In the run-up to Halloween, I’m not so concerned with all the vampires, gas mask–wearing Walter Whites and twerking Miley Cyruses that will be running amok. I’m worried about the giant case of sugar shock that I will fall victim to after I’ve eaten a million mini candy bars.
I am totally a dark chocolate type of guy and it seems like a lot of people, have become more of a fan of dark chocolate recently. (The rise in popularity might have something to do with its alleged health benefits; for one thing, it’s high in antioxidants. That is all I needed to know! LOL!)
Coincidentally, there’s some great new dark chocolate out there and I have been exploring different brands. It is simply a culinary experiment! Who are you to judge?? LOL!
Batch PDX (Portland, Oregon)
These confections have the tagline Chocolate Hedonism (exactly!). Flavors include Ghost Pepper (the scarily hot pepper is used to infuse dark chocolate ganache truffles; one pepper spikes more than 70 truffles) and the Joyful Almond (dark chocolate-covered coconut ganache gets an almond topper; it’s like the ultimate Almond Joy).
Chocolate South (Atlanta, Georgia)
This shop focuses on the flavors of the South. The truffle menu is divided into Great Southern Getaways, Tea Time, River & Sea and Southern Gardens. Bonbons include the Peach Tea (a dark chocolate truffle infused with local Georgia Peaches Tea), the Mississippi Mud (bittersweet chocolate and vanilla-infused cream covered in more dark chocolate) and the Key Lime (you guessed it: key lime–infused chocolate).
Fine & Raw (Brooklyn, New York) – One of my favorites!
Of course Brooklyn has a new chocolate lab; this one is in Bushwick and uses organic, fair-trade cacao from sustainable farms that grow heirloom cacao varieties to make raw chocolate. Fine & Raw uses blue agave nectar as a sweetener and adds cold-pressed coconut oil and Himalayan salt. They also argue that raw chocolate is full of health benefits – an appetite suppressant, aphrodisiac, high in minerals and antioxidants. They offer bars, including Mesquite, as well as bonbons, like smoky Chipotle and Cacao & Coconut.
ChocoVivo (Los Angeles, California)
This bean-to-bar shop and tasting bar now has a location in Culver City. They make only dark chocolate, using organically grown cacao beans from Tabasco, Mexico. Besides chocolate bars, this is a place to find cool chocolate butters (stone-ground cacao nibs blended with almond, caramel or hazelnut), chocolate powders (chocolate bars that have been ground to powder for chocolate drinks and smoothies). The Mayan Tradition chocolate powder includes cacao, chipotle, guajillo and pasilla negro chiles as well as cinnamon and almonds; the 100% cacao powder is “not for the faint of heart,” according to the website – completely unsweetened. Something a new dark chocolate devotee, like me, is probably not ready for yet.
Let me know your favorite chocolate brands – I could have list names like Godiva and Vosges but, I wanted it to stay more local and less of a national representation for my friends around the country. I am surely missing some great brands and would love to hear from you but, I believe this is a great representation.
Let me know what you are nibbling on lately for dark chocolate.