Wednesday, September 2, 2015

DIY Chocolate: No Milk Chocolate On Hand? Make some!

A rare thing happened last week. I ran out of milk chocolate.  And unfortunately, it would have been 3 to 5 days before I could get some back in stock (ahem, just one of the problems I face living on an island in Northern Ontario).  Since the busy summer tourism time was still in full swing, I needed to make milk chocolate truffle tarts immediately. So I got to thinking: why not make some milk chocolate?

I did have milk powder on hand, so I knew it was possible to make milk chocolate. But I was still faced with two choices: 1. Use cacao nibs and the skim milk powder to make milk chocolate from bean to bar (see below for a recipe), or 2. add skim milk powder to a semi-sweet chocolate to turn it into milk chocolate.

I quickly ruled out the bean-to-bar option because I don't have a melangeur.  I still use my blender to make homemade chocolate from bean to bar, which means the chocolate would be slightly gritty, which is not nice for truffle making.  And even if I did have a melangeur, I would need to grind the chocolate for at least 24 hours to get it smooth, which meant I still could not make my tarts on time.

So I opted for adding the instant milk powder to semi-sweet chocolate. I simple melted the chocolate over a double boiler, then carefully sprinkled the powder in while using an immersion hand blender to ensure there were no lumps. The chocolate then had to be tempered.

I admit, I was surprised by how good it turned out.  It was not perfectly smooth, like off-the-shelf might be, but it was just fine in my recipe for smooth milk chocolate truffle.

And when I compared the chocolate tarts? Surprisingly, there was no taste difference between my usual milk chocolate truffle tarts, and the ones with the milk chocolate that I made at home.

If you want to make milk chocolate at home, try my method of adding milk powder (about 28-30% of your final batch size) to semi-sweet dark chocolate.  Or, make it from bean to bar using only a blender, smoothie maker or coffee maker!  Here is a recipe for a lovely dark-milk chocolate made from bean-to-bar with natural sugars, using only your blender, coffee maker or smoothie maker!

Bean-to-Bar Dark Milk Chocolate Recipe
(9 ounce batch size, 51.39% cocoa solids):

You need:
  • 2 and 1/4 oz of instant skim milk powder (25%) - I purchased some at Bulk Barn
  • 3 and 5/8 oz of roasted cocoa nibs (cocoa beans, shelled and roasted) (40.28%)
  • 2 and 1/8 oz sugar (I used organic coconut sugar, but you can use granulated cane sugar if you like) (23.61%)
  • 1 oz melted cocoa butter (melt in microwave for 2 minutes) (11.11%)

Instructions:
  1. Melt the cocoa butter in the microwave for 2 minutes on high power.
  2. Mix together cocoa nibs, sugar and skim milk in a blender or smoothie maker (I use the Ninja smoothie blender attachment)
  3. Grind by pulsing on and off for a couple of minutes until the mixture looks moist or darker in colour.
  4. Stir the chocolate mixture, then add the cocoa butter. Grind off and on for a few more minutes until the mixture resembles melted chocolate. Make sure your appliance does not start to become too warm. Stop grinding if the motor area feels warm to the touch to prevent it from overheating.
  5. Pour into a bowl (plastic, glass or stainless steel are all fine choices).
  6. Place over another bowl of ice and water to temper the chocolate. Stir the chocolate (without letting a single drop of water get into the mixture) until it cools to about 80º F. If it starts to harden, rewarm it for a maximum of four seconds in the microwave.
  7. Pour into chocolate or candy molds and then bang them on the counter a few times to get out the air bubbles (you can see clearly from my pictures, that I lazily skipped this step). If you don't have molds, pour onto a large piece of waxed paper and smooth out with a spatula. Cool in the fridge for up to a half hour, then pop out of the molds, or if using waxed paper, break up into pieces.
  8. Seal in an airtight container or in candy bags, and enjoy at room temperature for up to six months!


