A few years ago, I tried very hard to get my hands on some Choklat chocolate (I was, after all, on a mission to try all of Canada's bean-to-bar chocolate). I e-mailed. I called. I begged. I was not a 'blogger' asking for free samples, I was a customer trying to buy the product and pay for them to ship it to me. The owner told me flat out: "find a friend in Calgary and have them ship it to you", he even went so far to say that his website gets thousands of hits per month, so, well, the gist of it was that I was not necessary to keep his business pumping, so why bother going out of his way for me?
And as much as I wanted to write about all of these frustrating things on this blog, I stayed silent. My general policy is not to criticize chocolate makers because I know they are passionate about their craft. I simply find the good points about their products. So with Choklat, I decided to wait until I could taste the chocolate. And one day last February, I finally did. A friend of mine sent me some chocolate bars. I tried them all and loved them. But I was not yet ready to admit it. So I waited until I received another package of their chocolate bars a few weeks ago, which were purchased at a franchise location in Edmonton. This last package confirmed it: Choklat's chocolate bars are delicious.
So was the owner right to refuse me? Maybe. I am a business owner myself, and I understand how easy it is to lose focus and waste time on special requests. But I also understand that one poor interaction can end a customer-seller relationship. He would have lost me if I was not so determined in my mission to taste all of Canada's bean-to-bar chocolate. And with just two tastes, I will likely be back for more someday....of course, that is if I can find a friend in Alberta.
So here is the down-low on Choklat`s chocolate bars:
- They make a series of 70% dark bars from different single origin (and in some cases single plantation) beans. The bars also have the same amount of cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla, etc., which makes it a lot easier to hold a tasting session and truly tastes the differences between origins. I love this - nothing is more frustrating than when you are trying to compare origin chocolate by one chocolate maker, and one bar has 67% cocoa solids and the other has 72%. In those cases, the sweetness of the 67% overwhelms your ability to taste the flavour differences of the cacao. So I applaud Choklat for this. And of the four 70% bars that I tasted, I liked the Ocumare the best, but all four were delicious and full of interesting flavours.
- Choklat makes amazing milk chocolate. Truly a MUST-TRY is their Brazilian 48% Milk bar. It is bursting with flavour and aroma. The Cuyagud (Venezuela) 48% Milk bar is just as delicious and flavourful. I wish I had 10 more of each bar. Right now.
- Choklat puts a lot of cocoa butter in their chocolate. Except for their intense 80% bar, their chocolate bars generally contain 30% cocoa butter, which gives all of their chocolate a melt-in-your-mouth quality. The purists (those who make chocolate from just cocoa beans and sugar) may argue this is too much cocoa butter, but I like it. It adds a rich element that quickly melts in the most delicious way, even in cold temperatures.
- Choklat makes a range of Venezuelan bars, which allows the taster to truly taste the differences between regions within the same country.
- The range of truffles were delicious, I found the Key Lime to be my favourite, as well at the Dark Chocolate Buttercream, and the Mint offered an interesting experience (there was perhaps a hint of basil in it...?). I even enjoyed the Orange and the Amaretto truffle, which are two flavours that I normally stay away from.
And now that I have tasted nearly all of Canada's craft, bean-to-bar chocolate, I can say with certainty that Choklat's products are in the top three or four for taste, texture and quality. It is certainly worth a try, if you are in the Edmonton or Calgary area.