Saturday, March 31, 2012

So Smooth. So Chocolaty. So Moldy?

I am so disappointed and yet also in chocolate heaven.

Why the disappointment? Well, I waited until my birthday to taste two very expensive of Porcelana chocolate bars. My plan was to compare the Original Beans “Piura Porcelana 75%” chocolate bar to the Bonnat's "Apotequil "Variete Porcelana" chocolate bar - two chocolate bars that cost quite a lot of money because of the rare and delicate Porcelana beans they were made with. The Bonnat bar smelled and tasted completely of mold (sorry, if you are British or Canadian, I do mean mould)!

At first, when I opened the Bonnat wrapper, I thought "what is that aroma?" which was clearly strong and very different from the chocolaty, smoky, nutty aroma of the Original Beans bar. Then, I put a piece of the Bonnat bar in my mouth and I instantly realized - the smell was mold! The bar itself looked fine, the snap was good, the chocolate was tempered perfectly, but clearly mold had affected the beans prior to making this chocolate. 

It's not to say that I won't ever buy Bonnat's chocolate again. I will. I have the utmost respect for Chocolat Bonnat. I fell in love with their Puerto Cabella bar some months back and want to go back for more some day. And in fact, I may even try this Bonnat Porcelana bar again  - from what I could tell it was very smooth and creamy - but it will definitely be from a different batch! This one was Lot A with a Best Before of October 2012. So check your chocolate bar, if you have a Bonnat bar from the same batch. As for me, I am calling up the distributor tomorrow and asking for a new bar!

As for Original Beans' "Piura Porcelana 75%" chocolate bar: I LOVE IT. The chocolate is not super smooth, but it is tasty. Rich, strong and like a black dark roast coffee or like a bitter, flavourful glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. It is reminiscent of raspberry and toasted pecans, as the back of the package mentions, although I don't personally taste the lime, Kumquat, or apricot that Original Beans suggests should be tasted. I am reminded of smoke and fire with this chocolate bar. It is definitely rich in flavours and worth a try by any true chocolate connoisseur.

Original Beans is all about protecting biodiversity and rainforests and "replanting the planet", so they have a very good cause in mind when making and selling chocolate. You can also go online and enter a code from your specific chocolate bar and track the specific trees that the cocoa beans came from in the Piura River Valley in Peru.

What I always find interesting with chocolate bars made from Porcelana beans is the colour of the chocolate. To the naked eye, you might confuse a very bitter 75% chocolate, like Bonnat's and Original Beans Porcelana bars, for milk chocolate. This is because the Porcelana beans are a rare white colour. It really goes to show that not all chocolate is the same, as I once thought when I was young.

Both Bonnat and Original Beans chocolate does not contain soy lecithin (they are soy-free), and only contain three ingredients (cacao beans, sugar and cacao butter), so they are free of any artificial flavours or even vanilla flavouring. Each chocolate maker also specializes in making chocolate from cacao beans of specific origins. See below for more detailed information on both manufacturers, such as website and other information.

The package details from the two chocolate bars that I tasted today are as follows:

Origina Beans "Piura Porcelana" 75%, 70g
Original Beans (Amsterdam)
Made in Switzerland
Ingredients: Direct-trade cacao beans*, cacao butter*, cane sugar*. *Certified organic. May contain traces of nuts, lactose and soy. Vegan. Gluten Free.

Apotequil "Variete Porcelana", 75% Cacao, 100g
Chocolat Bonnat (France)
Ingredients: cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Going to Hawaii? Think Tropical CHOCOLATE, Not Tropical Drinks

When I think of Hawaii, I think of palm trees, sunshine, flower print shirts and Tom Selleck.  I do not think about chocolate.  It just seems like a place that is too warm for such a melty treat. But that is not the case.
I also did not expect such good chocolate to be made in Hawaii either. But I was wrong about that too. My first ever shipment of Hawaiian chocolate came in last week and I was completely surprised by the taste and quality of this bean-to-bar chocolate made by Madre Chocolate on O'ahu, Hawaii. Not that I expected them to make bad chocolate, I just thought the climate would not be right for tempering and maintaining good chocolate. 

Admittedly, I expected to receive a box of wrappers with a pile of melted chocolate at the bottom of the box. But nope. Perfect condition. Not melted at all. Not even a little bit.  These guys knew how to package their chocolate to handle the high temperatures of Hawaii and its transport from their island to mine (albeit considerably colder temperatures on my Island!).

