coconut Milk bar. I was so happy when she said she liked it!

A more recent example was when we hosted my old coworkers for a game of chocolate roulette. One of the coworker’s wives joined us and said she liked dark chocolate. I asked her what kind of bars she preferred to buy for herself and if she knew what notes or flavors she liked in her dark chocolate. She said fruity, and I happened to have two Wm. Chocolate 68% Dark Belize bars, so I gave one of them to her. That same night she had already started eating it and said she liked it.

Being able to provide bars for chocolate lovers who aren’t familiar with craft chocolate makes my day! I’m still learning and will always be learning about what kind of chocolate bars and products are out there in the world because there are so, so many. What also makes my day is when I learn of a local chocolate maker that I had never heard of before. During my recent trip to For the Love of Chocolate in Richmond, I picked up these 85% Michel Cluizel and Taylor Made 67% Haitian Cacao bars for myself and I was happy to learn that Taylor Made is a local chocolate maker.

First, I’m sharing the 85% Michel Cluizel bar. Since Michel Cluizel has been kind to share their Brazil bars with me, I wanted to give back in trying another of their bars on my own. This one seemed to be a blend of 85% dark chocolate since no specific origin was stated on the packaging but most other Michel Cluizel bars are single origin. This bar smelled like cherries and cocoa powder. For me it had an initial strong cocoa flavor with a fudgy mouthfeel. As my bite melted the flavor turned a little tannic and a subtle cherry flavor developed toward the end. My husband said it was creamy with some coffee flavor. On the back of the packaging the flavor notes are listed as “roasted chestnut and slightly tangy grilled coffee beans”. For an 85% this bar didn’t taste bitter or over-roasted at all!

I learned about Tayor Made when I found several of their bars at For the Love of Chocolate. And guess what, they are based out of Virginia! In fact, they’re near Richmond. My sister sent me a video about them, which you can view here. What I love about their company mission is that they not only support Haitian farmers, but they are contributing to ending human trafficking in the Richmond area. Their story is about supporting the International Justice mission after learning that more slavery exists today than there was before, and fighting slavery by making and selling chocolate. The company’s overall message and goal is for freedom. You can learn more from their website but I hope I can visit in person someday to speak with Taylor himself.

This bar smelled fruity like raspberries to me. The chocolate tasted fruity and nutty, hen it tasted like raspberries and chocolaty. The aftertaste reminded me of grapes. I really liked this bar and I would definitely eat again! I’m so excited to hear about a small business creating a large force in the Richmond area, especially regarding human trafficking. I had no idea that Richmond was the capital of human trafficking, and since my husband and I plan on moving there in the future, this makes me want to become a regular customer and support Taylor Made’s mission.

I love stopping by For the Love of Chocolate and seeing what’s new in their inventory. I have never had the chance to speak to the owner of the shop, but I know what he looks like. The only encounter I had with him was when he said he samples so many bars to figure out which one to sell and what the people of Richmond might like. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to get the guy’s name and sit down with him for a Q&A.

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.

Tabal Chocolate

It is thanks to William Marx of Wm. Chocolate that I heard about Tabal Chocolate. William remembered that I LOVE matcha in chocolate and mentioned Tabal’s Teahouse Matcha bar to me. Tabal is a small batch chocolate maker that was started in 2012 by Dan Bieser. Their retail store was opened in April 2017 where they offer chocolate making and truffle making classes. According to their website their logo comes from the shape of the stones they use for grinding their cocoa.

I had already broken into the Teahouse Matcha bar a couple of days prior to writing this post, but also as I’m writing I’ve almost finished the whole bar! The scent of matcha is subtle from this bar but I can definitely taste the matcha. The back of the packaging describes it as being “sweet, creamy and energizing”. I think it’s accurate. There’s no bitterness at all. It’s rare to find a dark chocolate bar with matcha too since the majority of matcha chocolate bars use white chocolate as the base. (Though the front of the packaging says this bar contains 58% cocoa, there’s no mention of any milk powder being used in the ingredients list.)  Somehow Tabal has made this dark chocolate and matcha pairing work and it’s absolutely delicious!

The chai bar had a pleasant and very present chai scent. The description on the back of the bar says it has a “hint of spice” but boy am I getting a slap in the face! I don’t mind this since I love drinking chai lattes. The flavor of cinnamon was strong.

Though I liked both bars, I’m completely hooked on the matcha bar! It’s so bad that I keep thinking about it, which is amazing! When I’ve made more of a dent in my chocolate stash and when cooler weather rolls around again, I definitely plan on ordering another matcha bar or two. I recommend it if you are a fan of matcha!

