Oh happy day! My order of Steve DeVries’ Chocolate came in today, and in addition to the chocolate (77% Costa Rican Triniario and 80% Dominican), they came with a very nice bonus: a little packet of caramelized cacao nibs! The nibs are almost like deconstructed milk chocolate, in that they are nibs covered with a little butter and a little sugar. Of course, they don’t taste much like milk chocolate, but they are delightful. The butter and sugar are a nice smooth counterpart to the sharp, brighter flavors of the nibs. They are like the world’s most sophisticated M&Ms..sweet on the outside, and crunchy, sharp and slightly bitter inside. The package says that he’ll be selling these on the web site soon. Now, if I only had a little ice cream around to sprinkle these on….
So, outside of the prize in the Crackerjack box, how is the chocolate, you ask? Mighty fine. I’m saving the dark Dominican for tomorrow, but tore into the Costa Rican right away. These chocolates are labelled with the ingredients (the bare essentials: cacao and cane sugar) and the conch time (84 hours.) The Costa Rican has got that tasty fruit/grape initial flavor that’s followed by a big blast of chocolate that’s more astringent than bitter. It’s a thick, slow-melt chocolate with a super long finish. The 84 hours of conching shows in a very fine texture, but given the amount of aromatic notes that are left, it must be a pretty low temperature conch. This is a great chocolate, and it’s inspirational to see what careful craftsmanship can achieve.