So far I have tasted all of the flavours that I bought, which were: Coconut Milk & Caramelized Ginger, Passion Fruit 70% Dark Chocolate, Pink Peppercorn & Smoked Salt (70%), and the straight up 70% Hawaiian Dark Chocolate.
My favourite - by far - was the Coconut Milk & Caramelized Ginger.  It was so smooth and creamy that it just melted in my mouth and honestly, tasted better than regular milk chocolate.  It was rich and full of flavour, so that a dark chocoholic like myself could enjoy it, but also creamy and milky with a hint of coconut flavour.  So this dairy-free chocolate is great for vegans and people who cannot have milk due to an allergy.

The caramelized ginger was different than I have tasted in the past.  The ginger was not chewy or soft, but sort of hard and had a milder flavour than most ginger.  So really there was just a hint of ginger flavour.  I could eat this chocolate bar all the time if I was just a little bit (or a lot) closer to Hawaii!

The Passion Fruit chocolate bar is Madre's most popular bar and I can see why. Normally, I do not like fruit and chocolate combinations, unless it is raspberry and chocolate or banana and chocolate, but Passion Fruit was reminiscent of the heavy tanginess and bitterness of raspberry and for me, it worked. My mouth was overloaded with fruit and chocolate flavour. It was not as smooth as the Coconut Milk & Ginger chocolate bar, and was a little sweeter tasting than the average 70% chocolate bar.  Overall, it was a great tasting experience and a great way to sample Hawaii through food.  I'd choose this over a fruity vacation drink any day!

The other chocolate bars were all equally as good.  The straight up 70% Hawaiian Dark Chocolate  bar confirmed my thoughts that Madre's Hawaiian chocolate is tangier and fruitier tasting than most other chocolate I've tasted.  Some single origin chocolates have a strong organic, earthy flavour, others, smoky and some industrial (like the smell of gasoline on a freeway), but Madre's Hawaiian chocolate encompasses the smell and flavours of tropical fruit.

As for that Pink Peppercorn & Smoked Salt chocolate bar, it was sweet and salty and slightly peppery all at the same time, with the same tangy fruitiness like the other Madre bars had.  The Peppercorns are ground up but still have a nice slight crunch.

According to, pink peppercorns are rarer and harder to find than other peppercorns.  They are also known for their fruity flavour in comparison to white peppercorns that are hotter, and have a mild citrus zest and sweet berry flavour.  I have to agree, I immediately thought of citrus and mixed berries when I tasted the chocolate, although I was expecting the flavour of black pepper for some reason.  I’ve had pink peppercorn many times, but I never thought about there being a difference in pepper flavours.  I just thought pepper was pepper.  My eyes have been opened!

The wonderful thing about eating single-origin chocolate is that you feel like you are taking a trip around the world every time you eat it.  And for a girl on a lonely Island in the North, who is not travelling as much as she used to, that is the best part about eating chocolate. And I often am surprised by the places that chocolate will take me.
If you are interested in Madre and their Hawaiian chocolate, stay tuned, one of their chocolate bars will be included in a prize basket for a contest that I am putting together in April!
Here are the package, company and website details from each chocolate bar reviewed today:
Coconut Milk & Caramelized Ginger, 70%, 1.5 oz (43g)
Madre Chocolate (Honolulu, HI)
Ingredients: Hawaiian cacao, organic sugar, organic cocoa butter, coconut, Hawaiian ginger, Mexican whole vanilla. Processed  in a facility that also processes nuts and milk.
Batch: MAR 02 2013


Passion Fruit Hawaiian Dark Chocolate, 70%, 1.5 oz (43g)
Madre Chocolate (Honolulu, HI)
Ingredients: Hawaiian cacao, organic sugar, organic cocoa butter, Hawaiian passion fruit, Mexican whole vanilla. Processed in a facility that also processes nuts and milk.
Batch: MAR 02 2013

Pink Peppercorn & Smoked Salt, 70%, 1.5 oz (43g)
Madre Chocolate (Honolulu, HI)
Ingredients: Hawaiian cacao, organic sugar, organic cocoa butter, Mexican whole vanilla, Hawaiian pink peppercorn, Hawaiian mesquite smoked salt. Processed in a facility that also processes nuts and milk.
Batch: JAN 31 2013

70% Hawaiian Dark Chocolate, 1.5 oz (43g)
Madre Chocolate (Honolulu, HI)

Batch: FEB 22 2013

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Great Canadian Pair: Wine and Chocolate

Wine and chocolate pairing can be difficult.  Sure, you can follow some advice that you find online, like to "pair sweet with sweet and dry with bitter", but then what?  There are thousands of brands and types of wine to choose from and an equal number of chocolate bars.  It takes a lot of time and many taste tests to find a chocolate that pairs perfectly with a specific wine.

