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Monday, July 25, 2016
Chocexchange: Online Curator for Craft Chocolate in Canada
Personally, I rely on these 'curators' of craft chocolate because I live on an island in Northern Ontario, and can't just pop down to Toronto's Soma Chocolatemaker whenever I want. I also enjoy being able to buy a variety of chocolate made from different chocolate makers and pay only one shipping fee. When I started out on my mission to taste all the bean-to-bar chocolate that I can, I had to buy direct from each company, which cost an arm and a leg in shipping fees. So these new specialty retailers of craft chocolate, particularly the online ones, have made my life a lot easier (and less expensive).
I recently learned about a new online retailer based in Montreal called Chocexchange. This is a curated e-commerce marketplace that is intended to connect "curious chocolate eaters with Earth's best chocolate shops." Not only can you purchase individual chocolate bars online, but you can also buy gifts and monthly subscriptions (which, in my opinion, is the best gift for any chocolate lover).
Chocexchange owner, Josh Rubin, stocks many chocolate bars that cannot be found easily in Canada, including Izard Chocolate's beautiful creations, Pump St. Bakery's chocolate bars, Twenty-Four Blackbirds, as well as chocolate by Canadian chocolate makers such as Vancouver-based East Van Roasters, and Ontario's award-winning Hummingbird Chocolatemaker.
Below is an overview and some tasting notes of the chocolate bars that I purchased from Chocexchange. For more information or to make an online purchase, visit the website at:
Chocexchange.com Stocked Chocolate Bars and Tasting Notes:
Hummingbird's Maple 70% bar is bitter and lightly sweet, and definitely delicious. buy it on ChocExchange at: https://chocexchange.com/collections/chocolates/products/maple.
Madagascar 75% single origin chocolate and the Cedeno, an Ecuadorian origin chocolate bar. There is a lovely, high cocoa butter content in the Madagascar. The Ecuadorian chocolate is stiffer, compared to Madagascar, which is what I've become accustomed to. And oddly, the Ecuadorian chocolate was a bit fruity and organic and reminded me more of a Dominican-origin chocolate.
Pump St. Bakery, a British chocolate maker, creates truly lovely chocolate bars with incredible cacao. Chocexchange had two of Pump St. Bakery's award-winning chocolate bars: the Madagascar Criollo 74% and the Crayfish Bay Grenada 70% dark chocolate.
The unique Pump St. Bakery Madagascar Criollo 74% is made with cacao from Akesson's Organic Estate. The most unique part is the colour of the chocolate: although a 74% dark chocolate, this bar is an amazingly light shade of milk chocolate with a reddish hue. It's quite shocking to open the package and see this colour, even though most Madagascar Criollo chocolate bars are lighter and redder in colour than the average dark chocolate, but this one is absolutely different than most bars. I assume the cocoa beans used to make it had an extremely high percentage of white beans. As for the taste of the Madagascar Criollo 74%, it was quite nice as well. A little spice and organic flavours upfront, with only a light raspberry taste, not nearly as strong as many of the Madagascar chocolate bars I've become accustomed to.
Pump St. Bakery's Grenada 70% chocolate bar is also quite unique. It is very fruity, with red fruit and blackberry flavours, including a little red grape flavour. A little acidic but definitely delicate. The colour is a stark contrast to the Madagascar Criollo, having nearly a black shade. The cacao came from Crayfish Bay Organic Estate. If you have tasted Grenada Chocolate Company's single origin chocolate, this will be a different experience; the chocolate is more delicate in nature, a little less pronounced in flavour, and yet telling of the single plantation from where the cacao came.
Izard Chocolate makes a lovely line-up of dark chocolate bars, which I purchased on ChocExchange. You can read my recent review here.