Friday, October 28, 2016

Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate: Madagascar Sambirano

Here I have the last of a couple of chocolate gifts that came to me from Utah. This one is another chocolate bar, and it is also from a California company, Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate. This company seems familiar but I know I've never tried their products before. Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor started the factory six years ago in Eureka, California, where they make their chocolate from the bean; they add only organic cocoa and organic cane sugar. The chocolate bar that I have is their Madagascar Sambirano.

More good signs are there in the packaging. The cream paper and black ink illustrations of boats give it an old world feel. I love the way the foil is wrapped, with an envelope shape. The chocolate is set at a different angle in the foil so that it brings up images of diamond shapes when you unwrap it. And the chocolate bar's mold is the most intricate one I have ever seen. Look at the fine details of that pattern and how small all of those shapes are. It's beautiful. There are certainly plenty of tiny air bubbles in the surface because of how small and fine the pattern's cuts are, but that isn't at all a problem.

Now it's time to mention the one downside, which is not a fault of the company: this chocolate bar's best by date was back in April. That's the thing about fine chocolate in little, random shops: not everyone chooses to buy it instead of caramels or lollipops or cheaper chocolate or whatever else is there. So it sits waiting on the shelf much longer than it should have to. Consequently, the original shine of the chocolate is completely gone because of how old it is, so I have no way to judge the quality of that, unfortunately.

The color is rather light with a reddish tone. This is a 72% cacao content chocolate, by the way. Its aroma is deep but not bitter.

Now the question of whether or not all the good signs are accurate predictions for the chocolate itself.

The taste is slightly bitter at first and there is a slightly dusty texture in the beginning. Then these fade and I forget they were ever there. Everything starts simultaneously to mellow and deepen. Sweet and fruity flavors emerge; the light almost-bitterness of citrus floats toward the top while the base flavor remains rich and solid. This chocolate, in fact, tastes more like citrus than any other that I can think of tasting--not, of course, like orange-flavored chocolate but simply like chocolate with citrus flavor notes. The finish is a friendly and mild goodbye.

My opinion: it's very nice.

And then I looked at the Dick Taylor online page for this chocolate bar and found that it won Gold at the Academy of Chocolate Awards this year. So it is apparent that my opinion does not belong to me alone: this chocolate has certainly received positive attention if it won Gold.

If you were wondering, here are the flavor notes that they provide online: aroma - molasses, flavor - orange/raisin, finish - toast. I did get the main flavor, and I would say that the rest make sense, even if I didn't specifically pick them up (I'm the first to admit that I never can name a collection of flavor notes, which is why I've made up my own way to describe chocolate.)

I admit that, even though I loved the packaging here and the chocolate bar's mold was so unique, I worried that the chocolate wouldn't live up to the implied quality. So I'm happy to report that it did live up to that high standard. I would definitely try more from this company if I ever come across them again.

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