So I thought, "Why not share some of my better pairings?" I am in no way a wine expert, but I have been to enough wine tasting workshops and tours to have a basic knowledge.  And I have a lot of experience pairing chocolate with just about any flavour. But most often, I find myself enjoying a glass of wine and then heading to my chocolate tasting cabinet to taste three or four chocolates to see which pairs best.  So I decided that every now and then I will share my more successful wine and chocolate pairings here on this blog.

Last night's pairing was all Canadian.  I opened a bottle of Mission Hill 2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia.  After trying a few Theo chocolate bars, which were okay with the wine, and a single-origin 66% Mexican chocolate (by Cacao Barry), which also paired well with the wine, I tried a Soma Black Science Microbatch Madagascar 70% chocolate bar.  Although the Theo 84% Dominican bar paired well with the wine, the slightly sweeter Soma Madagascar bar offset the dryness of the wine.  The bold, citrus and smoky flavour that is common to Madagascar chocolate went well with the bold, thick and dry  flavour of the Mission Hill Cabernet.

I am quickly learning how amazing Soma chocolatemaker's chocolate is and I have not yet been disappointed.  Each time I taste Soma against other brands, Soma's chocolate texture and flavour has won against the competition. Their chocolate is wonderfully smooth, and their dark chocolate is bitter, rich and flavourful.  I also love that they are so transparent in their labelling: the package states the bean type (in this case an organic criollo, which to me, is about the best you can get!) and the batch number (M19) along with the origin (Madagascar).  What's more, Soma will tell you if the chocolate bar is made of a mixture of beans, or made with forrastero-type beans instead of criollo.  Since they know they use the best batch of beans from each type, they have no problem stating it on the package. I wish commercial brand chocolate manufacturers would be as transparent as Soma.

Since I love Soma so much, I have decided to have a contest!  Sign up as a "follower" on the right side of this blog by the end of March, 2012 or follow me on Twitter or Facebook and I will enter your name for a draw for a Soma chocolate bar.  If you are already a follower, don't worry, you will be entered too!  I will draw randomly and will announce the winner at the end of March 2012! And stay tuned in April, I am having another contest for a bean-to-bar gift basket that will include another Soma chocolate bar!

Here are the package details from the Soma chocolate bar that I tasted today:

Microbatch Madagascar 70%, 80g
SOMA chocolatemaker, Toronto, ON CANADA
Ingredients:  organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar, cocoa butter, all natural ingredients, may contain trace amounts of dairy, soy, and gluten.
Batch: M19. Bean type: Organic Criollo. Bean Origin: Madagascar. Batch size: 45kg.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bailey's Milk Chocolate Mousse Recipe: An accidental but tasty creation

Last weekend I saw a recipe online for a "No Bake Milk Chocolate Bailey's Truffle Cake".  I saw the beautiful pictures of the cake posted on the website How Sweet It Is and immediately decided to make the cake for a great weekend dessert. 

Unfortunately, what I did NOT do was take a good look at the ingredients list and really notice the quantities. Instead, I followed the directions exactly and Voila! I ended up with a really nice Bailey's milk chocolate syrup.

How did this happen exactly?  Well, the cake recipe was basically for a chocolate truffle made with milk chocolate and Bailey's, but instead of making truffle balls, you just pour the mixture into a round springform pan. However, when making truffles, there is a maximum amount of liquid (i.e. the cream, water, Bailey's, etc.) that can be mixed with the chocolate.  If there is too much liquid, the truffle will not set and you will have a chocolate sauce instead of thick truffle that can be sliced or rolled. The Truffle Cake recipe that I followed suggested 15 ounces of chocolate to 12 ounces of cream and four ounces of Bailey's. That is 16 ounces of liquid - more than the amount of chocolate in the recipe! 

If I had taken a moment from my busy life, I might have realized that the recipe was calling for way too much cream.  The truffle recipes that I usually make have about 12 ounces of cream (or a little less if using a more watery substance) to 15 ounces of chocolate.  So the addition of Bailey's in this recipe is what caused the problem. 