Tabal Chocolate: Made in Milwaukee, MI

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.

Éclat Chocolate

I had to laugh when I read on the back of the packaging, “Let your adventurous side be seduced!” because once again, I am trying a chocolate bar with corn in it. When some of my friends and coworkers learned that I’ve tried a chocolate bar with corn in it (by Wm. Chocolate), they were disgusted, confused and then intrigued. Maybe as chocoholics with an explorative palate it’s more amusing to see people’s reactions than it should be, but let’s be positive and say we’re trying to expand people flavor boundaries.

I picked up this bar at The Chocolate House because seeing toasted corn as an inclusion definitely grabbed my attention. I admire Will’s boldness to put corn in his Papua New Guinea bar, and to see someone else trying that combination was exciting. Éclat Chocolate is not a chocolate maker but a chocolatier, and yes this bar does contain soy lecithin for those who abstain from it. Even though the chocolate is a blend and came from Belgium, the map on the inside of the packaging reveals that Christopher Curtin got his corn from Cuzco, Peru, so one of these items is single origin.

Why did Christopher put corn in their chocolate? The chocolatier enjoyed world travel and was inspired by those experiences to make this unique combination. This chocolate was described as being a “Destination Bar.”

The bar smelled very nutty. The crunchy texture of the corn reminded me of hard granola and the flavor was at first like popcorn minus salt and butter. Halfway through my bite, the combination of nutty chocolate with the corn and subtle raisin flavors was sweet and savory. Overall the texture and flavor was similar to breakfast granola bars, though toward the end the corn flavor was dominant.

The flavor experience with this bar was very interesting. It was as though it tasted like popcorn first, then a granola bar, then corn on a cob. It’s like my summer snacking in a nutshell!

Éclat Chocolate: Made in West Chester, Pennsylvania

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.

 

Attempting to temper chocolate for the first time…

We all know that the summer months means taking a risk when ordering or mailing chocolate in hopes that it miraculously survives and doesn’t melt at any point of its journey. So many factors can affect the the chocolate from the time it leaves the seller to when it arrives at the doorstep of the customer. Unfortunately this late spring and summer have resulted in at least three of my packages of chocolate suffering due to the heat and due to USPS not placing my package at the doorstep but rather in the mailbox, which becomes an oven and a poor place to keep the chocolate until I can retrieve it.

I asked on Instagram for input on whether there were ways to somehow resuscitate chocolate that had melted. I got responses to retemper the chocolate from two chocolatiers. But… I’m a blogger, not a chocolate maker nor a chocolatier and I wasn’t sure what I would need to perform such a task. What if I needed to invest in some kind of large equipment to do this? So I turned to William Marx of Wm. Chocolate, who has been very patient and knowledgeable whenever I’ve asked him my chocolate questions. He agreed that my chocolate would need to be retempered, but he mentioned a product I had never heard of before and never knew existed that I could easily use.

Silk.

What is silk? It’s tempered cocoa butter! What makes it different from untempered cocoa butter is its crystal structure. According to Chocolate Alchemy, the crystal structure is Type V, which is pure and aggressive. A quick Google search says Type V crystals are a form of cubic closest packed (ccp) (or cubic closed packed or cubic close packed) structures where the atoms are packed together as tightly as possible so there is very little space between them. For a visual of what a ccp structure looks like, go here.

Will was very generous in mailing me some of his own silk to try out for retempering bloomed bars! I followed the Chocolate Alchemist’s instructions and watched this video in preparation for what I had to do. I also had to order an infrared thermometer and chocolate molds ahead of time.

These were the items I used for retempering.

Pardon the not-so-neat handwriting. This was the equation and my calculations for determining how much of the silk to use.

Measuring out the silk. Even though I needed 0.7g of silk, apparently the scale I used isn’t the most sensitive. The smallest amount it could weigh was 1g, so… thank goodness silk is pretty forgiving material!

I melted the bloomed bar using a double boiler. I don’t have a melanger.

Using the infrared thermometer, I monitored the temperature of the melted chocolate and waited for it to get to around 94 degrees. Then I added the silk, waited 2 minutes, stirred it again, placed it into the mold and tapped out air bubbles.

I was advised to try putting the chocolate in the fridge for 25 minutes to let it set.

After 25 minutes, the chocolate was still a little soft and the chocolate hadn’t fully pulled away from the mold. So I let it sit for another 25 minutes while checking it a couple of times.