I like these little flower molds from Bulk Barn. 
The chocolate is perfectly portioned for consumption and each piece is gorgeous!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Coconut Chocolate Ice Cream (Dairy-Free, Egg-Free & Cane Sugar-Free Chocolate Ice Cream)


Buying dairy-free ice cream is always a difficult decision.  Should we choose soy-based, almond based or coconut? And most often, it does not taste quite as good as the package described. So why not make some homemade? It tastes better than the grocery store stuff and you can make it with natural ingredients, and exclude the funky junk like glucose, colours, flavours, or modified starches and oils.

Choosing which milk substitute to use in the ice cream is not easy. Soy and almond milks are not as creamy as whole milk, and they often have sugars added to them. And although coconut milk is thick, it always has a strong coconut flavour. But after thinking about it, I realized that instead of trying to minimize the coconut flavour, why not bring it out even more by adding shredded coconut to the ice cream? That way, the person eating the ice cream will instantly visually expect the coconut flavour before consuming it.

This ice cream recipe has a wonderful texture, with a thick and creamy consistency. And yes, the taste of coconut is very strong at first bite, but it fades rapidly with each consecutive bite and the chocolate flavour takes over.  It also freezes quite well, but after a few days in a deep-freeze you may need to let it sit for 5 minutes before scooping, or microwave for 10 seconds or less in order to scoop it.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Homemade Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream
(dairy-free and cane sugar-free ice cream)

You need:
  • 2/3 cup Cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tbsp. corn starch
  • 3 cups of coconut milk
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup of shredded coconut

Instructions:
  1. Whisk all ingredients together cold in a medium pot (or use an immersion blender to blend quickly and smoothly).
  2. Bring to a simmer on the stove top on medium heat while stirring constantly.
  3. Continue simmering and stirring for 5 to 10 minutes until bubbly and thick.
  4. When done, remove from heat and let cool. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
  5. Place in your ice cream maker and freeze according to the equipment's instructions.
  6. Place in an airtight rectangular container and then sprinkle shredded coconut on top. Freeze immediately for at least 4 to 6 hours for a hard ice cream, or consume as soft ice cream immediately

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Chocolate Bar Round-Up: Zazubean, Flagrants Desirs, and AlterEco

This summer, I have collected various chocolate bars to taste.  But since my little chocolate company keeps me, well, rather busy in the summer time, I have not had much time for writing reviews.  But now the summer craziness is tapering off, so I took a few moments to toss a bunch of chocolate bars together into a 'round-up' review.  So let's begin...


Flagrants DESIRS 72% Dark Chocolate Crispy Crepe, 100g (3.5 oz)

Flagrants Desir Chocolatier (France)
http://www.flagrantsdesirs.com/flagrantsenglish.htm
Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, crispy crepes (sugar, wheat flour, anhydrous milk fat, vegetable oils [copra, palm kernel], lactose, milk proteins, salt, barley malt flour, sodium bicarbonate), cocoa butter, low fat cocoa powder, canola lecithin, natural vanilla flavour. Cocoa solids 72% Minimum in the chocolate. Contains: Gluten (wheat, barley), and milk. May contain: almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pistacios, macadamia nuts, eggs, soya and/or all their derivatives.

Chocolate & Tasting Notes:

The light crunch of the crepes is the highlight of this bar. The crunch certainly makes it fun and easy to eat the entire chocolate bar in one sitting. The chocolate has a nice bitterness for a 72% dark chocolate, with no overwhelming vanilla flavour. The vanilla that is added is natural, which is always important to me (don't you just hate artificial vanilla flavour?). There is not much info about this chocolate on the brand's website - although six other flavours of chocolate bars under the Desirs brand are listed (of which I've tasted one).

This chocolate is made in France. However, what I find incredibly frustrating is the complete lack of company information online. The brand website has only six flavours listed and no other info about the company, where they are made in France or the manufacturing facility. Even the French website has the same limited info. The only information is on the package: Flagrants Desirs it is imported to Canada by: Euro-Excellence Inc. and to the U.S. by Crossings Fine Foods (recently purchased by Saint-Germain in New York).

I found the chocolate at a local HomeSense store for $2.99 CAD.