The recipe suggested that I put it in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 6 hours to set.  Well, I left it for 12 did not set.  So I left it for 24 still did not set!  Finally, realizing that it was still a liquidy mess and would never 'set', I sealed it up in a giant Ziplock bag and froze it. I figured I could slice it frozen and serve it as an awesome frozen dessert topped with some vanilla bean ice cream. 

After a day or two in the deep freeze, I took it out and attempted to cut a slice.  It still would not slice like a normal cake!  It was a mushy mess and within seconds of being exposed to room temperature air, it would just melt into a liquid goo on my plate.  I tried topping it with Bailey's whipped cream, but then it was just a puddle of milky Bailey's chocolate with whipped cream on top.

So what did I do?  I let it thaw until it was a cold liquid. Then I poured it into my stand  mixer bowl and beat the heck out of it until it was a beautiful mousse!  After savouring one luxurious dish of Bailey's Milk Chocolate Mousse, I transferred the rest to an airtight container and froze it.  Now I sneak back every now and then for a small dish of mousse.  It scoops out beautifully and can be served as a wonderful frozen dessert or topping, or a lovely addition to a bowl of vanilla ice cream.

Here is the recipe for my accidental and egg-free Bailey's Milk Chocolate Mousse:

  • 15 ounces good quality milk chocolate (I used Camino organic and fair trade couverture)
  • 12 ounces heavy creams (1.5 cups)
  • 4 ounces Bailey’s Irish Cream (0.5 cups)
  • Chocolate (milk or dark) for shavings to garnish mousse, and/or a cold shot of espresso or Bailey's to serve with the mousse
If the chocolate is not already in small pieces, chop it into pieces about one inch in size. Heat it in a double boiler until almost melted, then take off the heat and stir until completely melted.

Mix together the cream and the Bailey's in a small pan and heat it on the stovetop until it reaches the boiling point. Pour it over the chocolate and stir with a whisk until the chocolate is completely dissolved and mixture is smooth.

Seal with plastic wrap or an airtight lid and refrigerate overnight (or for 6-8 hours).

Once chilled, beat with electric hand mixer or stand mixer until light and fluffy and nearly stiff (will not become as stiff as whipped cream).  Serve immediately or freeze in a container with an airtight lid. 

Three Ways To Serve:

1. Serve frozen by scooping with an ice cream scoop.  Garnish with chocolate shavings.

2. Pour a little Bailey's into a Martini glass and place two or three small scoops in the glass and top with chocolate shavings.

3. Put two scoops of Bailey's Milk Chocolate Mousse into a small coffee cup and pour a cold espresso over top to serve.  Garnish with chocolate-covered espresso beans.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chai and Chocolate, Organic and Fair, and, well, Canadian too!

In my chocolate cupboard is a chocolate taster's box from Organic Fair Inc. with 12 different flavoured organic chocolate bars in it.  I have been waiting patiently (well, sort of 'patiently') for just the right group setting to pull it out and have a chocolate tasting, but the opportunity has yet to arise.  So this morning I opened the box and stared at all the flavours, thinking about which one I could extract without messing up a perfectly fun future group tasting party. 

All of the chocolate bars are made with 70% dark chocolate (you can see how I might have to wait for just the right group who likes 70% dark chocolate) and each chocolate bar has an interesting flavour combination.  In the bottom layer (yes, there are two layers of chocolate bars in this box!) I found a chocolate bar called "kashmir", a Masala Chai flavoured dark chocolate.  And since I seem to be on a roll lately with eating chocolate that tastes like tea, I thought I would give this one a try and see how it compared while the others are still fresh in my mind.

This chocolate and chai spice flavour combination was strong and bold, and it distinctly tasted like Chai tea (although there is no 'tea' in it, but it has that same flavour). It also had ground up herbs in it, which was a bit gritty, but I did not mind.  It was completely unlike The TeaRoom's milk chocolate Masala Chai-flavoured chocolate bar.  Organic Fair's chocolate bar was bitter and made you think of a bitter cup of tea with no milk or sugar, rather than a milky chocolate-chai latte as The TeaRoom's chocolate bar had tasted to me.

Overall, it was a good flavour for when you are craving bitter chocolate and Masala Chai tea.  But if you are in the mood for a sweet snack, this one is not it.

