Characterized by elegant fruit and floral notes, along with a strong chocolaty presence, this semisweet could definitely satisfy the bittersweet crowd. It’s an exceptional chocolate, balancing flavor and intensity, without imposing sweetness.
Alex Rast: 20-Jan-2006
An excellent organic blend, and another example of a curious paradox. Organic chocolate manufacturers always seem to do well in the semi-sweet category. What makes the good bittersweet, for most organic chocolate manufacturers, so elusive? Better not to obsess over it, however, and simply enjoy an excellent chocolate. This one will please anyone with sophisticated flavours yet minimal bitterness.
Unwrapping the bar isn’t supremely promising. Certainly what’s inside is on the darker side, not to mention having some moulding issues, so it would seem. Clear unevenness makes one wonder about manufacturing. The aroma, on the other hand, doesn’t convey the same misgivings. It’s strong and fruity, with a cherry brightness interestingly offset with an opposing coffee. Tobacco also makes an appearance periodically and the impression is of quite a good blend of bean and roast. Perhaps the only area one could fault it on is on being too typical, very much along similar lines with countless other organic chocolates.
The flavour is really fairly strong, given the percentage, and nicely characterised. All the familiar personalities from the aroma show up – cherry, coffee, tobacco, and in addition vanilla emerges more prominently along with a leather note reminiscent of Cluizel’s Chocolat Grand Lait Cacao Pur Ile de Java. That one is, of course, a milk chocolate, but still, the flavours have affinities. It’s nice that Dagoba has managed to retain enough strength that the bar doesn’t disappear into a mountain of sugar and at the same time flatten any bitterness, so that overall the effect is quite relaxing. It might be a stretch to claim there were anything revelatory or marvellous about this chocolate, but it’s fine enjoyable eating.
Texture is the genuine pleasant surprise – unlike most bars at this level which end up decidedly fudgy, this one is very smooth and creamy indeed, slightly pasty, in fact, as though it were of a higher percentage. Dagoba manages to achieve what virtually no other chocolatier has managed. It’d be nice to say the same thing about the flavour, although in all honesty that’s not the case. Nonetheless, flavour-wise it’s very worth trying and if you like your chocolate on the sweet side this is one of the best chocolates you can get. Very much a top-shelf organic chocolate.
Hans-Peter Rot: 14-Jan-2006
Something about these Dagoba bars just doesnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t impress visually. Perhaps itĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s the total lack of sheen or the jagged Dagoba logo inscribed onto each bar. Whatever it is, the color fares better, a light and pink shade, more delicate than the ruggedness expressed thus far and reflective of an equally Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“pinkĂ˘â‚¬Âť aroma. It emits delicacy at every turn–tangerines, mangoes, and jasmine, overshadowed by brown sugar make for a very feminine scent that can indeed be called a Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“perfume.Ă˘â‚¬Âť
Soft, brown, and fruity, the flavor is also very subtle and downplayed, with each note whispered at barely audible volumes, like a cozy afternoon spent in a teahouse. Honey leads mostly, a soft sweetness that pairs well with rose and cherry cordial, then later peaches, melon, and a hint of dried cherries towards the end, with perhaps a lingering herbal note once the chocolate is gone.
Although not groundbreaking itĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s a much more sophisticated and passable bar than New Moon, showing greater balance and linearity like a Cluizel bar in some ways but lacking in that refined quality to truly set it apart from its peers. No extremes come into play here, just a complexity level that may come off as excessive or disorganized due to the uniformity of its strength. Those seeking higher peaks and lower valleys, look elsewhere. Want a smooth ride? Jump aboard.