After the second set of 25 minutes, the chocolate had fully pulled away from the mold and the bar easily fell out. There was some marring on the face, however I now have more respect for chocolate makers that can somehow make their bars look shiny and perfect straight out of the mold.

So which bar did I retemper? My mom was very kind to mail me some Pump Street Bakery chocolate. The first shipment arrived fully melted and bloomed. The second shipment thankfully seems to have arrived intact. After retempering, the bar still had a “bready” scent to it. I was worried that it would have absorbed food odors while setting in my fridge. Right out of the fridge, the bar had a nice, sharp snap. Though after sitting at room temperature for a few minutes it became soft. I was able to taste the sea salt, milkiness and crunch on the rye bread bits. I’ll have to compare this experience to when I taste the un-retempered version of this Pump Street bar.

Though the process overall was simple and easy to perform, I did encounter some issues. Even though I have a picture above showing the chocolate reaching 94 degrees before I added the silk, the entire bowl of melted chocolate wasn’t actually 94 degrees. Depending on where I aimed the thermometer, I would get anywhere from 88 to 90 and then finally 94 degrees. It was definitely not consistent. I’m not sure if I needed to boost the heat for the water for my double boiler, but the Chocolate Alchemist was correct in that my chocolate was thicker in consistency when it came time for molding since it probably wasn’t fully at 91 degrees at that specific step.

I think I need a new scale to weigh out the silk. Despite taring the scale and measuring both with and without the small plate, the scale still only read 1g. When I attempted to remove some of the silk to obtain 0.7g, the scale actually started to read a higher weight. I may look into purchasing a new more accurate and sensitive scale for future tempering projects. Usually in the lab (my day job) we have plastic “boats” to weigh chemical powders in, and I don’t have such material in my kitchen, but I might try using parchment paper instead (which I’d also have to get).

I need to explore my options for setting the retempered chocolate. I don’t want it becoming soft after sitting in room temperature in case I wanted to store it in a cabinet and taste it later for the blog. Though Will had another bit of advice in that if tempering was not an option, he would melt down the bloomed bar and taste the melted chocolate. It’s not ideal for determining the original snap of the bar, but you could still technically detect the flavors of the chocolate.

I’m otherwise happy with my first attempt at retempering chocolate and I’m excited to give a try again! I might purposefully force some bars to bloom to practice on 🙂

A big thank you again to Will from Wm. Chocolate for providing the silk, for answering my questions and for being supportive in a blogger attempting to temper! He is based out of Madison, Wisconsin, and if you haven’t tried his chocolate before, I definitely recommend giving it a go. I’ve tried a couple of his bars before and hope to get my hands on more of them in the future when temperatures outside are cool again.

 

50 States: New Hampshire – Enna Chocolate

Enna Chocolate was named after it’s creator and owner, Enna Grazier. Her background was in anthropology and photography, but she always liked chocolate and she had a great interest in the flavor profiles and economy behind chocolate. I like how she says in this article that the flavor profiles in a bar can reveal the chocolate maker’s preference for how they roast their beans. Also that chocolate is like apples because in the grocery store you can find a variety of apples with a variety of flavors due to different seeds and trees the apples come from.

The cacao for this bar came from the municipality Wampusirpi in Honduras. This sounds very familiar… Oh yeah! Wm. Chocolate also made a bar with cacao from this area!

The wrapper looked like an envelope. A very nice look!

Instructions on how to savor chocolate included with the bar.

The bar smelled earthy and nutty. For the majority of my bite the bar tasted earthy, though midway some nutty notes developed along with a touch of astringency. Toward the end it tasted roasted. The texture was relatively smooth though a bit chalky. According to Enna’s website, the tasting notes are “toasted sweet biscuits, tobacco, milk, and a tantalizingly subtle tannin aftertaste.” I think the bloomed condition of the bar didn’t help.

I’m glad I finally tried a bar from a New Hampshire based chocolate maker! There don’t seem to be many chocolate makers in the New England part of the United States. Hopefully that number will change over time.

Enna Chocolate: Made in Exeter, New Hampshire

Don’t forget to head over to Eating the Chocolate Alphabet to see which state Trish will be covering next out of the 50 states!

Other chocolate makers in New Hampshire:

Dancing Lion
Source Chocolates
Vicuna

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.

50 States: Wisconsin – Wm Chocolate

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It’s great when you’re craving chocolate and have some bars to try out for the first time! I chose Wm Chocolate to represent Wisconsin because admittedly I was attracted to the minimalist-looking name. Even though I know most consumers are attracted to colorful packaging and fancy looking writing, I sometimes prefer the minimalist approach. I found out later that “Wm” stands for the initials of the chocolate maker, William Marx, who started making his own chocolate when he wasn’t satisfied with the chocolate he was finding and decided to make his own that would fit within his personal standards.

