Tasting the New American Chocolate Movement

"Some people don't like it", said the cashier at Powell's as I looked undecidedly at the Kallari chocolate bar in its beautiful green packaging. "They think it tastes like soap. But I love it."

I decided to try it. This dark chocolate bar with lime. Yes, lime. He was right, it was delicious.

I eat a little bit of dark chocolate every day and love the design of chocolate bar wrappers. The humanist typography and earthy colors. But most of all, I love the craft and attention to detail that goes into artisanal chocolate. The subtle yet distinguishable differences between beans and regions. The lyrical rhythm of Spanish words inherent to chocolate making: Criollo, Forastero, Trinitario. The stories about sourcing and knowing where your beans come from. Knowledge is power. When it comes to good food, knowledge leads to good taste.

My favorite bean-to-bar chocolates:

Amedei
Ritual
Mast Brothers
Scharffen Berger
Vahlrona
Dandelion

And, per my research on the history of food in Seattle, the Emerald City's contribution to the chocolate scene (although only one, Theo, is bean-to-bar):

Almond Rocha
Dilettante
Frango
Fran's Chocolates
Intrigue
Seattle Chocolates
Theo
 


Artisan chocolate is like a good bottle of wine. It is made by master chocolate makers who use the finest cacao beans to create a delectable symphony of flavors. It may come from a specific bean, from a single origin or even from a single estate. It may have hints of cashew, raisin or cherry. It may taste grassy or earthy. It may be simple or complex, with flavors that linger on the palate.
— Chocolopolis.com

Pete Wells investigates what goes into making the world's best chocolate in this article for Food & Wine.

See also: The New American Chocolate Movement

This post adapted from the original at Nineteenthirtyfour.org