It was very hard to narrow them down, but here are 5 craft chocolate bars I’m excited to try in 2021.  (Technically I’m excited about far more than five.  I might have to do a part two!)

Vanilla Milk Chocolate* by Dick Taylor

This Dick Taylor bar is made with A2/A2 milk, which is most natural to the body and easily absorbed.  Their hazelnut milk bar*, also with A2/A2 milk, was launched at the same time and also sounds like an absolute treat.)  I’m glad Dick Taylor decided to include vanilla.  It seems to me so many craft chocolate companies do not use vanilla (perhaps fearing it would mask or hide the flavor of the cacao) but I’m a huge fan of vanilla and believe it to complement the cacao instead of overshadowing it.  I have heard such rave review of this bar from many chocolate influencers.

(My vanilla milk bar arrived yesterday and therefore there are no proper pictures yet.  This shot is of one my previous Dick Taylor selections, candied almond.)

Lemon Myrtle by Atypic

My travel options are limited to traveling the world via chocolate, and one of the most far away places to travel to is Australia, where Atypic is made.   A far-away locale + a cute mould (hot air balloon-ish) + one of my favorite chocolate inclusions (lemon) made this bar shoot to the top of my to-try list this year.

Peru Ucayali 70%* by Goodnow Farms

This is a “plain” dark chocolate.  You may have noticed I’m big on dark milk chocolate or chocolate with inclusions, but I do love a “plain” dark chocolate and I don’t know if you’ve seen pictures of this one but it is plastered with academy of chocolate award stickers and international chocolate award stickers, a clear indication that a lot of educated tastebuds thought this to be one of the best dark chocolates out there.   Goodnow keeps popping up as “the chocolate to try” and I’m ready for my first taste.

Castronovo White Chocolate With Lemon Unwrapped Yellows Still Life Photo

(This is a winner I tried a few years ago, White Chocolate With Lemon Oil and Lemon Salt* by Castronovo.  It’s….white chocolate perfection.  Can’t say enough good things about this bar and I may have caught myself daydreaming about it a few times.)  (Too bad I don’t still live in Florida, I can see myself making a road trip to Stuart to stock up…and try the other Castronovo confections!)

Goodio Metsa (Forest)

First of all, this bar has the foreign-locale-travel-the-world-by-tasting-chocolate-from-around-the-world thing going for it (it’s made in Norway).  Second of all….birch and forest crystals in chocolate?  Yes please! Sounds just strange enough to add to my repertoire of  “strange things I’ve tried in chocolate”.  (Not quite as strange as shrimp or ants but it’s up there…

Marou Kumquat

This Vietnamese maker makes thin delicate bars (much like the so-dear-to-my-heart Francheschi in Venezuela) and I’m loving the fact they have a few inclusion bars that are becoming more widely available, in addition to their usual offering of dark chocolates made from cacao grown in various regions of Vietnam. I chose kumquat (citrus again!).     I haven’t seen actual kumquats around here so I’m guessing when it comes time to photograph this, you should expect flowers next to the chocolate in the photo instead of actual kumquats.

Which 5 bars are you most exited to try in 2021?  Let me know in the comments!

Happy chocolate tasting,

*These are affiliate links; I earn a small commission from chocolate/other items purchased via these links.

Months ago, when the araguaney flowers were in bloom, I held my breath as I opened a special chocolate,
the Dick Taylor Northerner Blend bar. Would it be broken? Would it be bloomed? (Neither would be anybody’s fault but mine.  Anybody crazy enough to subject her chocolate to a week-long many-stops journey is just *asking* for bloomed chocolate.)

I needn’t have worried.

Dick Taylor Northener Blend Chocolate Stilllife Photo

It was perfect.

Dick Taylor easily makes everyone’s list (including mine) of the prettiest, most intricate, and most recognizable chocolate molds. (They could even remove the logo in the middle and people from Australia to France would still have no trouble naming the maker!)

I could take photos of Dick Taylor for hours. In fact, I DID take photos of this Dick Taylor Northener Blend bar for hours.  By the time I was done with the poor thing it was rather hard to pick up, but it was exactly the right consistency for tasting.

(Sorry, no more sneak peaks, aside from the ones below. Let’s just say it looks just as stunning with purple and with blue as it does with yellow!)

But these bars are not just for looks. They’re meant to be enjoyed (as reluctant as we all are to mar that gorgeous design).

That back includes the story of how the Northerner bar got its name. The packaging also includes the tasting notes: Dried Apricot / Honey / Cocoa

Dick Taylor Northerner Blend Chocolate Bar (Back of Wrapper)

Cool, no?

Dick Taylor Website:
Dick Taylor On Instagram:
More Original Chocolate Photography (by yours truly):







New chocolate bars fascinate me.  The anticipation of the taste is a big part of the fascination, but there’s more to it than that.  Many chocolate companies are outdoing themselves in the packaging department, so the wrappers are quite a treat to inspect. Part of the intrigue are the names that the different chocolate makers have chosen (both for their company and for their chocolate), and the stories behind those names.

The fascination does not end when the chocolate that comes home with me (or home to me) is carefully inspected from front to back, photographed from every angle (remind me to tell you about my 154 GIGS of chocolate photos sometime) and sampled. The packaging is never thrown away.  Instead, it goes into my collection of wrappers to reference later, to use for other photo-ops, or to be re-purposed.  (A plastic insert with shallow indentations that had originally held pralines in place makes a perfect mold for dark chocolate mint thins!  And I really ought to look into decoupage. Only I’d need something big in order to use up the quantity of wrappers that just had to be rehoused because they were outgrowing their drawer.  Anyone ever decoupaged an entire wall of their house with chocolate wrappers?) (Disclaimer: I don’t have enough wrappers for a whole wall…yet.)

There Will Be a Test Afterwards - Craft Chocolate Photo

Pictured: Andean Lemon Verbena by Pacari, Milk Chocolate by TCHO, Smoked Chai by Raaka, and Maple Coconut by Dick Taylor. (I’m making them sound like perfumes. Come to think of it, all of those would likely make nice scents!)

The taste, the wrappers, the packaging, re-purposing the packing…even after all of that, there’s at least one more thing that is fascinating, and that is: What will other people think of each chocolate?  There are usually a few squares leftover to share with this friend or that friend. I know, I know.  Leftover chocolate; is that even possible?  Trust me, it takes great restraint to keep my hands off the whole bar, box, or bag.  Sometimes it’s impossible; there is almost never any milk chocolate left to share (my apologies to my milk-chocolate loving friends)!


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…)

A Whole New World of Chocolate - Dick Taylor Maple Coconut

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.