Tag Archives: 80% Cocoa

Antidote Organic Dark Chocolate

Anitdote Ginger and Goldenberry chocolate

Anitdote Ginger and Goldenberry Dark Chocolate – 77% Cacao

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.

The back side of Antidote Ginger plus Goldenberry dark chocolate

With a generous helping of ginger and goldenberries, you won’t be searching for flavor in this bar.

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.

The Coffee + Cardamom bar typifies the latent feminine virtues of power and passion.

The Coffee + Cardamom bar typifies the latent feminine virtues of power and passion.

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.

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Zotter Labooko Peru 60% / Peru 80% Dark Chocolate

Zotter Labooko Peru package art by Andreas H. Gratze

Zotter Labooko Peru package art by Andreas H. Gratze

I’ve only recently discovered Zotter, the quirky and creative Austrian chocolate maker. Maybe I’ve been too busy tasting other bars or maybe it’s because Zotter is a bit hard to find here in the USA. Either way, I’m now furiously tasting everything that I can get my hands on. What’s captured my attention with this guy and his factory set in the village of Riegersburg, Austria? First of all, he’s doing all fair trade certified and organic bean-to-bar chocolate – an important factor for the planet and the people of the world growing cacao. What’s more, Zotter’s approach to chocolate-making is simply a whole lot of fun – from the award-winning package art to the one-of-a-kind Labooko bar sets. Labooko is two bars in one. You can enjoy and compare two bars from a different region or two bars from the same country using different beans.

Labooko Peru 80% - Peru 60% is not just the same chocolate at two different strengths

Labooko Peru 80% - Peru 60% is not just the same chocolate at two different strengths

So let’s start with the Labooko Peru 60% / Peru 80%, what I simply call “Peru-Peru” because I’m too impatient to spit that all out. The 80% bar is comprised of 40% Porcelana Criollo from the Aprocap cooperative.  A rarity among cacao varieties, Porcelana grows in striking porcelain white pods and is known for its subtle and complex flavor profile. For the 60% bar, they start with a blend of Peruvian cacao from the Acrapogro Cooperative and do an unusually cool roast at only 130°C.  How this translates into the flavor of the chocolate, we’ll see.

WHAT:  Zotter Labooko Peru 80% / 60% Dark Chocolate.  35 g each bar, 70g total. Ingredients:  cocoa mass, raw cane sugar, cocoa butter, salt.   Where to buy  Zotter Labooko.

WHEN: November 27, 2011

OVERALL RATING:  85 (the 60% actually scored an 84 because it got dinged a point for aroma, but let’s call it all the same since I enjoyed the 60% bar at least as much as the 80%).

AROMA: 60%:  Very closed. Some nuts.  80%: More berry than the 60%, very light blueberry and nuts, light leather.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: 60%:  Light blueberry 80%: Cherry, blueberry, cream cheese.

MIDDLE TASTE: 60%:  Moves quickly into a burst of subtle fruit; honey, light butterscotch, custard.  80%:  Blueberry, cashew, caramel, brown sugar.

Labooko opens like a book

Labooko opens like a book to reveal two bars. Prepare to do some reading - a personal note from Zotter and a description of each bar.

FINISH: 60%:  One of the most unaggressive finishes I’ve ever tasted – low acid, no bitterness.  Light pistachio, honey, malt blueberry, and strawberry.  This is where the complexity appears – moving between flavors and then fading into a super long honey finish.    80%: Creme fresh, waves of spices – clove, ginger, cinnamon and black tea.  All pretty subtle with a bit less fruit than the 60%.

TEXTURE:  60%:  Melts slowly and smoothly.  80%: Similar – butter smooth.

LAST BITE:   If this Labooko was just two bars of the same cacao made the same way, one with more sugar than the other, that wouldn’t be very interesting. Instead Zotter goes to the trouble of sourcing two different cacaos and roasts and conches them to bring out their separate potentials.  Sure, there are some clear similarities in the flavors, but there is no doubt you can easily distinguish the two.

I fully expected to like the 80% better since I prefer higher cacao chocolate, but the 60% brought on a surprise ending with all that complexity suddenly appearing after being so closed at the start.  It gets my vote as #1.  The low roasting of the 60% beans translates into more fruit, something I prefer.  The 80% is one of those paradoxical bars, like Pralus Le  100%, that has high cacao, but subtle flavors owed to the use of Porcelana Criollo.  If you are into high-cocoa bars, but don’t want to get hit with astringent bitterness, the 80% is for hits the mark – a soft and round delicacy that you would expect from Porcelana.