Fresco – 217 (Chuao 70%)

Fresco – 217 (Chuao 70%)

Fresco makes small batches of dark chocolate, changing the formula between bars (the roast and conche levels are marked on the package)

Hoja Verde – Ecuador 72%

Hoja Verde – Ecuador 72%

Hoja Verde prides itself on its Fino Arriba cacao beans, grown on small plantations that focus on conservation, and on its locally-made organic chocolate, made for them by Ecuadorian private-label producer TuliCorp

Dandelion – Costa Rica

Not a common origin, and not from an established, well-known manufacturer, thus representing perhaps the ultimate in “experimental” chocolate. Here is a bar that presents very few indications about what to expect. On the positive side, this also means few preconceived notions, so this bar may provide a good unbiassed chocolate experience. For Dandelion, an ..

Dandelion – Madagascar

One of several offerings from another new micro-manufacturer in San Francisco. Dandelion appear to be making more of an effort than most, in terms of both conceptual design and careful experimentation before releasing any new chocolate. As a result, this bar comes with a level of anticipation; one may expect at least reasonable results. The ..

Chapon – Chuao

Chapon – Chuao

A Pralus made bar, sold in handy zip-seal packaging by Chapon under their own brand. Like many of the new bars of Chuao coming onto the market, Chapon describe Chuao as ‘criollo’. (See the Manufacturers information section below.) Chuao is not a criollo variety, it’s a location, a terroir, consisting of a blend of varieties. ..

Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé – Carenero Superior

A chocolate manufacturer from Hungary is sure to attract attention, if only for the novelty factor, and when they are using interesting beans such as the Carenero Superior, it’s all the more interesting. This must be one chocolate where it is virtually impossible to guess what the outcome might be. Good results from multiple manufacturers, ..

Red Star Chocolate – Nicaragua Nicaliso

A bar that inevitably will attract comparisons to Friis-Holm’s bar from the same extremely rare source. Indeed, it is sources like this that reveal the value of micro-producers: the ability to bring out unusual varietals coming from sources whose total output is far too small for larger manufacturers to consider. In the past, such beans ..

Marcolini – Oriente Cuba Terruño de Baracoa

In a daring move, Marcolini chooses to position a Cuban chocolate at the upper end of the elite chocolate range. Will it pay off? Previous attempts at a Cuban origin have on the whole seen mixed results, so this bar will need to offer something quite special in order to justify its prestigious positioning. It ..

Mast Brothers – The Brooklyn Blend 74%

Mast Brothers, known for a particularly distinctive style, provide here a blend in addition to their line of single-origins. There is interest in how they’ll interpret a blend – will they stay with their style, or will they opt for a more balanced approach? Perhaps this should be seen as their “base” chocolate, the standard ..

Sainsbury’s – Taste The Difference Santo Domingo Organic Fairtrade 70%

Sainsbury’s join the trend of supermarkets entering the fray of “fine” chocolate using house-branded chocolates from various origins. This one will tick all the right boxes for the environmentally conscious, and furthermore the Dominican Republic produces some very fine chocolate, so there’s interest here, perhaps more so than others in the Sainsbury’s line. Mystery as ..

Marcolini – Grand Cru de Propriété Mexique

Marcolini shows his usual industriousness with a series of bars from various origins. It’s never made obvious which, if any, of the bars are made entirely in-house, but the percentages certainly vary from “standard” couverture chocolates so Marcolini seems to be doing something. However, these chocolates don’t come cheap either and for the price they ..

Rózsavölgyi Porcelana

The cult of fine chocolate spreads – now to Hungary. In fairness, it’s perhaps more fair to say that the tradition of fine chocolate from Hungary reaches the West – for this is a country with one of the oldest traditions of fine chocolatework. Rózsavölgyi is obviously serious, with top-notch beans which if we are ..