Patric Chocolate is considered by many to be one of America's best craft chocolate makers. This was recently affirmed in a Slate.com article, which stated that Missouri-based Patric makes "epic single origin bars." I can reaffirm that statement based on the hundreds of chocolate bars (if not more) that I have tasted in the last ten years.
In Patric's e-mail newsletter last month, owner Alan McClure said Patric Chocolate was "the 5th U.S. craft chocolate maker". But really, Mr. McClure is among the first group in a movement that has swept across America since 2006, to a peak of over 100 bean-to-bar craft chocolate makers in 2015. Patric's first bar was launched during a flurry of craft chocolate introductions in early 2007, according to Shawn Askinosie, in an article published on Huffington Post (US). So clearly Patric Chocolate was at the forefront of this movement, and has therefore built on years of experience in chocolate making.
And Patric Chocolate can only get better. Mr. McClure is currently working at a masters in Food Science, in order to better understand "flavor formation during the various complex steps of the chocolate-making process." So we can look forward to what may come yet from Patric. But for now, let's take a look at some of McClure's current product offerings that I tasted in the last few weeks.
MOCHA OMG, 'Smooth Dark Chocolate & Espresso Bean Blend', 2.3oz (65g)
Pairing coffee and chocolate is one of the most natural and instinctive pairings, since many people often enjoy chocolate with a cup of coffee. This pairing can be found in most chocolate shops across North America, and coffee is frequently an inclusion in chocolate bars. Even better is espresso with dark chocolate, a natural complement to one another because they both have distinctly bold flavour profiles.
Patric Chocolate makes an espresso-flavored chocolate bar called OMG Mocha, which was launched in 2010. It won a Good Foods Award, and it is no wonder why. Upon first taste, this creamy chocolate bar offers a strong punch of espresso flavour, while being surprisingly smooth. I have rarely tasted a coffee-and-chocolate combination that is as smooth as Patric's.
Also notable is the cacao percentage of this dark chocolate. With 63% cocoa solids, this dark chocolate offers a bold and slightly bitter-sweet flavour to match the strength of the espresso. Competitive chocolate products, an example being Chocolate and Love's smooth Dark Chocolate with Coffee 55% bar, often fall on the sweeter side. I prefer the slightly bitter combination of Patric's chocolate bar.
On the package, we are told that award-winning espresso beans (by Kaldi's Coffee) are used to make this bar. But surely all the credit cannot be given to the coffee maker. The delicious taste and perfect texture has a lot to do with the production of the chocolate and experience of the chocolate maker. With just the right amount of cocoa butter, sweetness and perfect texture and temper, this chocolate certainly is a delight all on its own. It is simply made better with good espresso beans.
DARK MILK, 'Milk Chocolate Crafted with Extra Cocoa Beans', 2.3 oz (63g)
The first had that familiar sour cream taste that is common among dark-milk chocolate bars, although it was slight. The newer bar only had a hint of sour cream flavour, with a clearer tangy and lightly acidic profile. Among the other dark milks that I have tasted, this one was certainly creamy and had a very nice smooth texture. Its flavour was close to a strong hot chocolate, but certainly the bar was on the savoury side, which is to do with the high cacao bean content (58% cocoa solids) and the small addition of salt. It is a taste experience like no other, and the savoury flavour grows on you with each bite (until you can't get enough!).
Alan McClure has also recently launched the Piura Dark Milk bar, a high percentage milk chocolate made with single origin Peruvian cacao. It is described as having clear hints of toffee, almond, red grapefruit and sun-dried wine grape flavors. You can bet this is next on my list of dark milk chocolates to try.
Here are the package details from the chocolate that I tasted and told you about here:
MOCHA OMG, 63% Cocoa + 2% Espresso Beans, 2.3 oz (65g)
Patric Chocolate (Columbia, MO)
Ingredients: cacao, organic cane sugar, cocoa butter, espresso beans. May contain traces of dairy, peanuts and/or tree nuts due to shared equipment. Soy and Gluten free.
DARK MILK, 58% Cocoa, 2.3 oz (65g)
Patric Chocolate (Columbia, MO)
Ingredients: cacao, whole milk powder, organic cane sugar, cocoa butter, sea salt. May contain traces of dairy, peanuts and/or tree nuts due to shared equipment. Soy and Gluten free.