Valrhona – Chuao 2002

Valrhona’s remaining Chuao bars taste just as new and crisp as any other recently molded bar, showing no signs of stress from aging. Flavor-wise, the chocolate does not entirely resemble what one might expect from Chuao but with associations detached, the bar is actually very pleasant

Askinosie – San Jose Del Tambo

Askinosie – San Jose Del Tambo

Arguably, one of the lightest chocolates to ever come out of Ecuador, Askinosie delivers a bar that has more in common with Madagascar than with Ecuador. Nonetheless, plenty of the origin’s characteristic traits reveal themselves beautifully, just lighter than usual but certainly no less enjoyable

Askinosie – Soconusco

An amazingly dark rendition of a Trinitario, most likely courtesy of dark roasting, and similar to Pralus in many ways, minus the smoke. Askinosie may be a newcomer, but their performance here suggests otherwise

Rep├║blica del Cacao – Manabi Province

One of three Arribas from this in-country producer, Manabi is the spiciest and calmest of the three, delivering a flavor that some may not be not familiar with under the typical Arriba association. It does show some problems, however, in the extremeness of its passivity, especially since at 75% one would expect a greater intensity ..

Slitti – Super Novanta Amazzonia

Slitti – Super Novanta Amazzonia

Questionable bar from Slitti, who usually delivers the goods at 90% but misses far and wide here. Just about everything that can go wrong does, and it seems all efforts to correct the many wrongs inherent in the cacao have incurred disastrous consequences

Dagoba – Prima Materia

Dagoba’s entry into the unsweetened field reveals a chocolate that tastes amazingly like a Madagascar, which if is the case could be the same source for the similarly flavored Sambirano bar. Obviously a lighter approach for a company who usually roasts slightly longer, the bar remains easy to eat and lacks a mind-blowing intensity that ..

Kshocolat – 72% Single Estate

Starting with an already limited origin (Sao Tome), the bar barely manages to deliver any flavor at all and opts instead for a persona that echoes weariness with every second. What Kshocolat did to achieve this monotonous feat could have been Dutching, but if not, the company certainly would have to address other questions to ..

Slitti – Lattenero 70%

At a hefty 70%, Slitti’s darkest milk chocolate is an enticing exploration and ultimate test of just how far this high percentage milk chocolate trend can go. With essentially nothing to lose, Slitti succeeds and creates a bar whose flavor far outweighs any novelty value it holds

Slitti – Lattenero 51%

The second step up in the Lattenero hierarchy of cocoa content, Slitti has created arguably the most balanced and proportioned bar of the range. Fans of Cluizel’s Grand Lait 45% would find much pleasure here if not more since Slitti has in possession a magnificent chocolate that not only rivals it but also surpasses it

Domori – Madagascar

Domori’s other Madagascan bar is a more diverse approach, yielding better balance and a manageable flavor. Here, though, one still gets a strongly characterized chocolate that emphasizes contrast through flavors that at times may seem monotonous and excessively dense. As a result, it may still generate a dichotomy of “love it or hate it.&#8221

Dagoba – Sambirano

One of the darker Madagascans on the market and one that may seem like an unlikely success given the producer. However, the chocolate as a whole is relatively calm and uniform, presenting nothing too sharp or too light, but rather a darkened flavor with enough of the cacao’s intrinsic fruitiness to keep the bar interesting

L’artisan du Chocolat – Madagascar

Something of an unfortunate choice for the strongest of L’Artisan’s bars, taking the usually mild Madagascar and unfortunately letting it run a little wild. It’s unusually strident and aggressive, not a bar that will give you a moment’s peace. Still, it does convey all the important Madagascar elements, and on the level of simple exposition ..

L’artisan du Chocolat – Java

Reminiscent of L’Artisan’s equally surprising Madong, here’s another Indonesian on the wild side. Reeking of peat and smoke, it’s an experience unlike any other in the chocolate world. Is that good or bad? You may have to be the judge, but it’s unlikely your opinion will be neutral. This reviewer, however, finds plenty to commend

L’artisan du Chocolat – Venezuela

A bar clearly from exactly the same bean source as Theo’s Venezuela, yielding, predictably, similarly spectacular results. With rather more sugar, this one is less austere than the Theo version, and thus may have a somewhat broader appeal. Either way it has the same awesome, brooding dark character, a nice step away from your typical ..