Zazubean Saltry 'Sea Salt & Almonds' Dark Chocolate with Coconut Sugar, 65% cacao, 85g

Zazubean Organic Chocolate (Vancouver, Canada)
www.zazubean.com
Ingredients: Cocoa mass*+, coconut blossom sugar*+, almonds*, cocoa butter*+, sea salt, vanilla*+.
+Fair Trade Certified
*Certified Organic.
Contains almonds. May contain milk, tree nuts and peanuts.

Chocolate & Tasting Notes:

This is the third cane sugar-free chocolate bar that I have tasted by Zazubean, which is a program by the company that I really like. I have been choosing coconut sugar more and more lately for baking and for some of my homemade bean-to-bar chocolate experiments, because of its low GI properties. Zazubean's Nudie chocolate bar was definitely for the very bitter chocophile, while their 'Sassy' bar was meant for milk chocolate lovers who cannot (or choose not to) have milk.

Zazubean's 'Saltry' chocolate is made with Dominican Republic and Ecuador cacao, but with the addition of salt, almonds and use of coconut sugar, it was difficult to identify any natural 'origin' flavours for the cacao.  However, the entire taste experience was pretty good. My husband, who really prefers milk and white chocolate, truly enjoyed this chocolate bar.  And yet the coconut sugar did not make the chocolate taste too sweet, like some 65% chocolates can be.

If you are dropping cane sugar from your diet, but you don't like bitter, dark chocolate, this may be just the chocolate for you.


Alter Eco VELVET, Dark Organic Chocolate with a 'Touch of Milk", 47% Cacao, 80g
Alter Eco (San Francisco, CA)
www.alterecofoods.ca
Ingredients: Raw cane sugar**, cacao beans**, cocoa butter**, whole milk powder*, butterfat.
*Organic. **Organic and traded in compliance with Fairtrade standards, total 88.5%. Cacao: 47% minimum.

Chocolate and Tasting Notes:

This may be one of my favourite new off-the-shelf chocolate bars. The touch of milk really is that: this is a savoury-style of milk chocolate.  In fact, Alter Eco's VELVET chocolate falls into the 'dark-milk' chocolate category. It is savoury, creamy, buttery and very interesting. I would say it is closer to milk chocolate than dark (although the label clearly calls it 'dark chocolate', but it could be changed to 'dark milk chocolate' which is a respected category all on its own these days).

I purchased this chocolate at a local Bulk Barn in Ontario, Canada.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Manuka Honey Chocolate Truffle Bar Review: I'll take a spoon of honey with that chocolate!


When I saw a chocolate bar labeled: 'Manuka Honey' at a local health food store, I was curious about it. So I purchased one of these chocolate truffle bars and I did a little research. Some of this research was tasting, of course, but I also learned a little about Manuka honey and why it might be promoted as a healthy ingredient to consume in chocolate. Here is what I discoverd, along with the chocolate bar details:

The Manuka Honey Chocolate Truffle Bar with 72% Cocoa Solids
ZibaDel Creations, Inc. (Vancouver, Canada)
www.zibadel.com
Ingredients: Cocoa Mass*, evaporated cane sugar*, cocoa butter*, Manuka honey*, Beechwood honey*, Coconut Oil*, Himalayan Salt, Vanilla Powder*.
*Organic . May contain milk, tree nuts and peanuts.

Chocolate & Tasting Notes:

This chocolate was initially a bit different, with a strong upfront flavour that was earthy, bitter, sharp and definitively honey-flavoured. Manuka honey is a dark honey and said to have an earthy, oily or herbaceous flavour with floral elements (ref). But overall, I didn't mind the chocolate, and neither did my chocolate-loving four-year old son. In fact, I wish I had a second to keep for myself to discover all over again.  The centre was soft, as per the 'truffle' description, although it was not overly soft and smooth, like a smooth truffle in a high end chocolate shop might be.

If you follow a cane-sugar free diet, this unfortunately is not the chocolate for your, as it does contain some cane sugar.  Honey is not easy to acquire in crystal or powder form, so the chocolate used to make the Manuka honey truffle bar contains organic evaporated cane sugar.

