I last looked at the Almond Butter and Black Lava Salt bar from Stone Grindz; the one we have here today is their Bourbon Pecan and Dark Cherry. It comes in the usual 70% dark chocolate. Do forgive if you catch some of the melting on the edge in the pictures. That was probably my fault; warm weather and chocolate don't mix well and I don't always stay as strict about protecting my chocolate as I once did.
You can see, however, that the chocolate bar remains beautiful. The alpacas make their rows on the back, while four fat cherries sit in the front (or flip front and back, it's up to you). Those cherries look sumptuous, and the chocolate smells rich with their essence. I even imagine I can smell the pecans.
I began first at the cherry corner so as to get the full hit. That brought in the tart cherry flavor first, then woodsy and nutty pecan. The cherry is pleasingly soft for being dried--which is in fact quite remarkable. A good dried cherry in a chocolate bar is enough on its own to celebrate. In comparison to the cherry's tartness, the chocolate ends up being the sweet element here. It's something of a flip to view this dark chocolate that way since it's a reasonable semisweet dark chocolate and not what I would otherwise call a sweet dark chocolate.
As for the bourbon pecans, I can't say that I taste anything bourbon about them. The overall effect of the chocolate is rich, so perhaps the bourbon has a hand in that. But I can get a little more of a sense (almost) for the cinnamon sugar more than for the bourbon. What is quite nice about the pecans is their texture. It may vary from bar to bar, but mine only has small pieces and their texture is soft. So they have rather a crumbly presence that crunches softly. Add this pleasant texture to that of the cherries and this bar takes something familiar (fruit and nut chocolate) and makes it feel new.
Even without a bourbon flavor (which I honestly don't miss), the effect here is decadent. Once more, this chocolate bar hits a certain note that I would describe as classy casual. You can munch or you can savor--or a little bit of both.
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