All the talk in the craft chocolate industry these days is about Fruition Chocolate's two Dark Milk Chocolate bars: a Peru Origin 'Maranon Canyon' 68% Dark Milk chocolate bar, and the Hudson Valley Bourbon 61% Dark Milk chocolate bar.
These two chocolate bars were already causing a stir when I was at the Northwest Chocolate Festival in November, after they both won World Gold (for the Maranon) and World Silver (for the Bourbon) at the 2015 International Chocolate Awards. What's more, Fruition took home awards for both chocolate bars at the 2017 Good Food Awards just a few weeks ago. And a funny thing, I was just sitting down to taste these bars when I read about their Good Foods win.
If you read this blog often, you'll know that I am a big fan of dark-milk chocolate bars. I love the mix, particularly the enjoyment of a creamy milk chocolate with minimal sweetness (that means it's healthier, right?). Every dark-milk chocolate is different, and can range from 45% cocoa solids to about 70%. Many of the dark-milk chocolates that I have tasted recently have had about 50% cocoa solids, so Fruition's were a nice change with both bars having more than 60% cocoa content.
Hudson Valley Bourbon Dark Milk has 61% cocoa solids and the ingredients include Bourbon. But I found there to be just a hint of bourbon taste, which for me, was perfect. I don't like a strong alcohol taste in chocolate, and this certainly offered a lovely flavour of bourbon with no 'alcohol' flavour. I also found it had a pleasant light milky taste and a little sweetness, while still being a very dark milk chocolate. There were also woody tones and a caramel aftertaste (the package says caramel and oak, but before looking at the package tasting notes, it was simply 'woody' to me). Overall, this chocolate is quite something and one that is easy to go back to time and again.
Maranon Canyon Dark Milk has 68% cocoa solids and is certainly one of the more bitter dark-milk chocolates that I've tasted. There is a sour cream taste, and that lovely creamy mouthfeel of high cocoa butter content. It features some of the wonderful flavours of the coveted pure Nacional-type cocoa beans from the Maranon Canyon, which are nicely featured because the chocolate does not include vanilla or any other flavours that might mask the bean taste. I really enjoyed this chocolate bar, for both the texture and the taste.
If you are interested in tasting either of these bars, check Fruition's website for more information and to buy online: http://www.tastefruition.com/. Fruition is located in Shokan, in the Catskill Mountains of New York, and founded by chocolate maker and confectioner Bryan Graham.