Last December, while doing chocolate-related research, I stumbled across a whole new world of chocolate.
Craft chocolate. Bean to bar chocolate. Artisanal chocolate. Small batch chocolate. There are a lot of names for it, but, suffice it to say, it’s not the mass-produced chocolate commonly found on the shelves of grocery stores and convenience stores. Instead, it is chocolate meticulously made by companies that are so small they sometimes consist of only one to two people, whose mission is not just to provide high-quality chocolate, but also an incredible chocolate experience. (I could definitely make a hobby out of trying different flavors and collecting packaging…)
One of the first craft chocolates I happened to run across (online) was Dick Taylor. The geographical distance between us didn’t stop me from admiring the high-quality packaging and the stunning design on the chocolate bars themselves. The glowing reviews cemented my decision that someday, if the opportunity arose, I was going to make one of those bars mine.
Fast forward to April: There was a little extra room in a package headed my way. I picked Dick Taylor Maple Coconut.
The packaging was just as special as it looks; custom-printed, with most flavors featuring scenes of boats or boat-building (can you guess what Dustin Taylor & Adam Dick of Dick Taylor did before making chocolate?!). Inside, the gold foil gives way to what I call the the “exquisite diamond shapes with filigrees”, immediately recognizable as Dick Taylor chocolate.
Those of you that have seen pristine bars of Dick Taylor in person are probably wondering what I could have possibly done to mine to make it look so…non pristine. It wasn’t me. Clarification: It was my fault for initiating the journey that caused it to turn out that way, but it wasn’t me.
This bar had to travel from its birthplace in northern California several thousand miles south, and it’s not a direct flight in a private jet being pampered with bubble wrap and cold packs. It’s a warmer, bumpier ride with several stops, all of which give ample time for chocolate to change colors. And shapes. This bar fared worse than some, but thankfully, it’s all cosmetic. The taste was not affected in any way.
This is a grown-up chocolate. Stop laughing and let me finish. (I’m well aware some kids would still like it.) It’s not a super-sweet, colorfully packaged candy chocolate that would appear to most kids. It’s waaaaay more sophisticated than that.
First I tasted coconut – this bar had plenty – then a hint of maple – then the chocolate, a pure and rich chocolate taste unclouded by too much sugar. The Dick Taylor Maple Coconut bar is made from cacao grown in Belize and also contains sea salt. The chocolate itself tasted fruity to me, which may be partially because of the coconut and partially because all high-quality dark chocolates taste fruity to me. (Maybe my taste buds are messed up, but if so, I don’t want them fixed!)
It was a treat to experience Dick Taylor chocolate in person. It is definitely a chocolate that will go in my fond-memories-book (the one I keep in my head).