Antidote Raw 100% with Dates Dark Chocolate

Antidote 100 plus dates_cor1I normally taste chocolate for these reviews first thing in the morning before I eat anything, and this time was no different. I set up some space to taste while my pallet came back to life after a deep winter’s sleep.  One whiff of this darkest of chocolates and I was immediately awake and hungry.  I couldn’t help but to dive into the tasting curious to discover how the bits of dates would enhance the chocolate – would they provide sweetness or just an accent?

Unlike in my previous Antidote Chocolate review, this bar contains no sugar, so it’s in a completely different class of dark, nearly black chocolate bars with only a few peers to keep it company.  For that reason, I’ve decided not to give it a numerical score – it just doesn’t equate to most of the other chocolates I’ve reviewed so far.  People eat extreme dark bars for many reasons, but for most it’s about a sugar-free healthy experience loaded with antioxidants.

Antidote uses raw organic cacao beans from the Camino Verde farm in Ecuador to make a potent dark chocolate.

Tasting Notes and Review of Antidote Raw 100% Cacao with Dates

WHAT: Antidote Raw 100% Cacao with Bits of Delicate Dates. 65g (2.3 oz). Ingredients: Cacao beans*, dates, cocao butter*.  *Certified organic. 

Where to buy Antidote Chocolate.

WHEN: November 26, 2015   OVERALL RATING: n/a.

AROMA: Floral and tannic with citrus, green apple, black tea and banana.  You can’t escape the nose.  It will find you.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: Grape skin, tannin, black tea.  Starts off slow and flat. You need to do some chewing to develop the range of flavors.

MIDDLE TASTE: Rose, malt, light ham, grape skin, cardamom, olive.

FINISH: Tannin gives way to almonds, walnuts, and more earthy notes like mushroom.  The finish is long lasting and less intense than the middle.

TEXTURE: On the crunchy end. Doesn’t melt on the tongue readily.

Antidote 100 warning crp

The warning on the back says it all. If you’re used to buying chocolate from the pharmacy, this might not be for you.  For the adventurous, *****

LAST BITE: What about the dates?  Don’t expect the dates to magically turn this bar into candy.  It’s not that kind of chocolate.  In fact, the dates don’t provide much of a sweetening effect – it’s more like a fruity note singing out from a small rowboat tossed about in a massive sea of cacao. Still, I’m glad they’re there.  My only advice for Antidote would be to chop the dates finer and add more of them so they are more like a chorus among the mighty waves of cacao.  There may be practical reasons why this is not possible, but it’s an idea worth considering. Or they may feel the bar simply rocks as is.

If you decide to try this bar, like many things in life, clarify your intentions first.  Do it because it’s satisfying, healthy, unique and fun.  I no longer felt hungry after a 3-4 squares (more than most people will ever need) and broke out from my usual somewhat sugared-up routine. Feels good.

NOTES:

[1] I paid for this bar myself (not a free sample).

Omnom Papua New Guinea 70% Dark Chocolate

Omnom Papua New Guinea

Single-origin organic dark chocolate made in Iceland

Holy crap.  This is the most ridiculously funky chocolate I have ever tasted.  Picture this: you’ve pitched an army-surplus canvas tent and then you break open several hundred cigarettes and spread the tobacco over the ground inside the tent.  Zipper the tent closed.  Now lie down on the bed of tobacco.  Breath in deep.  Got that aroma?  Now you’re starting to understand the experience of this dark chocolate.

Before I go any further, let’s back up a bit.  Omnom is a relatively new chocolate brand from Iceland. They’re possibly the only bean-to-bar maker in Iceland.  Omnom is using organic beans from a handful of tropical origins – some as single-origin bars and some apparently as blends.  They’re distinguishing themselves with eye-catching package artwork and unique flavor profiles.

WHAT: Omnom Papua New Guinea 70% Cacao. 60 g (2.1 oz). Ingredients: Organic cacao beans, raw cane sugar, cocoa butter.

Where to buy Omnom Papua New Guinea.

WHEN: November 30, 2014

OVERALL RATING: 82.

AROMA:  Potent tobacco, canvas, burnt grass, smoke, leather.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: Not just tobacco, but cigar wrapper leaf and smoke.

MIDDLE TASTE: Now the fruit appears from behind a curtain of smoke: banana, prune, kiwi, melon and molasses.

FINISH: Kiwi moves into citrus, walnuts then turns earthy and a bit astringent.

TEXTURE: These are thick bars with a little chew to them. Smooth, but not creamy.

Omnom Papua New Guinea Open bar

Wow – this bar has an over the top smoky tobacco and leather aroma that will knock you over.

LAST BITE:  I won’t pretend. There’s no doubt some of you will hate this bar. Those of you with open minds should really try it. Look, stop thinking of chocolate making as striving to a singular point of perfection. How interesting would it be if everyone on the planet looked more or less the same? Not very. Just like diversity in people makes life interesting, so it goes with food – even chocolate.

This is to chocolate what uni is to sushi.  If you’re a sushi neophyte, you don’t start with uni and it’s green-grey formless meat and pungent marine flavors.  Perhaps you start with California roll or maguro and then build your way up to the pleasure of uni, if you ever get there.

Still, all the masculine notes of tobacco, leather and smoke in the Omnom Papua New Guinea dark chocolate are really over the top. I really don’t know if this is intentional or by accident. For instance if the farmers in Papua New Guinea are drying the cacao beans under the heat of a fire of some rather than on terraces under the sun, that would explain a lot. On the other hand, if this is a true expression of the terroir of the bean, that’s real cool. If it can be controlled, I say back off a bit, but don’t try to make it taste like some bland and overworked “drugstore chocolate.” That would be throwing the baby out with the bath water. Keep the funkiness and stay true to the bean.

Sure, this stuff is not for everyone.  But, if you’re the type that shuns what everyone else is eating, especially tired, bland Swiss chocolate and want a unique experience, eat this bar and laugh.  I did.

Notes:

[1] The chocolate was provided to me for free by the distributor not knowing what I would do with it.