Chocolate… it’s a funny thing. Almost everybody loves it, almost everybody eats it, everybody has heard of it, but so few people really know the real deal. Look at me, I’m in my mid-thirties and I’m just getting to know true chocolate. But hey, this keeps life interesting, doesn’t it?
Last week I was commissioning a project at one of Belgium’s most renowned chocolatiers. The technical staff generously treated me and my colleague with a tray of fresh chocolates, straight off the production line. Now you’ll really taste chocolate as it is, the man smiled. I accepted the tray and enjoyed it, but it’s not “fine” chocolate. Bulk chocolate remains very one-dimensional taste wise.
Today I decided to try one of my latest purchases, Dick Taylor’s 74% Dominican Republic dark chocolate.
Dick Taylor is a small batch bean-to-bar producer, situated in the United States. Once active in boat and furniture making, Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor switched to an other handcrafted product. Fine chocolate. Their bars get raving reviews all over the net, so let’s find out why!
Dick Taylor – 74% Dominican Republic
The chocolate is wrapped in a nice thick paper wrapper with a great design. Simple but stylish, it refers to the company’s former days, yet also sets a mood of discovery voyages at the time the America’s (and thus also chocolate itself) were discovered. Just the package makes you dream away. A sticker on the back tells a little more about the producer and their philosophy, but no additional information about the bar or origin is given.
Inside the paper wrapper, a golden foil protects the bar. the package doesn’t make it easy to re-wrap the bar after eating some pieces. Such a pity, because I like to really protect my bars from the outside influences and keep this precious product in mint condition.
Let’s get to the center piece, the bar itself. A simply stunning one! What a delicate looking design and what a detailed mold the company uses. A little thicker than anticipated. No scoring means you have to break off pieces as the chocolate chooses to break. Somehow it almost feels like destroying a little work of art! Surprisingly, the snap wasn’t really hard.
Bean: Not mentioned, but very clearly high quality.
Origin: Dominican Republic
Production: Dick Taylor – Arcata, Northern California, USA
Price paid: € 7,50/56 g (Choqoa.com)
Colour: A dark brown, near black, promise of a potent chocolate
Aroma: The aroma reveals more potency, green in nature with hints of earthyness entwined with delicate smoked tones. A very gentle touch of acidity.
Taste: This chocolate starts rather slow and earthy, going over to a sudden dash of espresso bitterness before a more sweet wave brings delicate fruits to the front. Banana and citrus fruits come to mind. Further on the palate, the greenness of raw cacao shines through, delivering a fresh acidic zing. Before you know some more coffee tones glide in and roll over to woody smoke before the chocolate dissipates entirely. Next the aftertaste keeps a more acidic profile and lets the intense dark chocolate taste go on for a long time, prolonging the enjoyment. Finally it leaves you with a very enjoyable smokiness in the mouth. This is an Excellent chocolate. Yep, with capital E!
I’ve taste quiet a few bars by now, but still it is amazing to see how one chocolate maker delivers an entire different taste profile compared to another. This bar takes you through so many different phases and aroma’s, it is almost unreal. After all, people like Adam and Dustin don’t use any other production processes than the big boys. Only do they take the time and effort to deliver a true “fine” product. And boy, do they know how! Every taste step is clear and defined and keeps this chocolate bar very interesting and intense.
So go out to hunt one of their bars, you won’t be disappointed!