While World Market did have a few bars from Shattell, I decided to just start with one--and now probably they don't even have the rest anymore. If that's the case, that's kind of a shame: this has turned out to be a gorgeous bar of chocolate.
I chose the 70% Cacao bar, marked as Single Origin Pucacaca - Peru. The cool thing is that this chocolate is both sourced from Peru and made in Peru. Shattell is based in Lima. So we're continuing our trend here of trying chocolate made in a greater variety of countries--and it's even better that besides just being from a country whose chocolate I don't come across often, this chocolate is made in the country in which it was grown. (That was not a wordy sentence; I don't know what you're talking about.) And it's organic, which is great, as well.
The packaging hits that trendy mark that gives a sense of the natural world, artisan products, etc. Inside the blue, llama-bedecked card box is a matte gold wrapper, which makes for a nice change from the usual gold/silver foil or clear wrap. The bar is quite beautiful. Even though the design is simply rectangles, there is a subtle curving to them that enhances the look. The surface, too, comes across as rich and red and more than usually appealing. Because the aroma is both pleasant and bitter, I worried that the chocolate might taste overly bitter.
That, however, did not end up being the case. The first phrase that came to mind initially was cherry bark. I guess the flavor was halfway between sweet and zingy. The texture, from the start, was slightly dusty. Quickly, the flavor developed into that specific taste belonging to cocoa nibs; this is a flavor that can be potentially bitter but in this case didn't register at all as such. There is definitely some sweetness to this chocolate; it's the sweetness of unrefined cane sugar, though, along with warm cocoa flavor. So simple, that's how this chocolate's flavor comes across--and yet it is so specific that it feels quite artful. It hits that line where it tastes of chocolate but is also sweet and yet not in that weird "sweet dark chocolate" way at all.
And that slight dusty texture? It continues throughout, but it works here and somehow goes beautifully with the flavor. I don't know, it makes me feel like someone just made this chocolate in their home in front of me and then offered it to me and I ate it like a piece of gingerbread. There truly is something stylistically different about this chocolate compared with the usual chocolates made in the U.S. or U.K. or Europe. So I'll repeat what I said earlier: this chocolate is gorgeous.