Taking Notes

Pretty paper and foil aside, there's only one "bar" all craft chocolate must pass ... The taste test.

That chocolate you splurged on? It all started with the seeds of a cacao tree. Where and how these kidney-shaped nuggets are grown and harvested and the ins and outs of how a maker coaxes them into a mold is what determines how that preciously wrapped bar will taste. Here’s how writer Bonnie Bauman’s tastebuds interpreted some of the bars made here in the Natural State.

Hello Cocoa Venezuela, 74% Cacao
Begins with notes of caramel, raisins and dates, finishing with a lighter, brighter flourish of just-ripe plums. A creamy texture allows for the shift in flavors to really come through.

Hello Cocoa Dominican Republic, 70% Cacao
Fruity notes of cherry and blackberry tasted right out of the gate pivot to a slightly more complex apricot flavor at the end. This bar boasts the same creamy texture as the bite above.

Izard Dominican Republic: Finca Elvesia, 70% Cacao
From the get-go, this one has an intriguing black-olive-y kick to it that soon mellows out to an herbal finish. Its smooth texture is a nice counter to its dark richness.

Izard Haiti: Pisa 70% Cacao
Bright and citrusy until the end where it shifts into a lingering floral finish. Like the Finca Elvesia, the texture is smooth and there’s that same stays-with-you-for-a-bit ending.

Terroir Uganda: Bundibugyo District, 60% Cacao
Begins in a creamy, earthy place with notes of honey and molasses and ends with a bright cinnamon note. Coffee beans ground in with the cacao beans, give it an almost brown-sugar texture. Coffee-forward and not as dark as the bars above.

Terroir Guatemala: Northwest Guatemala, 69% Cacao
A fruity kick in the beginning mellows into what’s akin to a bold red wine with blackberry notes, and then finishes with a sweeter grape-jam-y flourish. This one also has that pleasant brown-sugar texture (and is also just as coffee-forward).

Kyya Madagascar 72.5% Cacao
This one begins on a bright, tart-cherry-ish note that sticks around until the end of the smooth, slow melt.

Kyya Uganda 72.5% Cacao
There’s a very mellow, light-caramel opening, which then deepens after the melt to deeper toffee and butterscotch notes.

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