On Friday September 14th we decided to challenge our taste buds and indulge in another chocolate tasting. Upon selecting a consistent theme for flavor and style, orange stood out as an incorporated element that could easily improve or blanket the superior quality of a well made bar. With a similar approach to our previous mint chocolate engagement we started by selecting a high quality assortment from the local natural foods store. USDA Organic, Fair Trade and a cocoa content of 60-70%were also a concern as we support the proper care for international workers, the ingredients found in high quality products and ultimately the origin of cacao beans.
We discussed some factors before hearing that satisfying snap of a well tempered chocolate bar. How would each company represent an ideal level of orange. With chocolate already existing as a perfect combination of naturally sweet and bitter flavors would the inclusion of citrus and tang be obtrusive. Would the flavor profiles emerge as subtle or harsh? Orange is used for its abundant vitamin c content, zesty flavored peel and sweet satiating juice. Will it succeed within the finely crafted bars of origins ranging from Latin America to Africa?
So what is a chocolate tasting without results? Here is a conclusive series of notes for each brand broken up by TEXTURE, FLAVOR and OVERALL EXPERIENCE.
Alter Eco – Dark Twist, crystallized orange peel VIBRANT AND TANGY
Texture: Well tempered snap, quickly melts, smooth, chunks of crystallized peel throughout, peel similar to consistency of raisins
Flavor: Primary flavor mild citrus with undertone of bitter nut oil. Vibrant warm secondary flavors, bright clear “Sunny D” punch,
Overall: This bar contains the complexity of odd textured orange peel that leaves a raisin like feel in the mouth. It’s bright bold sweetness is enjoyable, but to us it seemed that too much was going on and it obstructed many of the flavor characteristics of the raw chocolate.
Theo – Orange, DARK CHOCOLATE
Texture: Light/airy seeming, matte finish, sharp snap, well tempered
Flavor: Mild tang, slight bitterness, hint of citrus, secondary flavors intensify, flavors dissipate quickly
Overall: The composition and structure of this bar screams quality chocolate while the flavor experience says basic. In the initial moments expect very little flavor with the primary being standard dark chocolate. Citrus can be detected, but ultimately only intensifies in the final seconds of consumption.
Equal Exchange – Orange Dark Chocolate
Texture: Oily, softer snap, dense, smooth, slow melting rate
Flavor: Essence of fruit from start to finish, balance of oils and added ingredients with natural chocolate flavor, undertones of vanilla
Overall: The simplicity and quality of this bar allowed for the pairing of orange and chocolate flavors to shine. A consistent fresh fruitiness with less elements of tang seemed to make the whole tasting experience enjoyable.