This post was written in 2017 and updated in 2020.
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.
THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED in 2017 AND UPDATED ON JULY 3, 2020.
How do you choose which chocolate bar to buy?Sometimes, you just have to listen to what speaks or calls to you.An Italian brand, Amedei, on the top shelf at a fine foods grocery store in DC, whispered in Italian: Andiamo.
The packaging of Amedei chocolate bars immediately provided an escape and began sharing a rich story. In particular, the Toscano Blond Cioccolato Fondente Extra 63% Con Pesche e Albicocche bar– dark chocolate (63%) with peaches and apricots, showcased a watercolor painting of a peach tree and the Amedei logo in a black square with a gold perimeter.
Time Cupsoul research revealed that:Amedei Srl, headquartered in Pontedera (Pisa), Italy, was founded by Cecilia Tessieri, the “maitre chocolatier.” Ameidei is the surname of Tessieri’s grandmother, who helped support the shop’s opening, along with other members of the family, in 1990. Tessieri started in a small shop making pralines and was later trained as an apprentice in Europe (Germany, France, Belgium). The first Amedei branded chocolate bars became available in 1998. Since, Amedei brand has won the “Golden Bean” award from the Chocolate Academy of London for bean to bar.
This was the first time ever that Time Cupsoul tasted cocoa with peaches and apricots. The unique combination was certainly alluring.
First snap of the bar was a bit softer than some other chocolate brands, which shortly after, made way for a decadent, soft mouth-feel (and texture) somewhat akin to “cocoa: chocolate brownie” on the chocolate tasters wheel. Savoring the flavors developed significant cocoa notes, including: melted chocolate ice cream, dry cocoa and baked brownie. More subtle notes included nutty: walnut and a touch of dairy. The peach and apricot pieces were finely intermixed within the cocoa, and therefore came through as fruity notes (and perhaps even a tad “floral”), but still, the cocoa notes reigned. It would be interesting to learn cocoa bean origin for this bar.
Time Cupsoul is very tempted to try the pistachio, hazelnut and red berry variations of these bars. Trying Amedei was a definite time cupsoul.
Chocolate/Branding: Amedei Tuscany, Toscano Blond Cioccolato Fondente Extra 63% Con Pesche e Albicocche, with envelope-style packaging, semi-thick textured card-stock.
“Chocolate. The reward of our childhood. The softness of a warm embrace. The energy that makes us want to act, create and discover. The temptation which is so sweet to surrender to. The gift we love to give and wish we’d receive a little more often. A journey to distant lands to help the best cocoa varieties grow and thrive. Forming relationships of friendship, respect and partnership with the people who live where cocoa grows, keepers of ancient knowledge. An encounter with the past and a link to future. Chocolate. We make it just for you, with love.”
Zero additives: “Pure cocoa butter, soy lecithin and gluten free without colouring agents and artificial flavours.” Kosher dairy.
*Please note that all chocolate bars consumed and reviewed are randomly chosen and purchased with personal funds. This post is not sponsoredcontains affiliate links, which means if you click through and do buy something, you may help support an insatiable coffee and chocolate habit. 🙂
We write this post with heavy hearts. Sitting here in Washington, DC, as with many other international capitals, we are witnessing history. Every day, masses of people flood the streets of DC to protest, marching to the White House and elsewhere. Helicopters fly, extremely close to the ground, every night before curfew starts. The sounds and sights are intense. We are in pain and we are here to listen and to learn. If you are in DC right now, there are numerous ways to support the black community. One thing you might consider is purchasing goods from local black-owned businesses, such as a dessert from delicious The Sweet Lobby, or check out one of the many online lists of businesses. Order online. And stay safe.
Yesterday, we had the fortune to attend the Chocolate Business Webinar: The State of the Industry and Next Steps, held by the Chocolate Alliance, and we want to share some key takeaways with you about how to navigate as a chocolate shop or brand during COVID-19. Held on #BlackoutTuesday, much of the discussion was focused on the United States and the unrest felt here. In many ways, the panel felt not like a lecture to the consumer, but a letter to the industry itself. The key takeaways include: focus first and foremost on human health (at office, factory and at origin), embed transparency into your business model and innovate your offerings and how you share your stories.
New craft chocolate strategy: human health, transparency, innovation
A year ago in October, we were in Paris and it was absolute magic. It was a last minute decision. A purely incredible deal on Iceland Air. (Note that if you’re willing to stop-over in Reykjavík while en-route to another destination, airfare can be a bargain, and you can even extend your trip, apparently with zero penalty.) Don’t get us started on how magical Paris was, but this post is about a different landscape — a frozen dusk with quiet, twinkling stars, warm, crackling firelight, snow falling — a comforting yet invigorating experience that you can find just by tasting a chocolate bar by Icelandic brand: Omnom Chocolate.
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 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?