The product overall is organic and the ingredients are natural, so if this is your lifestyle, give the product a try.

About Manuka Honey:

Manuka honey is included in the ingredients. So let's learn a little more about it.

Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native manuka bush (ref).  In addition to hydrogen peroxide, which is a natural component of honey, Manuka honey has other components that have antibacterial qualities, including methylglyoxal (MG), which has a higher concentration in Manuka honey and so, "the higher the concentration of MG, the stronger the antibiotic effect." (ref). Although the main use for Manuka honey is for treating minor wounds and burns, to reduce pain and inflammation (medical grade only), others use it to treat and prevent cancer, reduce high cholesterol, treat eye, ear and sinus infections and other health concerns.  Although there is little evidence to show it works on these problems.

Pure Manuka honey is also becoming difficult to acquire: it has become more popular recently and so many international producers are mis-labelling, counterfeiting or adulterating the honey with syrup (ref). ZibaDel claims to use 'Active Manuka honey' in their chocolate truffle bars, which means it should contain the antibacterial properties expected from the honey.

Beechwood honey is also included in the ingredients list, and you may be wondering why. As far as I can tell, it has a nice flavour, and it apparently has the richest mineral content of all honeys (including zinc, calcium, copper, iron, etc.). Beechwood honey is also low in glucose, and fructose, so it is slow to crystalize, which would help in stabilizing the 'truffle' part of the chocolate bar. Beechwood honey also comes from New Zealand, like Manuka honey. (ref)


About the Producer:

The company who makes this chocolate, ZibaDel Creations, also makes skin care products that contain Manuka honey and they sell pure wild-harvested Manuka Oil Extract to treat a range of skin conditions.  Clearly this is a company devoted to Manuka honey as a healthy living food.

Other chocolate truffle bars offered by the company include a milk chocolate enrobed bar with 37% cocoa solids, and 55% dark chocolate bars, which may be for those who find over 70% chocolate too bitter. They also sell a mint dark chocolate Manuka honey bar. You can purchase ZibaDel's chocolate in a local health food store (I bought mine at Paris Natural Foods in Sudbury, Ontario) or online by the case on Zibadel's website.

***
Please note: I have not been enticed in any way or paid to write about this product. I simply purchased it at a local health food store without the knowledge of the company who creates it (now don't get me wrong, I accept samples any time you want to send them to me, but I did not receive any this time!).

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Better-than-Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Ice Cream: Rich, Creamy, Smooth

For those of you who read this blog regularly, you'll know that I've been on a mission this summer to make the best homemade chocolate ice cream in the world. Well, I think I have finally done it!


Best Ever Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream
(topped with spicy cookie crumble - see below for recipe)
Truthfully, someone else already did it before me, I just made some modifications as per my own dietary preferences and somehow created magic.  I found a recipe on another blog called Caramel Potatoes, which was taken from the book 'The Perfect Scoop' by David Lebovitz. Since I had not yet been a fan of homemade ice cream with egg yolks, I decided it was time to give it a try and see what all the fuss was about. With only changing the sugar to organic agave nectar, and using 71% dark organic chocolate, the ice cream came out beautifully.  And the best part?  It's texture and taste only improved after freezing it for one day.  It scooped out beautifully without any trouble at all.

Actually the truly best part was the taste.  This ice cream was, and you can quote me on this, better than Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream.  Partially because it has a natural cane sugar substitute and organic chocolate, and also because I used a richer, darker chocolate.

So I made the ice cream again, just to be sure that it was as good the second time around. I also bought a 500 ml container of Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream to compare the ingredients (Haagen-Dazs contains: Cream, sugar, concentrated skim milk, liquid egg yolk, cocoa). The only change I made the second time was that I used a semi-sweet (56% chocolate) instead of the 71%.  And up against Häagen-Dazs, this homemade ice cream truly stood out. So now, I no longer have to cry about how far away I live from the nearest store that sells Häagen-Dazs ice creams (yes, I really am on an Island) - I can just make my own!

