While Tristan was up for the Fourth, we had a chocolate tasting and backgammon adventure which seems worthy of documentation, primarily because I creamed his ass at backgammon and also because chocolate was involved.

Actually, first we went to Glass Beach (which was what inspired my post about the decimation of Glass Beach). The weather was pretty much crap and we were bloated on insanely spicy pineapple fried rice, but it was still fairly enjoyable. See how there’s no glass in the background?

The first chocolate we tried when we got back to my house was Green and Black’s Maya Gold, which is an old favourite of mine. (I actually discovered it when I was traveling in Ireland.)

It was a little sweeter than I remember it being, but it has this slightly spicy, awesome, complex flavor that I really dig. That hint of orange really pushes it over the top. It’s good eating chocolate, with a very creamy mouthfeel which makes me suspect that they use a lot of cocoa butter. The cacao percentage is actually pretty low for my tastes, but it feels right here because a strong chocolate flavor would really overwhelm the experience. If you like flavored chocolates and orange, you will probably enjoy Maya Gold. For the record, Green and Black’s is a British firm, so this is not an exemplar of American chocolate/candy/tastes in sweets. I also enjoy the rest of their product line; Green and Black’s makes one of the few white chocolates which I actually like, for example.

Then we tried Vivani 85%, which I have not had before.

I didn’t like this chocolate. It was way too sweet, and it had a really fatty mouthfeel from all of the cocoa butter. Sven seemed to enjoy it (he didn’t like the flavored chocolates), but it was a little dull to me, and it had a strange sour note which I couldn’t quite identify. It was ok; if you like really rich chocolate which is not very strong on chocolate flavor despite a high cacao content, you might like this. Vivani is a German company, and this chocolate did remind me a bit of some Swiss chocolates I’ve not enjoyed; it’s definitely an eating chocolate in a very specific European tradition. (Disclaimer: I actually really like Swiss chocolate, as a general rule, I’m just saying that certain Swiss chocolates are not enjoyable. To me. Personally. I don’t need armies of enraged Swiss descending upon me like the New Zealanders. Speaking of European chocolates, I have been trying to track down a source for Sarotti marzipan, a favourite of my childhood, and I haven’t been able to find it. Have any readers spotted it? Do I have any readers in Germany who want to send me some? Pretty please?)

Finally, I introduced Tristan and Danielle to Chuao Chinita Nibs, a chocolate which I was in turn introduced to by Baxt.

I love this chocolate. It’s got a nice bitter snap to it, some crunch from the nibs, and the nutmeg really makes the flavor pop. I get that some people don’t like gimmicky gourmet chocolates, which this definitely is, but it’s such an awesome chocolate bar that I can forgive it for being gimmicky. I think that the chocolate really sparkles here, and it definitely doesn’t suffer from being so overloaded with cocoa butter that it almost tastes like milk chocolate. Chuao is an American-based company owned by Venezuelans, and it makes me interested in trying more South American chocolates (especially since the American tropics are the home of chocolate).

For reference, here’s Tristan getting his ass kicked in backgammon and tasting chocolate at the same time. Physicists can multitask.

4 Replies to “Chocoventures”

  1. If you want to use mail-order, I have seen Sarotti marzipan offered. Check out Alpine Importers, German Deli, Kuhn’s Deli, Marina Market or Bavaria Sausage. I’m sure there are others, too. You may have to wait for cooler weather before anyone will send it direct. Alas, I haven’t seen any around here.

    A (dark) chocolate marzipan tasting would be pure heaven for me.

  2. Thanks for the tip; I did a bit of hunting for mail order, but didn’t get very far. The Rittersport Marzipan we can get up here is ok, but…Sarotti…of course, I’ve idealized it so much that I probably won’t be very impressed when I finally track it down.

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