Thank you so much to Will for answering some questions about Wm Chocolate and for being patient with me as we went back and forth over email discussing making chocolate!

Why did you choose Madison as your base for Wm Chocolate?

Madison has been home for most of my life, and it’s where I was living when I fell in love with chocolate making. Most importantly, it’s where I have supportive people helping me get my business off the ground.

If your journey began looking for (and eventually making) chocolate that you would like to eat yourself, were you a huge fan of chocolate beforehand and what kind of chocolate products were you trying at the time that pushed you to start making your own chocolate?

The journey actually began with a total rejection of chocolate. About five years ago, when I was first living in my own place and doing all the cooking for myself, I did a ton of reading and thinking about our food system and nutrition–and I did a ton of kitchen experiments. I came out of those experiences with a strong belief in eating whole foods produced using traditional techniques. That meant I quit eating products with refined sugar and other refined additives, so pretty much everything on the chocolate shelf was out for me, and what was left usually wasn’t worth eating–like grocery-store 100% bars and cocoa powder. After a couple years, though, I needed to bring chocolate back into my life. That’s when I started experimenting with homemade concoctions made from cocoa butter, cocoa powder, and honey. They were okay but left something to be desired from a flavor and texture standpoint, so I decided to look deeper into processing chocolate myself, with the unrefined cane sugar I was using elsewhere in my kitchen.

How did you go about first learning how to make chocolate? Were there websites that you were able to turn to for help or other resources?

For the basic process, I owe a lot to Chocolate Alchemy’s website. Then and now, I don’t think there is a better resource out there for getting started. Most other books and resources describe large industrial versions of the process, which isn’t all that useful for small-batch production.

What were your biggest challenges when you first began making chocolate? Do you have any current challenges that you are working through?

I think I’m not alone in saying I had a lot of trouble with tempering at first. That and figuring out how to use unrefined cane sugar, which behaves a little differently than refined crystal sugar. These days the biggest challenge is space–I don’t have much, meaning I still work with very small equipment and put in a lot of manual labor.

What helps you determine what kind or origin of cacao you will be using to make your chocolate? Does your purchasing through Uncommon Cocoa or Chocolate Alchemy have any affect on your choice(s)?

I have some fundamental requirements for ethics and sustainability, and beyond that it’s largely about flavor. The great thing about working through either of those companies is I know they care about ethics and sustainability too, so the origin-selection process begins with making test batches of whatever they have and determining what is the best fit for the flavor categories I’m trying to fill. My general aim is to stock origins in the classic, fruity, and nutty broad flavor categories, plus an origin or two I just find really compelling. If I’m on the fence, I definitely favor origins that go above and beyond in terms of ethics and sustainability, and that bring geographical diversity to my lineup. That being said, one limiting factor from purchasing through these companies is that most of what they offer is from Central & South America.

Do you have any exciting news or upcoming events for Wm. Chocolate?

I have plans to expand my production space later this year. In the meantime, I’ll be doing lots of markets and events in the Madison area to continue introducing my city to craft chocolate.

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This bar looked really shiny and had a nice sharp snap when broken apart. The tasting notes are listed as blackberry, custard, and candied pineapple. The chocolate definitely had a fruity scent to it. I definitely tasted pineapple and what could remind me of custard as a secondary flavor along with some light berry notes. The chocolate melted evenly, slowly and was very smooth in texture. I really liked this bar!

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I could see the Hawaiian red sea salt on the back of this bar. The tasting notes are listed as malted milk, banana and caramel. It definitely had a malty, caramel, sweet and salty scent. With the salt side down, I tasted the salt first followed by malt flavoring, then caramel sweetness. Toward the end of my bite I was able to taste that banana flavor with the caramel. I liked that this bar didn’t have a strong malt flavor since I’m not a huge malt fan.

For both of these bars, neither of the flavors were too overwhelming or dominant throughout my bites, which provided nice flavor stories. I would get both of these bars again, but I do want to try other bars by Will since I imagine by the time I get around to making another order (when cooler weather returns), he might have completely different bars in stock. I’m very excited to see what flavors and types of bars Will makes next and I will definitely be shooting him some emails when I read up more on the science of chocolate!

Wm Chocolate: Made in Madison, WI

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

Other chocolate makers in Wisconsin:

Del Sol Chocolate
Omanehe Cocoa Bean Co.
Sjolinds Chocolate House
Tabal 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.

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