With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I thought I would review some chocolate with a distinct feminine vibe. Antidote Chocolate blends organic and raw dark chocolate with innovative flavorings such as lavender and red salt. This is not the first chocolate bar line to focus on exotically flavored chocolate, but most of those bars are milk chocolate with too much sugar and cacao of unknown origin. Antidote Chocolate has gone somewhere completely different – taking single-origin organic beans and working their culinary magic to produce fresh new flavor combinations.
The creative force behind Antidote is founder Red Thalhammer, a successful communications designer with experience in packaging design for fine foods. Red conceived the flavors and oversees the whole process from sourcing of beans to making of the bars. It’s all wrapped in artful packaging extolling the virtues of women. Each bar is named for a Greek goddess and embodies her admirable qualities. By keeping the cacao % high – at least 77%, she respects a women’s desire to stay healthy and indulge at the same time. She also employs an unusual recipe of 50% raw cacao and 50% roasted to optimize the health benefits and flavor.
I approached the tasting with some trepidation for fear that I might experience a Mel Gibson-like transformation as in the movie “What Women Want.” You know, he plays the ad executive who tries out products in a Women’s market research package and in a freak accident, gains the ability to hear women’s thoughts. I mean, as much as I would love to exploit the skill of reading women’s minds, I’m not sure I want to know everything my wife is thinking after ten years of marriage. Thankfully, that’s all fiction, so I went ahead and ate the chocolate.
WHAT: Antidote Ginger + Goldenberry Dark Chocolate. A.K.A. Aletheia: Greek goddess of truth and wisdom. 77% Cacao. A blend of raw and roasted beans. 50 g (1.8 oz). Ingredients: cacao beans, whole cane sugar, gooseberry, ginger, soy lecithin (gmo-free). Dairy free, gluten free and vegan.
Where to buy Antidote Ginger + Goldenberry Dark Chocolate.
WHEN: April 14, 2013
OVERALL RATING: 88.
AROMA: Orange blossom, wine, citrus, cream. There’s more balance of cocoa aroma than with the next bar.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: Immediate tart fruit from generous helping of goldenberry sitting on the outside of the bar, raisin, ginger,cherry.
MIDDLE TASTE: It’s quite an adventure – tart berries, lively, but not burning ginger, then the chocolate becomes fluid just before the fruit and ginger form a compote in your mouth, with notes of apricot and prune. I tasted a piece that was only chocolate and found warm lavender notes with prune and raisin.
FINISH: You’re left with some ginger and lavender notes at end. The finish is overall very clean with not much chocolate at end. Still not bitter.
TEXTURE: Chewy with plenty of fruit.
WHAT: Antidote Coffee + Cardamom Dark Chocolate. A.K.A. Kakia: wicked Greek goddess of vice – Strong and passionate. 77% Cacao. A blend of raw and roasted beans. 50 g (1.8 oz). Ingredients: cacao beans, whole cane sugar, coffee beans, cardamom, soy lecithin (gmo-free). Dairy free, gluten free and vegan.
Where to buy Antidote Coffee + Cardamom Dark Chocolate.
WHEN: April 14, 2013
OVERALL RATING: 80.
AROMA: Heady, awakening, earthy, burnt parchment, aromatic herbs, molasses, anise, cardamom. The aroma was fantastic.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: All cardamom.
MIDDLE TASTE: Grilled meat, mouth-filling roast, aromatics, and raisins.
FINISH: You get a pop of sweetness as the coffee and sugar compete then lingering coffee and cardamom at the end.
TEXTURE: Expect some residual grittiness from the coffee and cardamom towards the end. This should be no surprise as ground spices are used rather than extracts of some sort.
LAST BITE: I didn’t find the Coffee + Cardamom very feminine, but that might just reflect my preconceived notion of womanly chocolate. The coffee doesn’t show up much until the end, which is fine because it doesn’t compete with the chocolate. Still, this bar is full of bold flavors and potent aroma in keeping with its name sake – the strong and passionate Kakia. I get it.
The Ginger plus Goldenberry bar was the clear winner in my eyes – the bright, tart fruit was potent and blended well with the ultra dark bar. I’ve tasted many ginger chocolate bars and I’ve found that the marriage of flavors works only sometimes. When it doesn’t work, it tastes a tad bit like, sorry, vomit. When it does work, it’s a fantastic combination. Maybe the key is the high cacao of the Antidote bars keeping the ginger in check or the tartness of the goldenberries helping to integrate it all. Either way, it’s great stuff.
Antidote Chocolate avoids pompousness of some culinary-based chocolate bars and brings it down to earth while managing to be hip without being pretentious. After all, this is single-origin, organic and fair trade chocolate – how much more grounded can it be? This is chocolate worth trying for any healthy mom or woman or…why not…man.
NOTE: These bars were sent to me for free by Antidote Chocolate.