If you want to try the recipe, you can find it below with two options: one for the regular chocolate ice cream lover, and one for the bitter dark chocolate ice cream lover. Oh, and you can reduce the fat by using skim milk instead of whole milk, and replacing one of the cups of cream with milk (i.e. 1 cup cream and 2 cups skim milk). I also tried it with no cream and only skim milk, but the texture was not as smooth; it tasted more like dark chocolate gelato (which is still pretty good!).

But before you make modifications, try the recipe as is. Just make sure you will not be eating it alone (sharing your ice cream is a great strategy to reduce calorie intake!). If you make this recipe first thing in the morning, you can have it ready in time for a dinner party that night!


Better-than-Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe



Adapted slightly from: http://www.caramelpotatoes.com/2013/04/04/chocolate-ice-cream/
Time: 1/2 hour plus freezing time (8 hours)

You need:
2 cups whipping cream
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
5 oz bittersweet (70% dark organic chocolate, chopped OR for a sweeter ice cream, use 55% semi-sweet chocolate, but if using sweeter chocolate, use 1/4 cup less agave)
1 cup whole or skim milk
3/4 cup organic light agave syrup
5 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp real vanilla extract (not necessary if your chocolate has vanilla in it)

Instructions:

  1. Warm 1 cup of the cream with cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking the cocoa until smooth (you can briefly mix with an immersion hand blender instead, if preferred).
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer on low for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, and scrape the sides with a spatula, then set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.
  3. Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan.
  4. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.
  5. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, while constantly whisking, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
  6. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a whisk, until the mixture thickens (about 5 minutes or more, until it coats the spatula).
  7. Pour the mixture through the strainer and stir into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then, if using, stir in the vanilla.
  8. Place your bowl over an ice bath (a larger bowl with ice water in it) and stir until cold (about 15 minutes).
  9. Freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  10. Place in an airtight container and freeze for about 6 to 8 hours before scooping.
Enjoy!



Bonus Recipe: Spicy Cookie Crumble

  1. Mix together 1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour with 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper and 1/2 cup muscovado or brown sugar in a medium bowl. 
  2. Add 1/2 cup melted butter and stir until crumbly. 
  3. Crumble into pieces one a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes at 350ºF until golden.
  5. Let cool then sprinkle on ice cream.

Friday, August 7, 2015

White Chocolate Coconut Crunch Meltaway Squares Recipe

The other day, I needed a quick dessert that would appeal to both children and adults, so I decided to make a square. I am not a big fan of Rice Krispie Squares, because of the super sweet marshmallows and their usual fructose, corn syrup, glucose and artificial flavourings that are added.  So I decided to make a crunchy rice cereal square that was held together by white chocolate. Well, white chocolate meltaway to be exact.

I used organic coconut oil and Camino 3-ingredient organic white chocolate couverture (cocoa butter, whole milk powder and raw cane sugar), to make a healthier square. I did not have the usual brown Rice Krispies on hand, but I did have some delicious One Degree brand of Sprouted Brown Rice Cacao Crisps* (basically Brown Rice Krispies rolled in a cocoa powder and coconut sugar glaze). So I tossed those in and topped the whole thing with unsweetened coconut, making an absolutely gluten-free dessert.

The squares still tasted quite sweet, despite the white chocolate being not-so-sweet and diluted with coconut oil and cereal. They also melted deliciously in the mouth, making them a hit with the party-goers, young and old.

So here is the recipe:


White Chocolate Coconut Crunch Meltaway Squares:
Time: 15 minutes + 10 minutes in fridge prior to cutting the squares.

