While Stone Grindz makes excellent plain dark chocolate, I've also found that their flavored chocolates are generally incredible--and uniquely so. They're always coming out with small batches of different flavors, and the one I'm looking at today is one I've been hanging onto for a while. It's the Wild Raspberry Jam. And it is, yes, incredible.
Packaging is according to the usual Stone Grindz look. When the seasonal flavors are in card boxes, a sticker label has the info for the individual flavor, so that the same packaging can be used for all the different flavors they can come up with. You'll note that, besides the standard sugar and vanilla, the only non-cocoa ingredient is freeze-dried wild raspberries. Nothing sounds too unusual at this point.
But once you put one of those little alpaca-bedecked chocolate squares into your mouth, the magic begins. We know the whole fireworks exploding metaphor--but it isn't an exaggeration in this case. The cool, rich dark chocolate (which is on the "sweeter" side at 60% cocoa) barely has a chance to begin expressing itself before your taste buds are embraced by fresh berry jam flavor. While you are intoxicated by the berries, the chocolate's flavors weaves within it all like the two are enjoying an embrace. Past the halfway point, you might get a hint of tang that could be either trace cocoa bitterness or berry tartness: the two are so blended together that the idea of either or feels one and the same. But it's just a hint: otherwise, this is a mellow and soft and smooth chocolate, in terms of chocolate darkness.
It's also just the right level of sweet. This is not a cocoa content (60%) that generally works well. Usually it ends up being too sweet or not quite right, with the chocolate developed enough. But here, it's just right to add a touch of sugar to the berries but not enough to take away the chocolate's qualities. I'm still getting myself accustomed to eating most berries--and raspberry jelly/jam is probably the last berry jelly I would reach for. But if I could spread this chocolate bar on a piece of bread, well, that would be another story. Just the thought makes me imagine I taste cream in the chocolate, like it's part of a cream-and-jellied scone at afternoon tea.
I've had freeze-dried berries in chocolate bars before. But not like this. This tastes more like the flavor of a berry truffle, especially when paired with the soft smoothness of the Stone Grindz chocolate. While you may not happen on this particular flavor again, I do recommend any other similar flavors you might come across. Like I said, they're always trying out new ones. And this one turned out to be one of my favorites.
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