Sunday, January 29, 2012

Proud to be 100% Canadian

I have a new reason to be a proud Canadian this week: Soma chocolatemaker.  If you have read my recent posts and product reviews, you know that I have been tasting only the most bitter chocolates this month.  I worked my way up from +70% dark chocolate in the first week of January to +80%  dark in the second week. And these last two weeks I have been tasting only 90% to 100%.  Though initially grossed out by unsweetened chocolate, I am now used to it. In fact, I found a favourite last week: the Pralus 100% chocolate bar with its strong roasted caramel flavour and top quality Criollo beans. Then suddenly, along came Canadian chocolate-maker Soma and their Arcana 100% chocolate bar. Soma has given me a new favourite and has completely changed the way I view unsweetened dark chocolate.

I put in an order for several Soma chocolate bars last weekend, and by mid-week I had Soma's 100% Arcana bar in my hands, shipped directly from their shop in the Distillery District of Toronto.  I opened the very cool silver wrapping and could instantly smell the difference: a rich rustic hot-cocoa smell that told the story of the wonderful flavour experience that I was about to have.

I immediately noticed what this chocolate did not have: the bitterness and acidity that can make you cringe in other unsweetened chocolates.  Bonnat 100% had the cringe factor, as did Lindt 99%, but Pralus and Michel Cluizel had minimized that bitterness in their darkest chocolate bars. Soma exceeded expectations and created a soft, melt-in-your mouth unsweetened chocolate that is surprisingly easy on the palate. I actually found it difficult to stop eating it, in order to save some for later.  But I somehow did stop myself and have now managed to taste the Soma Arcana 100% bar each day for three days, after which, I still feel the same way.  As you can tell, I cannot say enough good things about this chocolate bar.

Here are the facts: Soma's Arcana 100% is made from a blend of criollo and forastero beans from four different origins: Bolivia, Hawaii, Haiti and Madagascar, as specified on the chocolate bar's package (this may be a new blend as the online catalogue says the origins are Ghana, Ecuador, Papua New Guinea, and Madagascar, see for yourself at: http://www.somachocolate.com/pdf_files/SOMA%20product%20list.pdf). This 45 gram bar costs $5.50 Canadian and can be purchased in store or by e-mail.

Soma is Canada's finest bean-to-bar chocolate maker (and one of the very few bean-to-bar chocolate makers in the country) and they offer a very fine selection of chocolates.  I have tasted many of their truffles at Soma's retail location in Toronto, and particularly enjoyed their 8-year old Balsamic truffle. If you are ever in Toronto, it is worth a visit to their store, or check them out online at http://www.somachocolate.com/SOMA_home.html.

Stay tuned for more reviews of Soma chocolate bars in the coming weeks, as I bought several to try! I will also be including a couple of Soma's chocolates in a gift basket of bean-to-bar chocolate makers for an upcoming contest. So please stay tuned for details on that contest, coming in February.

Here are the package details from the wonderfully Canadian chocolate bar that I tasted today:

SOMA chocolatemaker (100% cacao solids), 45g
Distillery District, Toronto (Canada)
Ingredients: cacao beans. "All natural ingredients, junk-free. May contain trace amounts of nuts, dairy, soy & gluten."

5 comments:

  1. Thank you for a great review!
    Difficult to stop eating isn't what I'd expect from a 100% bar :) so this sounds interesting.
    Probably not brave enough for this one, but I've wanted to try Soma's bars for a very long time (recently discovered Hummingbird, too), and still haven't been able to find an online source that would ship overseas.
    They don't have an online shop, so can I ask how or where you were able to place an order?

    Looking forward to reading your next reviews, Soma and others :) Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! On Soma's website (http://www.somachocolate.com/) they do mention that you can order by e-mail or you can call them with your order. Perhaps call and see if they will ship to you overseas.
      Thanks for your comment!

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I appreciate and welcome you object review and recommendation. Actually, the bars retail in the $2.50 range and is often found on sale at $1.99. We believe that society needs to move from low carb to slow carb (low GI) to help sustain energy, manage weight and prevent disease. That is why each Circle Bars is clinically validated low GI. We need carbs for energy, but they need to be converted into glucose slowly without spiking blood sugar and insulin levels - no spike, crash and crave. I hope my comments are helpful.

    ReplyDelete