As hard as it is to tear myself away from sharing my travel adventures with you (and oh! I have such tales of bliss and deliciousness with my beloved Amber to write!), I also feel duty-bound to translate my extensive stash of chocolate tasting notes into blog reviews before I lose all memory of eating the chocolates.
And, well, I also want to get these reviews published so that I can justify buying every single item in the Christopher Elbow chocolate shop.
You understand, right?
Rrraw Grand Cru de Chocolat Cru
This little bar of handmade, hand-wrapped super-dark raw chocolate by the French company Rrraw came to me from my lovely American-in-Paris friend Camille (whom I haven’t seen in far, far too long, I might add).
Having previously tried predominately sad and tasteless versions of raw chocolate, I nevertheless opened Rrraw’s package with excitement. After all, we all know France is a mecca of fabulous sweet treats.
Comprised of pâte de cacao cru, sirop d’agave, beurre de cacao, fèves de cacao cru, sel (raw cacao paste, agave syrup, cacao butter, raw cacao nibs, and salt), Rrraw’s dark chocolate had a crisp snap and an intense, incredible aroma. I noted alcohol and malt, red wine, port, spices like cloves and cinnamon… already, this was shaping up to be one of the best raw chocolates I’d ever had.
The flavour definitely had the raw cacao notes that are hard to avoid in raw chocolate (that was one of the cleverest things I’ve said in a while, don’t you think?), and there was also a dryness to the texture not unlike an underripe banana. However, small quibbles aside, this 88% raw chocolate was quite wonderful. It wasn’t overly sweet, but I’d describe it as “punchy” rather than acrid or bitter, with a slight element of burnt coffee but no unpleasant sourness. Wood, smoke, lemon verbena, the crunch of cacao nibs and a little floral hint of salt… bravo, France. You win again.
Alter Eco Dark Chocolate Quinoa Midnight Crunch
Most certainly not a raw chocolate, Alter Eco’s Dark Chocolate Quinoa Midnight Crunch was sent to me by the lovely Carolyn. Made of cocoa mass, cane sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, and quinoa-rice crisps (quinoa, rice, sugar), all of which I believe are Fair-Trade and organic, this chocolate was dark-black and glossy, with a squillion (not really) little bumps of puffed quinoa on its underside.
Almost like it was wearing quinoa knickers, perhaps? No, probably not.
The aroma was like hot chocolate fudge sauce and hibiscus, malt and sawdust, and a little melted butter twang. I took a bite, and my first thought was of smooth silky richness, of chocolate flowing over my senses quickly, sweetly.
The quinoa (and rice) bubbles were remarkably crisp for having been hiding under a chocolate blanket, so well done to Alter Eco for that. Overall, this chocolate rang with the flavour of gooey brownies, sweet muscovado sugar, and crispy malt. Very easy to eat, and eat, and then suddenly look down and wonder where all the chocolate went.
P.S. As a special treat for those of you who bothered to read through this entire post… bonus Kansas City devilwoman photo!