sweetriot – Pure 70% and 85% chocolate bars

Today I’m reviewing the rest of my free samples of sweetriot‘s new riotBar line: the pure 70% and pure 85% dark chocolate bars. I covered the 60% dark chocolate with crunchy cacao nibs on Wednesday.

Like the 60%, both of these bars were too lightly scored to be useful for clean snapping. The 70% (top) had a sharp initial snap but softened as it was chewed.

The melt was smooth and matte. It started off lightly sweet before developing a hint of bitterness, then finishing with a brighter, fruitier sweetness than the start.

There was a bit of astringency to the end that made me want a drink of water afterwards, but it was mild enough to not be off-putting. An OM.

The 85% was even snappier. The melt wasn’t much fun, as it was very dry and astringent.

The flavor profile began with a sharply bright fruitiness that was quite vibrant. The finish, however, was quite astringent and left a lingering bitterness that I didn’t care for. An O for the strong start, at least.

sweetriot – Pure 60% Dark Chocolate with Crunchy Cacao Nibs

sweetriot recently sent me free samples of their new line of chocolate riotBars. Before the riotBar additions, they sold chocolate in unBars, which were in thick, unwieldy blocks. I have an unBar that’s been kicking around my stash for a while. I’ve yet to open it because it seemed so cumbersome to eat.

sweetriot is also known for their cacao nibs, which I reviewed ages ago. It’s nice to see that a chocolate company committed to using fair trade cacao has prospered over the years.

Today, I’m reviewing the pure 60% dark chocolate with crunchy cacao nibs. Friday I’ll review the pure 70% and pure 85% dark chocolate bars.

The 100g bar was lightly scored into a 10 x 3 grid. Each rectangle of chocolate had 20 calories, which is a nice nod to portion control, except the scoring was too shallow to be that helpful for clean breaking.

The chocolate had a thick, sharp snap. If you look closely, you can see a nib in the break line. Those nibs added a nice, dry crunch with minimal grittiness and astringency. The chocolate had a lovely, matte melt around the nibs.

The chocolate was sweet and fruity with middle cherry notes and a vibrant cocoa finish. I appreciated the distinct and assertive flavor complexity.

I really enjoyed the texture of the nibs mixed with the chocolate. It made from fun chomping and yielded great, varying chocolate flavors. An OM.


Public Displays of Confection – 1890’s Sweets/Drop Candy Berry Mix

These 1890’s Sweets/Drop Candy Berry Mix from Public Displays of Confection were a free sample, along with the Thanksgiving Mix I reviewed a week ago and a couple of fat candy canes.

The website describes them as “blueberry, blackberry and raspberry pressed into shape on our 150 year old drop roller press. These are called fruit drops, because the machine produces sheets of candy that are “dropped” onto a hard surface to break them into pieces.”

The candies were cute and distinctively shaped. All had a perfectly smooth melt that felt glossy against the tongue.

Raspberry was a red circle dappled with little round bumps. It was sweet with a concentrated fruitiness and a hint of tartness. I wouldn’t have placed it as raspberry based on its flavor, as it lacked the artificial seediness raspberry candies usually have.

Blueberry was a knobbly, artificially bright blue sphere. It tasted darker than the raspberry, with a purple, grapey flavor.

Blackberry had the same shape as the raspberry but was a deep purple in color. It had the deep darkness of the blueberry but with bright, fruity overtones that made it taste positively juicy.

This was a fun, tasty assortment. I liked how amped up all the flavors were, and the polished mouthfeel was great. An OM.

Hedonist Salted Caramels

These salted caramels from Hedonist Artisan Chocolates were free samples that I got in the same package as the candy cane bark (Wednesday’s review). I’m a total sucker for salted caramels, especially when they’re covered in chocolate.

The label simply described them as “buttery caramel and sea salt enrobed in rich chocolate.” The box of 10 had 5 that were milk chocolate and 5 that were dark. All were sprinkled with a pinch of sea salt.

The caramel centers were a beautiful amber color flecked with little black vanilla seeds. The caramel had no pull when bitten into but was thick and sticky when chewed.

It was possible to hold the caramel on my tongue and just let it melt into a pool of sweet, limpid butteriness. Alas, I was too impatient and preferred to pick the deliciously sticky errant strands out of my teeth.

The flavor of that caramel was incredible. It tasted as deep and scorchy as it looked. It was just shy of burnt, which gave it a great complexity and just a hint of bitter edge.

The caramel itself was salted as well. Every once in a while, I’d chomp on a crunchy bit of sea salt, which released a flash of saltiness that really set off the scorchy brown butteriness of the caramel.

The milk chocolate coating added a mild sweetness and light malty chocolate flavor to the caramel. I preferred the dark chocolate version, which added a deep, rich cocoa complexity.

My only complaint was that some of the caramels with larger salt pinches were a tad too salty. But that wasn’t much of a deterrent – I polished off over half the box in my tasting session as I kept reaching for “just one more” to lock down my tasting notes.

This gets a ZOMG! in the true sense of the rating, as I was a little frightened at how quickly my box of 10 disappeared.


Patriotic Candy Canes

This winter, consider making your holiday extra sweet and patriotic with some red, white, and blue candy canes from True Blue Candy Canes. They’ll let decorate and satisfy your sweet tooth while giving back.

25% of their profits will be donated to the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, a charity that helps kids who’ve lost a parent in the Marine Corps pursue higher education. It sounds like a great cause!

Photo from True Blue Candy Canes