Category Archives: Madagascar

Dick Taylor Madagascar Sambirano Dark Chocolate

Dick Taylor Open Bar 406

If you think this intricate molding is hard to achieve, it’s even more difficult without soy lecithin.   What a beautiful presentation!

I’ve found myself in a rut this year somehow eating only simple chocolates including some quasi-mass-market brands.  It’s what’s been lying around the kitchen and it has done a fine job at satisfying my impulse cravings, but has not been all that interesting.  That all changed when I found myself in Harvard Square this weekend where I stepped into the landmark gourmet shop – Cardullo’s.  Like other shops around the country, I’ve seen their selection of artisan chocolates slowly dwindle in recent years, but I knew I could rely upon them to have something beyond the average confection.

There I found Bonnat – too delicate, Dolfin – over refined, Antidote – fun, but I was not in the mood, and then Dick Taylor – perfect, reliably excellent.  And to be sure I had a good experience, I choose the Madagascar bar.  I’ve never met a Madagascan chocolate I didn’t like with typically a decent balance of fruit and roast.  What was more intriguing was that the cacao from this dark chocolate comes from the single estate, Akesson Plantation in the Sambirano Valley.  How would that affect the flavor profile?

Dick Taylor unopened 834Dick Taylor Madagascar Sambirano Dark Chocolate Review

WHAT: Dick Taylor Madagascar Sambirano 72% dark chocolate. 57 g. Ingredients: Cacao, cane sugar.  Both are organic.  I paid $11 in a specialty shop.  You might pay more or less.

WHEN: April 20, 2019  OVERALL RATING: 92.

AROMA:  Molasses, yogurt, caramel, cherry.


MIDDLE TASTE: Apple, then caramel and molasses again.

FINISH: Apple and citrus moving to caramel and dairy then back to apple / citrus repeatedly and finally resting on grape must.  A long and pleasant finish

TEXTURE: I love it when you press a bit of chocolate with your tongue and it flattens into a soft solid and then liquid.  No grains at all – perfectly refined without loosing flavor from being overworked.  Well done.

Last Bite:

Dick Taylor Wrapper 397

A heat-sealed foil wrapper so you don’t worry about freshness

I can safely declare that I’m out of my chocolate rut for now.  This was an excellent experience and uncommon to have such complexity in any chocolate.  What’s more, with the incredibly intricate molding this is also an beautiful bar for gifting.


Madecasse Arabica Coffee Milk Chocolate 44% Cocoa Review

Madecasse Arabica Coffee Milk Chocolate

Madecasse now makes a small 25g bar shown next to the full size bar. The back side is loaded with cacao nibs while the front has smooth squares with a color deep enough to be dark chocolate.

The package says “A dark milk chocolate with a coffee crunch.” I’ve heard this oxymoron before – “dark milk chocolate,” and always found it a bit perplexing.  Is this a dark chocolate or a milk chocolate and why can’t it make up its mind?  Well it contains milk, so by definition, it’s simply milk chocolate.  Some chocolate makers like to say “dark milk chocolate” to highlight the high 44% cocoa content compared to, say, a cheap, commonplace milk chocolate bar you might find at the pharmacy.

This is no commonplace bar.  Madecasse has created a blend of cacao nibs and chocolate, both from Madagascan trees and tossed in some shade grown coffee from the mountains of Madagascar.  Unexpected, yes, but how does it taste?

TASTING single-origin Madagascar CHOCOLATE

WHAT:  Madecasse Arabica Coffee Milk Chocolate.  44% Cacao. 25 g mini bar. Ingredients: Sugar, whole milk powder, cocoa beans, cocoa butter, Arabica coffee, soy lecithin, vanilla powder, sea salt.

Where to buy Madecasse Chocolate Online.

WHEN:  June 21, 2012                                OVERALL RATING:  78.

AROMA:  Coffee dominates the nose with a fresh percolated scent. Behind it is some oak and molasses.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS:  Coffee and wine.

MIDDLE TASTE: The coffee is still there along with molasses, butter, and orange cream-sickle.

FINISH:  The two-part finish starts with smooth coffee milk and ends with nuts, celery and light wood.

TEXTURE:  The nibs add a lot of crunch, of course, but they seem to be ground finer than in most nib bars.

LAST BITE:  I think it was a good call for Madecasse to choose milk chocolate for this bar so that the chocolate and coffee don’t compete too much.  Ironically, I think this bar in search of an identity will win over more dark chocolate lovers than milk chocolate lovers.  It’s sort of like dropping a shot of whiskey into your glass of iced rose and pretending it’s a refreshing summertime cooler.  It’s not.  This bar has some strong and complex flavors – a good thing.  Have fun with it.  For me, I’d rather go with a real dark chocolate, so I’ll take the Sea Salt and Nibs Dark Chocolate bar any day as my favorite from Madecasse.

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Notes: I paid for this chocolate myself.