Sunday, November 6, 2011

Po-TO-mac...PO-to-mac...Poto-MAC...Pot-to-mac...Ahhhh...it's PUH-TOH-MUHK! No matter how you say it, it is good chocolate.

Please forgive me, I am Canadian. I have never heard of Potomac, the river or the city of the same name, until now (despite having visited Washington, D.C. and the surrounding areas in Maryland and Virginia several times). So when I first saw the POTOMAC CHOCOLATE logo, I could not understand what the name meant, how to pronounce it, or why there was a fish on the chocolate wrapper.  But now that I've researched Potomac a little, I finally get it.

A few days ago I received my first shipment of Potomac chocolate. It was an exciting day. First of all, I was super excited that this American hand-crafted chocolate company was willing to ship their chocolate to Canada (I have been a bit hesitant  lately about ordering from American bean-to-bar manufacturers ever since one company's owner told me that he would not ship to me because the paperwork wasn`t worth it). And not only were they willing, but they were fast about it too. I received the shipment in a few short days.

The second reason for my excitement was because of Potomac's limited product line. They only have three chocolate bars available for purchase on their website: Upala 70%, Upala 70% Nibs and Upala 82%.  Maybe it sounds strange that I like it when a chocolate manufacturer has a limited product offering, but to me, it means that the company is focusing its efforts on its signature products. I am not a fan of those companies that branch out to quickly by introducing a whole bunch of chocolate products in the beginning, without really focusing on the taste and flavour profiles of their key products. So although they have a limited range of products, it is clear to me that Potomac pays attention to the required details, so I can see that they have immense passion for their craft.

After tasting them, both the 70% and the 82% are full of rich flavour and very intense. I might be able to explain flavour notes a little better if I didn't have a cold (I tried to wait out my cold before tasting the Potomac chocolate bars, but this virus seems to be settling in for the long haul and I finally could not resist the chocolate any longer). Potomac's chocolate is made from single-origin beans from Upala, located in northern Costa Rica, so there is a lot of intense flavours in the beans. With my cold, the best I can say is that the 70% is bitter, but has just the right balance of sugar. And the 82% is like drinking a really dry glass of well-aged Cabernet. Hmmm...this is making me want wine with my chocolate.

The Upala 70% Nibs bar is awesome. The nibs are only on the back side of the chocolate bar, as though they were lightly sprinkled over the chocolate just as it began to set. For that reason, this nibs bar has entered my top favourites list.  Since I have issues with my teeth  (yes, admittedly I have too many fillings), chocolate with too many cocao nibs do bother them.  Also, when chocolate has too many nibs mixed in, it is difficult to really taste the chocolate (you are too busy crunching through the darn nibs!). But with this Potomac nibs bar, you can flip it upside down so the nib-free side is on your tongue, and really taste the chocolate before you get to the point of chewing any nibs. That way, you get to taste and savour the chocolate first, then experience a little crunch since the nibs are only lightly sprinkled on the back side of the bar.

Another cool aspect of Potomac's chocolate bars are the lists of ingredients.  Check it out in the package details that I've included below.  You will see that the ingredients are limited and no vanilla or other flavourings have been added to affect the real flavour of the cacao beans.  And you know what?  You don't miss vanilla and other added flavourings when the chocolate is so full of intense flavour.

So overall, my first tasting experience with Potomac handcrafted chocolate was fantastic: flavourful chocolate of a single origin, fast and efficient service and just the right ingredients and attention to detail.

As always, here are the package details from the chocolates that I tasted today:

Potomac Chocolate
Handgcrafted in Woodbridge, VA, U.S.A.
www.PotomacChocolate.com

Chocolate Bars:

Upala 82%, 2 oz (57g)
Ingredients: cacao, sugar

Upala 70%, 2 oz (57g)
Ingredients: cacao, sugar

Upala 70% Nibs, 2 oz (57g)
Ingredients: cacao, sugar

2 comments:

  1. Was it made on the friendly facility without soy, nuts and so on......?

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  2. Yes, Vicki, it is made in the basement of owner with his own DIY chocolate equipment. It is cool actually. Check out his website! All the best!

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