Dick Taylor 72% Madagascar Dark Chocolate

Sometimes when I review I’ll have two or three pieces and want more. I’ll have to step back for a while and let my senses reset before I sit back down so my thoughts and senses are clear enough to do the chocolate justice. The ability to resist temptation and eat fantastic chocolate too quickly is one that I still struggle with and that’s certainly the case here with this Dick Taylor 72% Dark Chocolate.  For those of you who haven’t heard of this company, Adam Dick and Dustin who are based in Arcata, California, USA are former artisan carpenters and have changed crafts from working with wood to working with cocoa beans.

When you open up a bar of their chocolate you’re likely to be struck by the intricate design, I know everyone says this, but that ornate mould is very much reminiscent of some of the antique furniture I see kicking about in high-end shops on the Fulham Road or other discerning parts of the capital. I’ve often criticised the design of Hotel Chocolat’s Rabot chocolate for not matching the mould with the quality of flavours present in this range as it does nothing to reflect the craft work that goes into making fine chocolate. You certainly, however, couldn’t level that criticism with Dick Taylor.

There’s just so much going on here, it’s obscene. It’s citrus fruits in chocolate form. You’ll have lemon cutting through caramel. There’s blackcurrant and rising above mango. There’ dashes of pine wood holding off mushroom and then dominated by horseradish. Some bites will even finish with marshmallow. Brain does not compute. There’s peat, gin and tonic. Seriously, this surely should not overload my senses as much as it does.

The melt is less evident than is the case with thicker chocolate, such as the wonderful stuff created by Friis Holm. But that being said, if you can resist quickening the delivery of the flavour by chewing you’ll have the most pleasant of texture sensations. It imparts that flavour in a steady stream of alternate tones. That flood of flavour is symphonic.

I had jumped straight into the flavour, texture and appearance of the chocolate itself and had missed one of the aspects that I find compelling, and perhaps a great draw if placed in a bricks and mortar chocolate shop – the packaging. From inside to out this is a great chocolate. The greatest challenge of someone working with wood is the creation of sea going vessels and that is exactly what is portrayed on the packaging. To me, at least, it signifies great skill and craftsmanship. The ability to create something of great intricacy but still one that serves a purpose. With this chocolate that purpose may not be the bringing in a watery harvest, but the provision of food for the soul.

You can pick this chocolate up in the US from their website and in the UK from the shop I run (and yes, those views given above aren’t doctored to try and make you buy, my reputation means to much to me to be anything other than truthful).

Lee McCoy

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