Organic Fair's chocolate is organic and 1% of their sales go to support and develop direct fair trade (learn more at:  An additional 1% of sales support environmental organizations worldwide ( Their packaging is also environmentally friendly, so there are a lot of great reasons to check out this Canadian company! See below for their details and website info. If you know someone who really likes flavoured 70% organic dark chocolate, I highly recommend the Consummate Connoisseur's Chocolate Gift Box available on their web site.

If you like tea and chocolate together, check out these other chocolate bar reviews:
Here are the details from Organic Fair's chocolate bar:

Kashmir 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate With Masala Chai Essence, 44g (1.5 oz)
Organic Fair Inc. (Cobble Hill, BC)
Ingredients: cocoa liquor*, raw cane sugar*, cocoa butter*, ground vanilla beans*, cardamom essence*, clove essence*, cinnamon essence*, ginger essence*, black pepper essence*, fennel essence*.  Minimum 70% cacao.  May contain traces of nuts, peanuts, wheat & dairy.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Subtle Differences: A Taste and Purchase Comparison of Theo's 84% Organic Dominican Chocolate versus 85% Organic & Fair Trade Chocolate

There is extra dark chocolate, then there is ultimate dark chocolate. So what is the difference?  Apparently not more than 1% when you are tasting and comparing Theo's Organic 84% Dominican Republic dark chocolate bar against Theo's Organic & Fair Trade 85% Ultimate Dark chocolate bar.

The differences between these two chocolate bars are very subtle.  I have been taste-comparing them every day for a week.  At first, I thought they were exactly the same, so I waited a few more days until the sinus cold that I had caught passed, to see if that would make a difference in their taste.  Then I realized that the Dominican 84% bar was slightly fruity and tangy in comparison. The 85% was slightly chalkier in taste, but the differences were so subtle that I could go back and forth between them and never be quite sure that they were not the same chocolate. 

One major difference that I did find was that Theo's Organic Dominican 84% bar paired well with the Mission Hill 2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (extra dry and high in tannins) that I was sipping the other night, whereas Theo's Organic & Fair Trade 85% did not pair well with that wine.

Overall, I liked them both, but preferred the Dominican bar for its fruity tanginess.  If you are choosing between these chocolate bars, here are the facts:
  • Theo's Dominican 84% costs $5 (US) on their website and it is listed as 'organic', but not 'Fair Trade' (only the sugar used is listed as Fair Trade) and it is also listed as Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Soy Free and Vegan.
  • Theo's 85% Ultimate Dark bar is Organic and Fair Trade. Bean origin is unknown, but the price is only $4 on the website. It is also listed as Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Soy Free and Vegan.

I also tasted these against the Lindt 85% bar.  Sure the Lindt bar is smoother and finer in texture, but it still has that distinct flavour that I can never quite put my finger on, a super sweetness to it which I think has something to do with the mix of beans used, use of vanilla and the roasting or refining process. There is also brown sugar in Lindt's extra dark chocolate (85% and 99%) that is not listed in a lot of other bars in the same cocoa percentage range, which gives it a different flavour.  I'll let you decide for yourself if you prefer Lindt's flavour over that of small bean-to-bar chocolate companies. 

So here is an interesting challenge: Hold a chocolate tasting party and compare Lindt's 85% to Theo's 85% (see below for Theo's website to order) or if you are in Canada and do not want to order online, try Lindt's against President's Choice 85% or a Camino Organic & Fair Trade bar in the same % range.  It makes for an interesting taste comparison. Perhaps you and your chocolate-loving friends can verbalize Lindt's distinct flavour better than I can!  If so, feel free to write it in the Comments area below!

I ordered these two Theo bars from along with several other brands, but you can also order from Theo's website directly.

Theo Organic Fair Trade Ultimate Dark Chocolate, 85% cacao, 3 oz (84g)
Theo Chocolate (Seattle, WA, USA)
Ingredients: cocoa beans*+, sugar*+, cocoa butter*+, ground vanilla bean*. *Organic  +Fair Trade.
Manufactured on shared equipment with products containing milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts & other nuts.

Theo Organic 84% Dark Chocolate, Cacao Origin: Dominican Republic, 3 oz (85g)
Theo Chocolate (Seattle, WA, USA)
Ingredients: Cocoa Beans (Dominican Republic)*, Sugar*+, Cocoa Butter*, Ground Vanilla Bean*.
*Organic +Fair Trade Certified. Certified Organic by Washington State Department of Agriculture. Manufactured on shared equipment with products containing wheat, milk, eggs, peanuts and other nuts.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Want to be a 'Chocolate Connoisseur'? Better Try it Stone Ground then!