You need:
-450g (16 oz) organic white chocolate (Camino couverture, or nearly five 100g white chocolate bars under any brand of your choice)
-135g (4 oz)  organic coconut oil
-250 ml (1 cup) One Degree sprouted brown rice (or just regular Rice Krispies or rice cereal)
-1/8 tsp ground vanilla bean or scrapings of 1 vanilla bean (do not use liquid extract, if no vanilla bean, leave it out of the recipe or buy white chocolate with vanilla already in it)
-1/4 cup shredded or flakes unsweetened coconut

Instructions:

Please note: Prepare your 8" square pan by lining it with a piece of plastic wrap, and measure out your ingredients in advance. You will need to quickly add these ingredients before your square sets, which will happen rapidly at the end, so you can't be measuring out the rice cereal at that time.

1. Melt your coconut oil in a small bowl the microwave for about 50 seconds and set aside.

2. Melt your white chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave for 2 minutes and 10 seconds on half power (to about 110º F), stir and then continue stirring while quickly reducing the temperature to 78º F (or cool to touch but still liquid) by placing your bowl over an ice bath.  Be careful not to get any water drops into the chocolate, not even one!

3. Add the coconut oil & vanilla bean to the chocolate and stir until the mixture begins to thicken or reaches close to room temperature.

4. Quickly add the rice cereal and stir. Immediately pour into your prepared pan and spread around until flat.

5. Sprinkle the coconut on top.

6. Refrigerate for 10 minutes and then remove from the fridge. Cut into squares.

These will keep in a sealed container for up to 6 months!  You can freeze if you like, but there is no need.


Recipe Options:
  • Add a few drops of peppermint oil (not liquid extract, just the oil) for a minty square - delicious!
  • Double the amount of rice cereal for a crunchier version of the square, more reminiscent of Rice Krispie Squares.
  • Add 100 grams of peanut butter to your coconut oil before adding it to the chocolate mixture for a delicious peanut butter & chocolate treat!
Enjoy!

*I am not being sponsored or enticed in any way by this company, but I thought you should know that I purchased the One Degree cereal at Costco in Canada. The company website is: www.OneDegreeOrganics.com.

DOMORI; Fine Chocolate Direct from Italy!


My network of traveling friends is growing each year. Being 'stuck' on an Island the past seven years (yes, I can leave, but I am definitely very far from the nearest commercial airport), I have relied on this network in recent times to help lower my shipping costs on the chocolate that I order. And recently, I scored big when my best friend honeymooned in Italy. She and her husband brought back some chocolate from Domori, a very fine Italian chocolate maker, just for me.

I am sure that I have tasted Domori chocolate once or twice before, but it was long before my blogging days, and before I could identify origin and bean type flavours, and  cocoa butter content in fine chocolate. So at this time, receiving a line-up of Domori chocolate is a real treat.

Some of the chocolate was a bit melted, given that it traveled to North America during Italy's warm Spring weather, and then to me in our July temperatures. But I simply re-melted and tempered the chocolate that needed it, and tasted it after. Luckily the Javagrey milk chocolate bar was in perfect condition, so I could experience its delicate nature to the fullest. So let's start with a review and tasting notes of Javagrey, followed by the other Domori chocolates that I tasted this week...


Domori D-Fusion Javagrey 45% (Milk Chocolate with Criollo Cocoa and Grey Cow's Milk), 25g
Batch: L4142 (exp. 31/05/2016)
Ingredients: Cane sugar, cocoa butter, milk powder, cocoa mass. Emulsifier: Soy lecithin.
Product Information: http://www.domori.com/en/prodotto/9627/GRYCBOGG/javagrey

Tasting Notes: A MUST-TRY!

The Javagrey chocolate is a part of Domori's 'D-Fusion' product line.  This is a concept that more and more chocolate makers (predominantly bean-to-bar, craft chocolate makers) are adopting, where flavour is highlighted in chocolate without adding 'artificial flavour' or taking away from the natural origin flavours of the cocoa beans. Immediately I can see that Domori has wanted a naturally smoky milk chocolate bar by using cocoa beans from East Java, which are known to be smoky.

This chocolate was much like Bonnat's Java, although a little less smoky. It's colour was quite unusual, which I believe to be a combination of very high cocoa butter content (cocoa butter is naturally 'butter' colour, so when added in large quantities, it will lighten the colour of the chocolate) and the Criollo bean type used to make the chocolate bar.  Criollo beans can often be white in colour (before roasting) and therefore result in a light-coloured chocolate bar (i.e. a 70% dark chocolate bar can look like a milk chocolate bar when Criollo beans are used to make the chocolate).

