While I’m off filling my heart and soul with vegan food and friends at Vida Vegan Con, it feels right to leave you with a review of vegan chocolate (from Toronto, no less!).
I’ve mentioned Chocosol in passing a few times now, once when I showed you its owner making hot chocolate via a bicycle-powered blender, and again when I attended its three-hour chocolate workshop. I can’t describe the company’s ethos any better than the website does, so:
“ChocoSol is a learning community/social enterprise that uses artisanal dark chocolate as a symbolic product that incarnates the values that we make part of our art of living and dying with dignity. [It is made] using organic, forest garden, shade-grown cacao, sourced directly from indigenous communities in the Lacondon Jungle of Chiapas and the Oaxacan mountains of Southern Mexico. Our horizontal trade relationships go beyond the exchange of commodities and bring symbolic products, whose story is as important as the product itself. Our relationships are based on reciprocity, friendship, respect and mutual learning.”
Chocosol Hemp Gold
The first Chocosol bar I bought was the Hemp Gold, because if there’s anything I can’t resist, it’s chocolate with maple sugar. (You thought I was going to say something else, didn’t you?) The bar is made from cacao, hemp seeds, maple sugar, cacao butter, and sea salt, and boy, does the quality of the ingredients sing out.
The first bite was firm and slightly grainy (due to the cacao being stoneground), and the taste was astoundingly complex and lovely. Fruity but not sour, fruity like tropical fruits, like custard apple with a twang of pomegranate… toast, the crispy edges of pancakes, pancakes with melting ice cream and berries… why is it than I can’t taste maple syrup but I can taste pancakes? I can taste sitting at my friend’s kitchen table, age ten, rolling up freshly-made crepes drenched in maple syrup and eating them as quickly as we could because her mother was cooking more on the stove all the while. I can taste that memory hidden in the chocolate.
Chocosol Sinfully Raw Vanilla
It’s hard for me not to comment on my abhorrence for words like “sinful” (see also: “guilt”, i.e. “guilty pleasure”/”guilt-free”) being applied to food, because I do not and will not countenance moralistic values being applied to food or, more insidiously, the person eating said food. Oh hey, lookee here! I did comment on it!
With that out of the way, let’s again talk taste. (And aroma and texture.)
The texture was, like the Hemp Gold, firm and slightly grainy, with the aroma so strong in true vanilla bean headiness that I almost wanted to breathe it in without eating.
Ha! That’s not true; I definitely wanted to eat it. This chocolate is restrained in its sweetness, with the cacao notes speaking of lychees but also smokiness, ash, bourbon and whisky, all with the intense bitter crunch of cacao nibs. Goooood.