Last Chances: India 74% & Dominican Republic 85%

The heading says it all. We're into the final batches of both bars. Here are tastes of their stories:

India, Anamalai - 74% Dark

This bright and tangy bar has become a favorite with adventurous eaters looking for something extraordinary. In fact, its flavors are so unexpected that for the past year, I have been using it to challenge tasters' ideas of what "chocolate" is even supposed to be. With natural hints of grape jelly, tahini, and toasted peanut--and a place as one of the first American craft chocolate bars made with Indian cacao--this is a limited-edition bar for your inquisitive side.

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Dominican Republic, Rizek Cacao - 85% Dark

Made from an aged cacao harvest (2015), these bars are remarkably mild--despite their high percentage. Why the mildness? It appears to be a product of aging the cacao beans; fresher harvests I've been sampling from the producer, Rizek Cacao, are much more intense. And so, while I'd like to magically age a recent harvest several years overnight in order to make more of this dark yet gentle bar, we all know that's beyond my powers--meaning this is it for a while. All the more reason to savor the final bars. (If you need another reason, they pair perfectly with almost any red wine.)

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Madison Magazine's Top Shelf Summer Taste

Locals: join me and a talented cast of artisan producers from the Madison region for an evening of fresh air, music, and, of course, unlimited food and drink samples. Our distilleries are always well represented; I suggest filling your tasting glass with a favorite spirit, and then challenging me to pick the perfect single-origin chocolate to enjoy with it. Monday, August 6, 6-9pm at Nau-Ti-Gal. Tickets available here.

Tasting Notes from Time To Eat Chocolate

To close this month's letter, I'd like to introduce you to (or perhaps remind you of) Time To Eat Chocolate, a digital tasting diary kept by DC-area chocolate enthusiast and expert Lori Romaine Lauber. Lori was curious enough to find and try my work very early on, and continues to keep tabs on it and scores of other chocolates through her blog. I recommend it as a personable source of chocolate intel that may help you discover new things you like.

In a fascinating piece this past month, Lori shared notes from a side-by-side tasting of my 2016- and 2017-harvest Belize 68% dark bars. Her experience reminds us that the concept of vintage applies to well-made chocolate just as much as it does to well-made wine. Give it a look:

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