I found Bonnat's 65% Java milk chocolate bar to be creamier in texture, but then again, Domori's uses 45% cocoa solids, which explains the difference. There is also a very mild smoky flavour, nearly undetectable at first taste. Domori explains that the smoky flavours are 'toned down' by the milk of the 'grey Tirol cows' used to make this milk chocolate. Admittedly I have no idea what the difference is between 'grey cow's milk' and white cow's milk, but it seems to have done something nice for this chocolate bar because it is delectable, delicate and interestingly delicious. What's most unique is that the chocolate does not leave that common mouth-watering effect that sugary milk chocolates leave, which always make you want to eat too much. This chocolate is definitely very low in sugar, much like a very dark chocolate.


Domori IL100% Criollo, 0.88oz (25g)
Batch: L4147 (exp: 30/11/2016)
Ingredients: Cocoa mass.
Product Information: http://www.domori.com/en/prodotto/9523/EZCNQQEQ/100-criollo

Tasting notes:  Good comparative 100% chocolate!
This chocolate had very low acidity. It was delicate, and yet bitter. Certainly it was not fruity like a 100% Madagascar chocolate bar might be. If you are looking for bitter cocoa, that is not harsh from acidity, this is it. It also is so mild in origin flavours that it would be a good anchor chocolate for a tasting line-up of 100% chocolate bars (i.e. compare to 100% Ecuador, 100% Madagascar, etc.).

Domori IL100%, 0.88oz (25g)
Batch: L4132 (exp. 31/10/2016)
Ingredients: 100% cocoa mass.
Product Information: http://www.domori.com/en/prodotto/9623/ZENEQLRM/the-100-blend

Tasting Notes:
If you are just as confused as me as to what the differences are between Domori's IL100% chocolate bar versus the IL 100% Criollo chocolate, then I can tell you that Domori lists its IL 100% as one of its 'blend tablets', meaning that cocoa beans from different origins were blended together to create a unique tasting chocolate. This chocolate was more bitter and acidic than the single origin Venezuela Criollo 100% bar.

Domori Cacao Criollo 'Cuor di Criollo' Dark and Milk Chocolate Hearts, 1.76 oz (50g)
Ingredients: Cocoa mass, cane sugar, cocoa butter, milk powder. Emulsifier: soy lecithin.
Batch: L4293 (exp. 31/10/2016)
Product Information: http://www.domori.com/en/prodotto/9530/JMPSGCGK/cuor-di-criollo

Tasting Notes:  Great Gift!

The chocolate hearts - which were adorably cute by the way - had unfortunately been exposed to a lot of heat during their travels.  The milk chocolate was not as affected, so I tasted them as is. However, the dark chocolate hearts had been affected in both texture (almost brittle) and taste, so I picked them out of the box and re-melted and tempered them to have a better tasting. I put them into my flower mold and tasted them some time later. 

The dark chocolate was distinctly delicate, and very creamy in taste, which was not so much from the addition of cocoa butter, but rather the origin flavour and type of cacao. Based on the straight up creamy chocolate flavour, with no hint of fruit, smoke or other discernible flavours, I suspect the Criollo cacao used to make the chocolate was from Venezuela.

As for the milk chocolate hearts, there was certainly something organic tasting about it, and perhaps a flavour reminiscent of aging butter. Although it is similar to the Javagrey, it is not the same, perhaps not as creamy in texture, and perhaps a little sweeter tasting, with a mild dulce de leche caramel-and-cream taste, and definitely no smoky flavour.

***
For more information about Domori in Italy, visit the company website: http://www.domori.com/.

The Domori chocolate that I reviewed above can be purchased in the US online at Chocosphere and Amazon, and in the UK at the Chocolate Trading Company  and Chocolatiers.  Check your local specialty chocolate retailer to see if it is sold in store near you.