Tag Archives: 70% cacao

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.

 

 

Divine 70% Dark Chocolate with Raspberries

Divine 70% with Raspberries

Fair trade chocolate at an accessible price.

If I have to choose between organic chocolate and fair trade, I will usually choose organic.  Fair trade is a complicated subject, but the chocolate that I eat is almost always premium bars meaning the chocolate maker is paying top prices for the beans – well over the fair trade minimum.  In essence, I’ve got fair trade covered when I buy premium bars such as those by Amano, Pralus, Zotter and Original Beans, to name a few.

I understand not everyone wants to shell out five to ten bucks for a bar, even if it’s the good stuff.  If you’re looking for value, you might have to go with something made from more of a bulk bean such as the Forestero variety that’s ubiquitous in Ghana.   Thanks to Divine chocolate you can pick up some dark and accessible goodness for about  four dollars.  It’s not organic, but at least it’s fair trade.

I had run out of chocolate while on a little vacation trip last year and picked up this Divine Chocolate bar to keep me going.  Here’s what I found.

WHAT:  Divine 70% Dark Chocolate with Raspberries.  3.5 oz..  Ingredients: Fairtrade cocoa mass, Fairtrade sugar, Fairtrade cocoa butter, Freeze dried raspberry granules 3%, Emulsifier: soya lecithin (non GM), Natural raspberry flavor, Fairtrade vanilla.

Where to buy: Ten Thousand Villages (availability may vary by store) and some natural foods stores.

Divine 70% dark chocolate with raspberries

There’s more than a generous helping of raspberries in this dark chocolate.

WHEN:  July,  2013.

OVERALL RATING: 79.

Aroma – as much raspberries as chocolate.  Butter, light roast, ham, rubber.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS:  Caramel and, of course, raspberry.

MIDDLE TASTE:  The raspberry flavor gets more tart in the middle with some acidity to balance out the chocolate.  The base chocolate is relatively simple, but with decent structure.  It takes a lot to stand up to the tartness of the raspberries and this chocolate, while not mellow, is not quite strong enough to win the fight.

FINISH:  The chocolate comes back on top at the end with warm notes turning into bread and butter flavors.

TEXTURE: There are tons of raspberries here, as there should be to give an interesting crunchy texture that turns smooth with a few seeds left at the end.

LAST BITE: A funny thing happens when dried raspberries combine with chocolate – it creates a sort of artificial candy scent.  To be clear, there is nothing artificial in this bar, but if you’re like me, you will feel this unnaturalness about it.  Later as it all melts and the raspberries come to life, it feels more real – like the mouthful of chocolate coated raspberries that it is.

I have mixed feelings about chocolate from Ghana since it’s been reported that some of the farming practices there are not very sustainable, let’s say.  But I do like that Divine gives partial company ownership to the farmers so that they can share in the profits and we get a decent bar at a decent price.  If they can find a way to clean up the farming practices in Ghana so their more environmentally and people friendly, we’ll have a win-win-win.  Ghana produces tons of cacao beans every year, so I think we’d best be patient and support movements in the right direction such as Divine Chocolate.

If you’re looking for value chocolate that’s organic, you might also want to try the prolific Theo Chocolate.

Note: I paid for this chocolate myself.