Friday, December 23, 2016

Sweet Tanzania Dark Chocolate by Solstice

I was running low on cash. I had already spent hundreds of dollars on chocolate. That's my excuse for not buying more Solstice Chocolate (said with tears in my eyes). But I did purchase one chocolate bar made by Solstice at the Northwest Chocolate Festival in November: The Tanzania 70% Kilombero dark chocolate. And now my curiosity is peaked and I will definitely be tasting more of Solstice Chocolate someday.

Light, sweet honey and fruit. That's the best way to describe this chocolate bar. It has sweet tones, no astringency, whatsoever, and very mild acidity.  It is like honey on toast with a hot cocoa aftertaste. The chocolate is also quite smooth, with a nice balance of cocoa butter added for creaminess. And it is pretty, with simple little suns imprinted into the squares of the bar. If you like a sweet, dark chocolate, this one is for you.

The origin of the organic beans used for this chocolate bar is Tanzania, specifically the Kilombero Valley. According to Dom Ramsey's new book, Chocolate, Tanzania produces about 9,000 tons of cocoa per year, which is just 0.18% of the world production. The country's "star varieties" are Trinitario and Forastero. I have no idea what type of bean is used for this chocolate bar, but I suspect Trinitario. A better reporter would have asked the chocolate makers, but I think it's best to not bother chocolate makers in the weeks leading up to Christmas - it is their busiest time of year after all.  Perhaps we'll hear from them in the Comments below should they read this article :-)

And speaking of the owners, Scott Querry and Deann Wallin are the people behind Solstice Chocolate, one of the several infamous Utah craft chocolate makers (Haven't you heard? Utah is where its at for craft chocolate!). They supply several restaurants in an around Salt Lake City, as well as sell in local stores. You can buy Solstice Chocolate online at a variety of retailers, including, The Meadow, Caputo's, and a few others, including the Solstice website. Learn more at: There are several different origins of chocolate bars you can choose from.

Here are the package details of the chocolate bar that I tasted today:

70% Kilombero, Tanzania, 65g (2.3 oz)
Solstice Chocolate (Salt Lake City, UT)
Ingredients: Organic cacao bean, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Cacao Prieto: Delicious Dominican Cacao in Luxurious Chocolate Form

Cacao Prieto is a bean-to-bar chocolate company in Brooklyn that I had only heard of until recently. But when I came across their table at the Northwest Chocolate Festival in Seattle, I was astounded by the beautiful packaging, decorative and artistic post cards, and the overall 'look' of their products.

I visited Cacao Prieto at the end of my time at the Northwest Chocolate Fest, at about that moment when I was feeling guilty about how much cash I had spent on chocolate, so I only purchased one bar: Cacao Prieto's 'Original 72%' dark chocolate bar.  This is an organic dark chocolate, made with Criollo-type cacao (for those unfamiliar, that's one of the best kinds!) and is from the family farm in the Dominican Republic, so it's truly a single-origin bar that can be traced back to it's origin. 

Once tasting the chocolate, I immediately regretted not having purchased more. I really enjoyed that thick aroma of the Dominican cacao and all of its earthiness. With a sweet taste and hints of berry-fruit, and more earthiness in flavour, it is a lovely sweet-dark chocolate with interesting notes. It reminded me a little of the sweet taste of Spagnvola's chocolate, which is similarly made from only Dominican cacao from a family-owned farm. This chocolate had a similarly sweet and lightly fruity taste (based on my memory of course, since I had no Spagnvola chocolate on hand to compare directly), but Cacao Prieto's had some earthier characteristics to the aroma and flavour.

Everyone loves chocolate for Christmas!
Think about adding Cacao Prieto to your holiday shopping list
(psst: it's especially a great buy for a dark-chocolate lover!).

I can't wait to try the other flavours some day. Since Cacao Prieto is devoted to making chocolate from the family farm, their line-up of chocolate is mainly about flavoured bars (like Passion Fruit Crunch and Peppermint Mocha) and chocolate with inclusions (chocolate bark bars), cacao & nut spreads, drinking chocolate, and high-end gift boxes. They also make chocolate-based liquors and rums - a product which cannot be purchased on the website store. 

I have now added to my Chocolate Bucket List: a visit to Cacao Prieto's factory in Brooklyn, should I find myself there soon. There are walk-in weekend tours and bonbons on site (which, like the liquors, don't seem to be available for sale online).

If you are looking for more information on Cacao Prieto, visit the website at:

The package details of the chocolate I wrote about today are as follows:

Cacao Prieto Criollo, Dominican Cacao, Original 72% Dark Chocolate, 85g (3oz)
Brooklyn, NY (U.S.A.)
Ingredients: Organic single origin Dominican Cacao & Organic raw cane sugar. Made in a facility that processes nuts.