Marou Chocolat: Faiseurs de Chocolat bars are fairly small in size with gorgeous packaging and a thin weight.The experience of tasting this bar was a definite time cupsoul and deserves some attention.
The package for the Marou, Tien Giang 70% single origin dark chocolate bar, is a beautiful rich purple colored paper with shiny gold lettering and cocoa bean drawings. Glimmering gold paper enveloping the chocolate bar peeks out from underneath of the purple wrapping, and it’s easy to slide the bar out slowly or simply to tear the paper right off. Unwrap the packaging from around the chocolate and discover the thin chocolate rectangle with diamonds.
Vosges Haut-Chocolat has attracted and will keep Time Cupsoul’s attention forever.
The Vosges confections, designed by Katrina Markoff, a Vanderbuilt University and Le Cordin Bleu (Paris), graduate, showcase beautiful branding and constant innovative chocolate creations (chocolate recipes and packaging design). No surprise; Markoff has been named one of the ten best chocolatiers in the world.
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 Chocolate is 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.