“I pledge allegiance to the chocolate of the United States of America, and to the deliciousness for which it stands. A chocolate loving universe under the sun, indivisible, with milk, white and dark chocolate for all.”
– The Chocolate Pledge of Allegiance
The US bean to bar chocolate industry is amongst the most exciting in the world; from Brooklyn to Woodstock, San Francisco to Washington, American makers are flying the flag for fantastic quality chocolate across the pond.
So we thought we’d host our very own Fourth of July chocolate celebration, using the very best bars from our American chocolate makers. Below you’ll find which bars the Cocoa Runners team thought complimented each other perfectly, independence day themed and arranged into a Red, White and Blue tasting flight for you to try at home!
The red spotlight belongs to two powerhouses of the American bean to bar industry – Askinosie and Fruition. We’ve chosen to put two of their signature bars together in a battle of the bold and beautiful because both pack a flavourful punch.
Fruition’s Dark Chocolate 70% is a master of illusions. For underneath the elegant packaging is an equally attractive bar, but as soon as you roll a small piece of the chocolate over your tongue, you are bombarded with an intense and punchy flavour that we just love. Sarah couldn’t get enough and and promptly made this her very own “Bar of the Week”, which has been slowly nibbled away at over the past few days (there’s none left now!) However, when paired alongside the Filipino cacao and the slightly salty kick of the Askinosie Davao Dark Milk and Sea Salt, the Fruition bar burst into some pretty special fruity, roasted and floral flavour notes. Rather than dull the flavour of the other bar, the 62% creamy Askinosie brought out a touch of spicy pink peppercorn – very addictive.
Our white spotlight offers a more surprising pairing, comprising of Brooklyn’s Raaka and the infamous round bars of Taza’s Massachusetts factory. These bars pride themselves on being unrefined, which means they haven’t seen the inside of a conch. The coarse texture may not be to everyone’s taste and whilst they may be a little challenging at first it’s well worth persevering with these special little bars as they’re often blended with some interesting spicing not found elsewhere in our Library. We’ve paired Taza’s Salt and Pepper Bar with Raaka’s unroasted, unusual raw chocolate. At 75% and with incredible earthiness, the Raaka cuts through the slightly sweeter Taza bar. As it also has a slightly coarse texture it doesn’t compete with the Taza for mouthfeel. We’ve all heard of seasoning our food with salt and pepper to bring out flavour, but it is the same for chocolate too. When eaten in the same sitting, notes of rice wine and a hint of lemon in the Raaka bar were exaggerated by the hint of salt and pepper. Both these bars have unusual qualities, but that’s what makes them such good bedfellows.
Our blue pairing sees us sprinkle a little bit more fun in the mix. Gen insisted that we choose TCHO’s SeriousMilk Classic to represent the San Francisco chocolate maker as this is in her Top 10 favourite bars of all time. Its sweet and creamy milk chocolate has a lovely, buttery texture and an aroma like bubblegum, so we had to find another bar which shared the bar’s vibrancy. A 69% dark chocolate from Fresco, made with cocoa beans from Papua New Guinea was chosen by Chief Chocolate Taster Dom because of its amazingly playful profile and soothing smooth texture. A gorgeously flavourful dark chocolate, with roasted coffee notes and sharp citrus fruits, it has only been given a medium roast & conch allowing the bar to be slightly more subtle than some of Fresco’s darker bars and the perfect foil to TCHO’s creaminess.
Our final American pairing comes from Dandelion and Mast Brothers. Perhaps the biggest two “stars” of the American bean-to-bar chocolate industry, they have a huge fanbase on both sides of the Atlantic. Both were early adopters of the small batch chocolate movement which is now sweeping across America, so it seems only fair to pit them against each other in our battle of those who have earned their “stripes” amongst their peers.
These American beauties are great examples of the astounding work American chocolate makers are doing. However, we’ve chosen this Dandelion Mantuano bar mostly because Spencer is addicted to its lovely roasted notes! As the bean has only been roasted at a high temperature for a short time, natural notes of coffee, hops and barley and just a hint of spice still come through. We feel this sits really well alongside Mast Brother’s Crown Maple bar. Crown Maple syrup is widely considered to be amongst the best in the world, making it not only the perfect choice for our “Star” category, it also adds a luscious sweetness to this pairing, stopping the coffee and roasted notes of the Dandelion bar from overwhelming. Very moreish – you have been warned!