Is it pretentious or self-indulgent to make or like chocolate that’s been hand cracked, been ground in granite stone and then roasted in small batches? Does it actually make a difference? Could, I, or anyone tell the difference between say a Mast Brothers or Amano? Perhaps I could with a Duffy’s as it’s so rustic, but between two artisan chocolatiers where one goes that extra mile and the other goes a few million more? I believe not.
Of course you can tell this bar is apart from a Pralus, Domori or El Rey, but perhaps not so easily with an Amedei or Valrhona. What I’m trying to get at is, that whilst a chocolatier may put in extra blood, sweat and tears into a bar, you can only make it as good as the raw ingredients. In this instance I believe the raw cocoa is fine indeed. Its Madagascan and organic with it and naturally they taste superior to the upper-middle tier of chocolate that I’ve listed above.
There’s a smoothness to this chocolate that has a delicious acidity that is somewhat distracted by the hand-harvested salt – although it is supposed to be this way. Just like the 81% Almonds, Sea Salt and Olive Oil bar, I found the additional ingredient just didn’t let enough of the wonderful chocolate to come through. Which leads me to think that, perhaps I’d prefer their unflavoured bars more?
If you can somehow mask out the saltiness and just concentrate on the chocolate then it is a class apart. And without using any emulsifiers and just cacao mass and butter with some cane sugar they’ve done an exceptional job making it so damn smooth. It really is miraculous what they’ve managed to achieve with such rudimentary machinery and the absence of added ingredients to aid the viscosity, but I’m just too distracted by the saltiness.
I know others love it. That’s the beautiful thing about chocolate the same bar for people that generally have the same tastes can illicit so diverse views. I know the wrapping is Brooklyn to a tee (having visited there a couple of times), it is very Bohemian which is very important for progress in the industry, but it just didn’t “hit the spot” for me.
I wish there were more bean to bar chocolatiers, I wish more people were able to try chocolate made by remarkable people with remarkable processes and I just wish I could find a damn list of their other chocolate bars so I can get an order in and try some of their other flavours. I feel a trip down to Paul A. Young to see what other bars there were available.
So, I love the chocolate, I love the packaging, I love the ethos, I love the texture, I love the borough of Brooklyn, I just don’t like one aspect of the flavour.
But, every time I watch a video with Rick and Michael in I keep thinking that this is the pinnacle of chocolate making. I just wonder how profitable it is.
OK, sod it, love everything about it! But the question remains: can you tell the difference? Well if you look at the ingredients and then try the chocolate then you can tell this bar is made by master chocolatiers purely because they’ve not used additives to mask any deficiency in their skills. They’ve used their talents to bring the true character of the cocoa out. Not many people can do that!