Hotel Chocolat – Island Growers St Lucia 65% 96-Hour Conch

A bar that seems to require just about the maximum number of qualifiers in order to identify it uniquely among a group of related ones from Hotel Chocolat. This gives something of a feel of indecisiveness on HC’s part – as if they’re experimenting with different subtle adjustments of the same basic chocolate to see ..

Friis Holm – Chuno

Representing perhaps the ultimate in exclusivity, this is a series of only 250 bars total made (if the Chocolate and Love site from where one can get this chocolate is accurate) from an equally esoteric Danish company few will probably have heard of. This is the new wave, in many ways: small, committed producers making ..

Amano – Chuao

Amano has long hinted in their package design at which company they aspire to, and now at last they coomplete the circle. Can anyone doubt that this chocolate is posited as a direct comparison to Amedei’s Chuao? Amano has evolved a distinct and unique style quite different from Amedei, though, so package similarities (at least ..

Red Star Chocolate – Honduras Indio Rojo

Part of the initial line of chocolates from England’s second fine bean-to-bar manufacturer. Available at introduction time only from Paul A Young – which gives another reason to visit Paul’s shops! One must assume its exclusive status means something, so presumably this is one of the better of Duffy’s bars. However, the unusual Honduras origin ..

Cacao Sampaka – Xoconusco

Along with La Joya, at the top of Sampaka’s range of dark chocolates, this one being billed as “royal Criollo”. Once again, this sounds like a marketing term perhaps signifying nothing, but it does at least seem likely this is an original and exclusive source, so a chocolate worth trying anyway. Sampaka seem to have ..

Hotel Chocolat – Rabot Estate 65%

One of a new and much-expanded “Purist” line, which sees Hotel Chocolat establishing a collection targetted at a higher-end audience, probably people with at least some experience and appreciation of fine chocolate. While unlike the previous line, Hotel Chocolat doesn’t make it explicit, there is no reason not to believe it’s still being made for ..

Zotter – Peru 40%

Pairing a 40% milk chocolate with a 60% (the Nicaragua) in the same package would seem to be an odd way to make a comparison, if the objective is the comparison of origins. Perhaps, though, in the milk category, there is somewhat more room, for if the objective were solely the origin comparison, such bars ..

Zotter – Nicaragua 60%

Another in Zotter’s “Labooko” series comparing origins, this really pushes the limit of what can be called a “milk” chocolate with a 60% formulation. Is it fair to compare a 60% against a 40% (the corresponding Peru) in the same package? Common sense says perhaps not. Nevertheless, trying a “milk” chocolate at this extreme percentage ..

Cacao Sampaka – La Joya

An interesting origin claiming to be “white Criollo”. Is this another name for Porcelana? Probably the question of bean label is best left aside, for certainly the “Porcelana” designation has been overstretched in recent years, and Sampaka are certainly not making any claims in that regard (which, it must be said, is refreshing) Made presumably ..

Zotter – Brazil 60% (Medicil├óndia)

The second half of Zotter’s interesting Brazil combination package. It’s unusual to see 2 different sources from the same national origin, and it provides a study in contrasts. Of course, Brazil is a large enough country that the concept of a national “origin” is perhaps too broad of a label in any case – here ..

Zotter – Brazil 70% (Amazonia)

One part of a pair of chocolates in the same package, both from a Brazil origin but different sources. Zotter’s decision to use different percentages somewhat obscures the comparison, but it’s interesting nonetheless. In each of the “Labooko” series Zotter appears to pair a “fine” origin with an “emerging” one. This one appears to be ..

Zotter – Nicaragua 70%

Partner to the Panama 70% (see the companion review) in a 2-bar set, this chocolate takes the “more experimental” position within the comparison. As noted for the Panama, the unusual decision to include salt places a very slight question mark behind its classification as a “pure” dark bar, but certainly in this case salt is ..

Zotter – Panama 70%

Zotter brings together an interesting “comparison” package and quality organic chocolate within a single product. Each of the series features 2 origins side-by side in the same package, allowing you to do an A/B comparison on the spot. Generally, Zotter appears to try to combine one “high-quality” chocolate with another “mixed-results” chocolate. In this case, ..

Pacari – Raw Chocolate 70%

Pacari – Raw Chocolate 70%

Forget all about those “raw” chocolates whose main purpose seems mostly to be resolutely Alternative as opposed to offering a genuine chocolate experience. Pacari here creates a raw chocolate whose first priority is clearly a quality product and whose second priority is clearly something that is recognisably chocolate. Indeed, there is nothing in this bar ..

Pacari – Los Rios

Bars made from Ecuador’s nacional variety have always been typified by dark strong roasts that tended to dominate all other flavour notes. While in Ecuador itself, the local idea of the flavour of nacional – otherwise know as ‘arriba’ – was a chocolate with a strong ‘kick’ and ‘floral’ notes. Often though the ‘floral’ aspect ..