This post was written in 2018 and updated in 2020.
Good morning from Washington, DC.
Yesterday was a nice 60 degree weather day. Time Cupsoul walked around the National Mall, exploring new coffee and chocolate shops in this great city.
Time cupsouls — experiencing them — are about inspiration and serenity at the same time. It’s about finding the quiet moment and receiving some answers, some clarity.
This week, a friend was relaying that most ingenious ideas are first sparked alone. This means that ideas are less formed in group brainstorming sessions and what’s ideal for breakthrough is to spend time alone and then bring the novelty to a group for feedback. So, this is Time Cupsoul bringing the very soul of “time cupsoul” to you, readers. How can Time Cupsoul’s site be better? What would you like to see more of? What can change? Please send a message or leave a comment on this article.
We respect that your time is precious; our reverence for time — whether for inspiration or reflection — is literally in our name, time cupsoul. When we listen to podcasts, to love one, we set the bar extremely high. Here are our favorite chocolate-themed podcasts that feel more like nourishment than noise:
It’s here. Ruby chocolate. Time Cupsoul was gifted a bar from family that traveled to the EU. The Fortnum & Mason bar, “Ruby Chocolate,” was now in hand.
The packaging states, “Made by secret natural chocolate alchemy, Ruby is Milk, White and Dark chocolate’s delicious newfound sibling. Intense berry fruit, gloriously tart, subtly sour-sweet. 47% cocoa solids.”
Time Cupsoul could not wait. Was the historical chocolate bar just moments from the lips?
The bar was enthusiastically unwrapped to unveil a gorgeous rose hue, and small chocolate squares at the ready. It even smelled somewhat floral, yes, again like roses. Time for the first taste.
Recently, on our Instagram, Time Cupsoul tagged/conversed with the maker of the La Naya Chocolate‘s beautiful chocolate bar molding. It goes without question that La Naya’s chocolate bars have the most distinct and beautiful chocolate bar shape/mold in the current market. Reminiscent of geodes or a cut jewel, this bar’s shape is unforgettable.
Time Cupsoul picked up La Naya at the DC Chocolate Festival, and similar to the Magia Piura bar, this was Lithuanian brand, La Naya Chocolate’s, first formal experience/show in the United States. Exciting! The bar even survived the sweltering DC heat the day of the festival – upper 90’s.
After admiring the shape of the bar, the first few bites ensued. Yummy.
It’s Saint Patrick’s Day today in the United States and what better a day to taste a handmade Irish chocolate bar!
Bean and Goose Chocolateis a sister-owned craft chocolate operation in Wexford, Ireland. Heeding a barista’s recommendation, the “Single Origin Irish Sea Salt and Cocoa Nibs, Cocoa 76%,” was purchased. Would pure chocolatier craftmanship and a touch of Irish luck make this bar a winner?
The Bean and Goose bars’ packaging (seen also on other selections), is somewhat minimalist, with one washed color and bright white lettering (see picture above). The Irish Sea Salt and Cocoa Nibs bar has a grey paper package, and upon turning over, reveals a white sticker with further information regarding the brand: “We are Karen and Natalie Keane, sisters and premium chocolate makers based in the Wexford countryside… We create chocolate that reflects contemporary Ireland, its flavours, its colours and its people.” Never having traveled to Ireland, this concept seemed exciting. What flavors would reveal themselves?
The false traceability scandal at Mast Brothers Chocolate (summary here) recently turned a spotlight onto other United States chocolate makers. It is safe to say that Europe is cocoa’s “hub” in terms of (chocolate) bar-making history and manufacturer legacy. Yet, the USA has numerous large chocolate companies, and furthermore, birthed many specialty and smaller “craft” chocolate makers besides Mast Brothers within the past decade or two. Time Cupsoul sets out to explore the best of American chocolate in the coming weeks.
One place to find unique chocolate bars of all origins (bean and brand), is at specialty food stores, such as Fresh Market, Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. These store types each carry different selections of chocolate and sometimes, their own brand of bars.