How could I possibly resist the packaging of this little 70% Dark Chocolate bar from Woodblock Chocolate? How? I'm a Victorian at heart in many ways, so the fluffy roses against the cream background and the name and the whole "handmade in this one city in Oregon" thing just won me over. The tiny bar doesn't really have any info on cacao origin, so I knew I was possibly bending my chocolate rules a bit by buying this one, but I decided that the whole handmade thing would be enough, if nothing else.
Now, I'll note here that I didn't look up the company until after I'd put together my tasting notes (you never want to read the good things a company has to say about itself until after you've tasted the chocolate, otherwise you'll bias yourself, one way or another). But it turns out that they do have specific information on their website about the plantations where they obtain their cocoa. This bar is their house blend, which is the Cajamarca, Peru together with Balau, Ecuador. Woodblock adds nothing to the chocolate except for sugar. They describe this house blend as essentially being an elevated version of the familiar, what I would call something approachable that is also better than what you might be used to. That is, something that will be easy to take in for someone who hasn't had much artisan chocolate and also something that will work well with added flavors.
This chocolate is exactly what they promise.
I've already mentioned how lovely the packaging is. The roses, by the way, are there because Portland, Oregeon is apparently the "City of Roses." This bar is quite small at just 25 grams, which I naturally like because I think that most chocolate bars are in fact too big. Smaller bars will encourage us to support better quality and better ethics in the chocolate that we consume.
The design of the chocolate goes along with the "woodblock" concept. The more masculine, woodsy look sets nicely against the feminine, rosey look of the outside. The chocolate smells deep and silvery, akin to something like Ghirardelli. It snaps well. Initially a little hint of bitterness plays around the edges of thought, not quite tangible but just enough to give it a little twist. There is that taste of sugar in there where it's kind of a separate element. A little bit in, the flavors develops more into a chocolate richness, becoming warm and deep. Essentially ti's that straightforward and strong and great cocoa flavor.
What this chocolate is is a wonderful example of a nice and solid dark chocolate. Familiar, endearing, comforting, and straightforward. The elegant, handmade look of the packaging (and Woodblock's own description on their website) perfectly describes what this chocolate brings. Nicely done. This was another chocolate I found at World Market and I only picked up the one bar. So while I don't know if I'll be seeing anymore around, I'll now feel free to get more if I do come across more.