Just when I thought I had tried it all, I learned that I have not.  Admittedly, I have eaten hundreds of different chocolate bars, if not thousands.  And since I am on a mission to become a proper chocolate connoisseur, I have eaten everything from cocoa beans, cocoa nibs, smooth chocolate to filled chocolate. I have even crushed cocoa beans and brewed a coffee-like beverage with them. I have eaten "raw" chocolate, "virgin" chocolate and all chocolate in between. However, there was still one type of chocolate that I had not yet tried, and that was "Stone Ground" made by TAZA chocolate.

Having tasted minimally processed chocolate before (sometimes called raw, or virgin depending on the manufacturer), I expected "stone ground" chocolate to be similar; slightly grittier and not quite as smooth as chocolate that is processed the 'regular' way.  I recently wrote about Raaka Virgin Chocolate being not quite as smooth as, say, a Lindt chocolate bar, but it is healthier for you.  Also, the texture of raw chocolate, like that made by Pacari, also lacks complete smoothness.  So I assumed that TAZA's "Stone Ground" chocolate would be similar to those, but I was wrong.  It was much, much grittier.

So how can I describe this tasting experience?  It is exactly like eating tiny stones that are ground by other larger stones. Oh wait, I am describing sand. Okay, so it is sort of like eating sand, except that is it cocoa beans, vanilla beans and sugar ground up.

I could see how someone who is used to only eating Lindt chocolate bars would react to Stone Ground chocolate.  Likely they would be shocked by the texture, maybe say that is is NOT CHOCOLATE and perhaps never buy it again simply because it is different than what they are used to. At least, that may have been my reaction 10 years ago when I thought Lindt chocolate was the highest quality chocolate that I could buy and nothing else existed in this world quite like it. And not that Lindt is not great chocolate, but in the last ten years I have discovered that the world of chocolate is so full of different tastes, different textures and overall, different experiences. So my reaction today is the just opposite of what it would have been back then.  I instantly loved the grittiness of TAZA because it offers me a new and more importantly, a different, experience!

Since this is my first TAZA chocolate tasting, I do not want to generalize and so I will tell you a little about the bar that I am tasting.  It is the TAZA 80% Stone Ground Organic chocolate bar in a 3 oz (85g) size. The beans are single origin, from the Dominican Republic, and the chocolate is listed as "dairy free - gluten free - soy free". The flavour is fantastic and slightly fruity and tangy at the same time and it holds up well to other Dominican Republic chocolate bars that I have tasted. The difference is that there are tiny particles left in your mouth, including crunchy sugar and bean parts. It does eventually melt away, but the texture starts out like fine beach sand. I am looking forward to trying more of TAZA's chocolate to see how it compares to this bar.

So why make chocolate by grinding cocoa beans with stones?  Well, TAZA says that by minimally processing the chocolate, they can preserve the flavours of the cocoa beans.  I agree and add that minimal processing also should preserve the flavanols and antioxidants in the chocolate, and so it should be healthier for you.  You can learn more about their chocolate making process here:

Also, what is really cool about TAZA's website is that you can enter the batch number of your chocolate bar and they will tell you more about it! Mine was batch #500 and a simple search gave me all sorts of info about my specific chocolate bar.  Check it out:  They also gave me the weather in the Dominican Republic (a little depressing, truthfully, since I am in Canada's north country right now and looking at a snow-covered landscape through the window).

However, I LOVE that I know which day my chocolate bar was made on, and the exact origin of the cacao beans.  It makes me completely trust in this product, which is great in an age where we are not always sure of what is in our food.  I think TAZA has had a great idea here and, through their website, has taken this whole 'small batch bean-to-bar' trend just a little further than everyone else.

So if you are trying to become a chocolate connoisseur, do not just stick to your regular smooth chocolate bar that costs $2.99. Try something a little different and see if you like it.  You might not, but it is an experience worth having!

As usual, here are the details from the package of the chocolate bar that I tasted today (my 'package details' report seems so old-school now considering that TAZA has this stuff searchable on their web site!):

TAZA chocolate (Somerville, MA, USA)
Ingredients: cacao beans (Dominican Republic), cane sugar, cocoa butter, whole vanilla beans.  All ingredients certified organic. May contain traces of nuts.  Batch #500: 80%, Bean Origin: Dominican Republic.