This summer, I have collected various chocolate bars to taste. But since my little chocolate company keeps me, well, rather busy in the summer time, I have not had much time for writing reviews. But now the summer craziness is tapering off, so I took a few moments to toss a bunch of chocolate bars together into a 'round-up' review. So let's begin...
Flagrants DESIRS 72% Dark Chocolate Crispy Crepe, 100g (3.5 oz)
Flagrants Desir Chocolatier (France)
Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, crispy crepes (sugar, wheat flour, anhydrous milk fat, vegetable oils [copra, palm kernel], lactose, milk proteins, salt, barley malt flour, sodium bicarbonate), cocoa butter, low fat cocoa powder, canola lecithin, natural vanilla flavour. Cocoa solids 72% Minimum in the chocolate. Contains: Gluten (wheat, barley), and milk. May contain: almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pistacios, macadamia nuts, eggs, soya and/or all their derivatives.
Chocolate & Tasting Notes:
The light crunch of the crepes is the highlight of this bar. The crunch certainly makes it fun and easy to eat the entire chocolate bar in one sitting. The chocolate has a nice bitterness for a 72% dark chocolate, with no overwhelming vanilla flavour. The vanilla that is added is natural, which is always important to me (don't you just hate artificial vanilla flavour?). There is not much info about this chocolate on the brand's website - although six other flavours of chocolate bars under the Desirs brand are listed (of which I've tasted one).
This chocolate is made in France. However, what I find incredibly frustrating is the complete lack of company information online. The brand website has only six flavours listed and no other info about the company, where they are made in France or the manufacturing facility. Even the French website has the same limited info. The only information is on the package: Flagrants Desirs it is imported to Canada by: Euro-Excellence Inc. and to the U.S. by Crossings Fine Foods (recently purchased by Saint-Germain in New York).
I found the chocolate at a local HomeSense store for $2.99 CAD.
Zazubean Saltry 'Sea Salt & Almonds' Dark Chocolate with Coconut Sugar, 65% cacao, 85g
Zazubean Organic Chocolate (Vancouver, Canada)
Ingredients: Cocoa mass*+, coconut blossom sugar*+, almonds*, cocoa butter*+, sea salt, vanilla*+.
+Fair Trade Certified
Contains almonds. May contain milk, tree nuts and peanuts.
Chocolate & Tasting Notes:
This is the third cane sugar-free chocolate bar that I have tasted by Zazubean, which is a program by the company that I really like. I have been choosing coconut sugar more and more lately for baking and for some of my homemade bean-to-bar chocolate experiments, because of its low GI properties. Zazubean's Nudie chocolate bar was definitely for the very bitter chocophile, while their 'Sassy' bar was meant for milk chocolate lovers who cannot (or choose not to) have milk.
Zazubean's 'Saltry' chocolate is made with Dominican Republic and Ecuador cacao, but with the addition of salt, almonds and use of coconut sugar, it was difficult to identify any natural 'origin' flavours for the cacao. However, the entire taste experience was pretty good. My husband, who really prefers milk and white chocolate, truly enjoyed this chocolate bar. And yet the coconut sugar did not make the chocolate taste too sweet, like some 65% chocolates can be.
If you are dropping cane sugar from your diet, but you don't like bitter, dark chocolate, this may be just the chocolate for you.
Alter Eco VELVET, Dark Organic Chocolate with a 'Touch of Milk", 47% Cacao, 80g
Alter Eco (San Francisco, CA)
Ingredients: Raw cane sugar**, cacao beans**, cocoa butter**, whole milk powder*, butterfat.
*Organic. **Organic and traded in compliance with Fairtrade standards, total 88.5%. Cacao: 47% minimum.
Chocolate and Tasting Notes:
This may be one of my favourite new off-the-shelf chocolate bars. The touch of milk really is that: this is a savoury-style of milk chocolate. In fact, Alter Eco's VELVET chocolate falls into the 'dark-milk' chocolate category. It is savoury, creamy, buttery and very interesting. I would say it is closer to milk chocolate than dark (although the label clearly calls it 'dark chocolate', but it could be changed to 'dark milk chocolate' which is a respected category all on its own these days).
I purchased this chocolate at a local Bulk Barn in Ontario, Canada.