Vintage Plantations really does do some pretty packaging. The artsy green, purple, red-brown, and yellow shades of this paper envelope excite attention and bring that same attention back to the source of this chocolate, the cocoa plantation. You can see the purple pods growing off of the tree there on the right.
I believe this is my third bar from Vintage Plantations. It's a standard cocoa content at 75%; the origin is St. Martin, Peru. Given what I have said before about the store where I've been buying these bars, I should have opened this one up as soon as I bought it: they tend to sit on those shelves for a while. But I guess I was so busy with other chocolate products that I let this one sit even longer, so that it is, sadly, now far from its prime. So no comments on texture or melting: it has turned kind of stiff with age, as chocolate does. But the flavors are still in there, so that is what I will turn the focus toward.
This chocolate tastes exactly like the packaging. Bright and bold, yet with a deeper subtlety. I always describe cacao nibs as having a blue or purple taste--that's very similar to what I'm getting from this bar. That deep fruit richness, as opposed to the bouncier fruity notes of chocolate made with cocoa beans from Madagascar. It isn't bitter at all, which makes its depth smooth and tranquil. After you've had a few pieces, maybe you start to get just a hint of sugar sweetness (the only sweetener, of course, is organic evaporated cane sugar). The only other ingredients, I might add, are cocoa beans and some additional cocoa butter. No vanilla, which is a testament to how well Vintage Plantations can bring out flavor: most companies add vanilla.
Honestly, I wasn't too excited on starting this bar (despite the pretty packaging) because I knew it was probably getting a little old. But I find that I'm still enjoying it: there is still so much more depth of flavor than so many dark chocolates have. I'm beginning to wonder why I don't see or hear more about Vintage Plantations; maybe it's because they're on the East Coast. Because, otherwise, they have so many factors right: organic, bean-to-bar, attention to the plantations, nice packaging, and depth of flavor.