Does anyone else have this problem: every time you innocently wander into a chocolate retail store, you drop an obscene amount of money in a shockingly short amount of time.
Please tell me I’m not the only one.
Recently, in the latest incarnation of my compulsive chocolate shopping habit, I poked my head into a new-ish chocolate retail shop in midtown Manhattan, 2beans.
I just wanted to pick up a bar of Francois Pralus. I swear.
I spent $110 in 30 minutes (of course I did).
It was a big chocolate haul, even for me. But I’m so glad I splurged, because these turned out to be some of the most delicious and surprising bars I’ve tried in quite some time. It was actually pretty hard for me to rate these because they were ALL fantastic.
But I’ll try my best.
So here you go folks: in descending order, from my very favorite to my least favorite. I’ve added links to online suppliers of these bars, in case you want to try them for yourself.
Francois Pralus Venezuela 75% (France):
Creamy, nutty and earthy, some may think this bar has too much added cocoa butter, but I think it’s perfect.
Fruition Marañón 76% (US): Citrusy, balanced, a little astringent at the end but not over the top.
La Molina Gianduia Fondente e Nocciole Intere (Italy): Best. Dark. Gianduia. Ever. Not. Exaggerating.
Bonnat Surabaya 65% dark milk chocolate (France): An interesting, creamy, slightly sour dark milk chocolate with a hint of smokiness. It almost tastes like a goat milk chocolate (it’s not). I love pungent, funky-tasting milk chocolate, and you can’t go wrong with Bonnat.
Durci Empyrean Sabor 70% (US): This is the second bar I’ve tried from Durci, and I was surprised that these Venezuelan beans tasted as floral to me as the first bar I tried (Durci’s Corona Arriba bar, with Nacional beans from Ecuador). I wonder what I’m tasting that’s so floral. Is it something in the roast?
Castronovo Colombia 63% dark milk (US): One of the best dark milk chocolates I’ve tried recently from a North American chocolate maker. Interesting, earthy flavor notes, but super smooth and creamy like a European milk chocolate.
Tasty enough, but didn’t rock my world:
Fruition Hudson Valley Bourbon 61% dark milk chocolate (US): I was mildly disappointed by this bar. It’s good — everything Fruition makes is pretty awesome. But I had trouble detecting any bourbon or woody flavors, and it lacks the smoothness I want in a dark milk chocolate.
Dick Taylor Belize 72% (US): Everyone I know who has tried this bar has raved about it. I was expecting great things, which might be why I was a little disappointed. Its fruitiness is nice, but I find it VERY astringent.
Good, but a little boring:
Bonnat Java 65% dark milk chocolate (France): This is a fantastic dark milk chocolate, but it’s not nearly as interesting as the Surabaya.
Domori Criollo 70% Chuao (Italy): Very smooth texture, but I was underwhelmed by the bar’s flavor. It just seemed to lack nuance. To be fair, I only got to try a small sample, and I didn’t have a fresh palate, so I should probably give it another shot.
How about you — what were your favorite bars from you most recent chocolate shopping spree?