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Posts Tagged ‘Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt’

A big thanks to everyone for the lovely comments and congratulations regarding my PhD announcement! It’s really nice to have your support 🙂

When I was house-sitting a few months ago, I went out for dinner with three lovely ladies. One of these lovely ladies (in the strictly non-Les Miserables sense) was L-Izzle, who you may recognize from her frequently-excited blog comments regarding butter, cloying-sweet things, and food in general. L-Izzle is a generous soul, and so brought me chocolate presents to this dinner. Sadly, I was on my chocolate embargo at the time, so I hid both bars away for a rainy (read: desperate-for-something-new) day.

Imagine my delight when, a week ago, I remembered that not only did these gift-chocolates exist, but that they were from none other than my favourite Canberra chocolatier, The Curious Chocolatier! Although I’ve already chatted about my favourite TCC bar, the Dark Chocolate with Apricot and Rosemary, this doesn’t mean I have no interest in the other flavours. Far from it. Particularly when there’s a bar in the line-up that showcases my current favourite nut as well as that boon to all sweet things, salt…

The Curious Chocolatier Pistachio and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate

The Curious Chocolatier Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Pistachio

A different design aesthetic is used for the seasonal bars.

Pistachio can be a bit hit and miss when applied to sweet treats. In some cases its rich, almost-savoury, nutty flavour is allowed to come to the fore (as with Vestri’s chocolate), while in others it tastes more like almond than itself (see Cote d’Or’s chocolate). Unsure as to which side of the spectrum The Curious Chocolatier’s version would fall, I unwrapped the bar with bated breath. Imagine my relief when I uncovered a glossy chocolate liberally studded with roasted whole pistachios, and sprinkled with sparkling crystals of sea salt.

Of course, the true test would be the taste, but I felt good about the chocolate’s prospects. You can’t hide when you’re using whole nuts and, from experience, Heidi is not one to employ sub-standard ingredients.

The Curious Chocolatier Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Pistachios

Pretty pretty crystals.

The aroma was at first simply pleasantly sweet, yet when I turned the bar over to its nut-studded underside, a strong scent of vanilla emerged alongside that of roasted nuts.

I started off with a bite of chocolate that had no nuts on top. This bar uses the same chocolate base as does the Apricot and Rosemary yet, without the herbal notes of the latter, I was able to pick out demerara sugar and vanilla as the highlights of the 54% blend. Moreover, Heidi’s deft hand with the salt enables its subtle tang to accentuate these soft, sweet flavour notes.

The Curious Chocolatier Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Pistachio

No scrimping on the pistachios, either. Hurrah!

Now, the moment of truth. What were the pistachios like, and how well did they play with their fellow salt-and-chocolate classmates? Did they hog the Monkey Bars and then block the others from the slide, or was everyone able to take equal turns before the Recess bell rang?

Readers, they played well. Interestingly, the first thought I had upon sampling a pistachio was that its dominant flavour was “roasted” rather than “pistachio”, but after the initial burst of deep toastiness ebbed away, the delicate, almost umami-flavour of pistachio came through.

As I carefully, and happily, made my way through this chocolate, I was surprised to realise that the salt tasted a bit “briney”. And then I wasn’t surprised because, after all, Heidi uses sea salt here, not, um, land salt. The assertive nature of sea salt married well with the roasted strength of the nuts, which in turn contrasted nicely with the deep vanilla notes of the sweet chocolate.

For anyone feeling tentative about trying The Curious Chocolatier’s more unusual flavour pairings, I’d certainly recommend this bar as a superb entry into her innovative world.

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Salt and chocolate. I think we’ve established that I’m a fan, so it should come as no surprise that when I heard about Salazon Chocolate Co., a self-described “salted-chocolate based brand”, I immediately contacted the founder to ask where I might be able to locate his chocolate.

Thanks to this blog, I was offered samples of each chocolate flavour to review. In the interests of transparency, I was under no obligation to review these in a positive light. The following constitutes my honest opinion of these products.

Salazon Chocolate Co. Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt

The current label.

Salazon Chocolate Co. produces three different types of chocolate, and is currently asking for customers to submit travel photos to be used as labels. In the meantime, the labels depict a salt farm in Southeast Asia, with a similar picture used as the mold for the chocolate itself.

Salazon Chocolate Co. Organic Dark Chocolate with Natural Sea Salt

Salazon Chocolate Co. Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt

A little broken in transit, but this just made the chocolate like a fun jigsaw puzzle. (Didn't your mother ever tell you not to play with your food?)

Salazon Chocolate’s original bar is comprised of dark chocolate with sea salt crystals sprinkled liberally on its underside. This results in little bursts of salt in every bite that both heighten and provide a counterpoint to the sweetness of the chocolate. The aroma is slightly woodsy but also reminds me of salted butter caramels, which is only ever a good thing.

The chocolate itself is very sweet, but this works well with the assertiveness of the salt. The combination creates caramel and brown sugar notes, and ensures the bar is quite difficult to stop nibbling on.

Salazon Chocolate Co. Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Organic Turbinado Sugar

Salazon Chocolate Co. Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt

Why hello there, you salt-studded beauty you.

As a concession to the world’s milk chocolate-lovers, Salazon produces a slightly sweeter version of its original bar by adding turbinado sugar to the formula.

I did find this bar noticeably sweeter than the first, as the turbinado sugar provides a honey-like sweetness that overlays the salt. This flavour should work as a lovely option not only for fans of sweeter chocolate, but for vegans and the lactose-intolerant who may struggle to find such chocolates without dairy as an ingredient. The turbinado sugar flavour was, however, my least favourite of the three, simply because I preferred the way the original bar was more strongly tempered with salt.

Salazon Chocolate Co. Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Organic Cracked Black Pepper

Salazon Chocolate Co. Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Black Pepper

If I can now get salt and pepper with my chocolate, does this make it a justifiable meal?

I was very keen to try the third of Salazon’s chocolate flavours, as this one replaces the turbinado sugar of the previous bar with cracked black pepper. As someone who can never have too much pepper in her meals, I felt this would be right up my alley.

The chocolate is again pleasantly rich, sweet and, as is the case with every Salazon bar, incredibly smooth and silky in texture. The salt is again prevalent on tasting, but the pepper is actually very subtle. After extensive tasting and pondering, I’ve decided that the subtlety of this bar makes it a worthy contender for introducing one’s friends and family into the world of more “exotic” chocolate flavours.

A part of me would have loved a slightly stronger pepper heat in this chocolate, but there were definitely moments when the pepper shone through enough to create an extra layer of flavour. The rest of the time, I simply found myself enjoying the silky texture and salty-sweet base of Salazon’s chocolate.

And that, readers, is what makes these bars worth seeking out.

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