Monday, November 19, 2007

DeVries 77% Costa Rican Trinitario Dark Chocolate

Cocoa content: 77%
Sugars per serving: unknown
Other notables: Made in Denver, Colorado

Smoooooooth. Smooth. Smooth. This is the smoothest chocolate I have ever had. The cocoa beans are conched for over three days, which must be part of it. The chocolate comes as two 1.15 ounce bars wrapped in clear plastic. I ordered mine from their website.

This chocolate has a distinct olive-like scent, which must come from the Costa Rican trinitario cacao variety. There is nothing else to smell.

This is also the snappiest chocolate I have had. The chocolate is solid and actually requires some effort (either hands or teeth) to snap off a piece.

Did I say smooth yet? There is no hint of chalkiness or graininess in this bar, just exquisitely smooth chocolate. It melts slowly, with a pronounced chocolate flavor. The olive-like quality of the chocolate is also present in its taste, along with a nice strong, roasted chocolate flavor. This is pure, unadulterated chocolate. Despite the small size of the bars, I ate them in several sittings, because it doesn't take much to get a big do

Last Thoughts
This is the highest quality chocolate I've ever tasted. It is good and strong. I love how there are just two ingredients -- cocoa beans and cane sugar. Nothing gets in the way of the chocolate flavor, a flavor that tastes unique to the location and variety of the beans it came from.

The only reason I don't give this chocolate 5 out of 5 is that I don't love the olive-like flavor of this variety.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Aztec Dudes

Saturday, November 17, 2007

New Rating System

Up until now, I've been rating chocolates by cacao pods, with a numeric rating at the bottom of each review. It worked, but it didn't seem very interesting.

As of now, I'm going to start using the much improved Aztec Cacao Dude!

The image is of an ancient Aztec Statue. The statue, as you can see, is of a man holding a cacao bean.

I've updated all of my previous reviews with the new visual rating, and will use the dude going forward.

Thanks to Wikipedia for helping me find this image.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Review: Newtree Blush Dark Chocolate with Cherry

Cocoa content: 73%
Sugars per serving: 13 g
Other notables: Grape extract is added to increase the antioxidant content.

When I opened the bar, there was a strong cherry scent, with just a hint of chocolate. Nice!

Snappage is high - this is some nice crisp chocolate.

The mouth texture is a little bit chalky. Given the strength of the cherry scent, the flavor is surprisingly un-sweet. The chocolate flavor is rich, slightly bitter, slightly toasty. The aftertastes are bitter and cherry. The flavors really work well together.

This is one of my favorite bars.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Aztec Dudes

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Review: Seeds of Change Bayano Dark Chocolate with Cacao Nibs and Cinnamon Oil

Cocoa content: 70%
Sugars per serving: 14 g
Other notables: Organic

Quite a name, isn't it?

This chocolate has a typical intense chocolatey smell. It's sweet and noticeably fruity, which was a little unexpected.

The bar itself doesn't have much snap to it -- feels like a bar with more fat (cocoa butter) and less cocoa solids. This is a little surprising given the 70% cacao content, but the info on the inside of the wrapper describes why -- And we've included nibs from the inner kernel of the cacao bean, boosting the cacao content to 70%. So the chocolate by itself isn't 70%, but a lower cacao content + nibs = 70%. Interesting, no?

Medium chocolate flavor, strong cinnamon flavor. There's a noticeable fruity flavor, but I'm not sure where it comes from. It's either a result of the cacao variety, or it's from the cinnamon oil. The cinnamon flavor tastes very fresh and strong -- not like jarred powdered cinnamon. The nibs add a nice crunch to it -- they're little pieces, relatively uniform in size. They add a little flavor, but not much, unless you hold off chewing them until the chocolate has melted! Then they have a nice toasted flavor, but not overly intense.

Overall, the chocolate intensity was a little weak for my taste, but I liked the cinnamon and the crunch of the cacao nibs.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Aztec Dudes

Monday, May 21, 2007

Review: Hachez Cocoa D'Arriba Mango Chili

Cocoa content: 77%
Sugars per serving: not specified (the bar is imported from Germany)

Rich, sweet, and fruity with a kick!

This bar's predominant smell is sweet mango. There is almost no noticeable chocolate smell at first. The chocolate has medium snappage when breaking off a piece.

A bite of this bar starts with powerful fruity mango flavor, followed by a mild burn at the back of the throat -- the chili kicks in and the spice grows. The chocolate flavor is very subtle at first, but eventually, all three flavors start to meld, blend, and complement each other.

The bitter chocolate really balances the other flavors.

The aftertaste includes slightly bitter chocolate, slightly sweet mango, and a little afterburn of chili. It's just a a little sweet for my taste, but overall very good.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Aztec Dudes

Friday, March 30, 2007

Review: Astor Key Lime Dark Chocolate

Cocoa content: not specified
Sugars per serving: 29 g (adjusted: 20g)

The bar smells of sweet sweet chocolate, which makes sense given how much sugar is in the bar (however, nutrition information, including the sugars above, was for the whole bar, which is more than a typical serving). It actually smells a bit like an Andes chocolate mint, without the minty smell. The cocoa content wasn't specified on the wrapper, but I would guess it's less than 60%, probably around 50%.

Each piece of this bar has a key lime center. The chocolate breaks with a soft snap, and the chocolate in general is soft. The key lime flavor is strong and the chocolate flavor is a bit weak, so the predominant flavor is lime, not chocolate. According to the ingredients, the lime flavor is natural, not artificial.

Overall, I wasn't very impressed with this bar from Astor Chocolate.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Aztec Dudes

Monday, March 19, 2007

Review: Endangered Species Extreme Dark Chocolate

Cocoa content: 88%
Sugars per serving: 8 g

Everything about this bar is intense. When I opened the wrapper, there was a strong smell of chocolate, with a bit of sweetness, like a burnt sweet smell. The chocolate breaks with a solid snap.

Wow. The flavor is quite smooth for a chocolate with 88% cocoa. The bitterness is well balanced. The chocolate melts smoothly in the mouth, with a little chalkiness.

There's a quality that some high-cocoa content chocolate has, where it feels like the chocolate is completely sucking the moisture out of your mouth (I'm sure there's a more scientific description of it, but moisture-sucking works for me). I get only a faint hint of that with this chocolate, although it was more noticeable with the more pieces I ate.

The aftertaste is mostly bitter, with a mild sweetness. This is not a bar I could finish in one (or two or three) sittings -- it's good, but it's too strong.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Aztec Dudes