The older I get the more I appreciate something different, as long as it’s not different for different’s sake. When it comes to chocolate, that might be a particularly fabulous bean, a new flavor combination, or just a novel take on a classic. So, smoked Cornish sea salt in a 70% bar, or coconut and raspberry intrigue me.
Seed and Bean is based in Britain and devoted to producing an organic, Fair Trade, handmade chocolate range using beans from four areas: the two volcanic islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic.
I sampled five of their dark bars:
70% with Cornish Sea Salt is a very silky chocolate from Nacional cacao enhanced with a hint of smoked salt. It sated my chocolate craving with its lingering briny edge, and micro-crystals of subtle crunch. A truly excellent bar.
72% Extra Dark from Dominican Trinitario beans is a deep, layered experience of dark fruit flavors in a very smooth, slowly melting bar.
58% Just Ginger is made from the same bean with the addition of spicy ginger. Here, though, the ginger is not crystalized, but powdered. This allows it to fully infiltrate every bite, adding just the right amount of heat and complexity to a sweeter, creamier chocolate.
72% Chili and Lime is fetchingly hot and citrusy. Not scorchingly hot, but hot enough to grab your attention without making you suffer. The beans are Dominican Trinitarios.
66% Coconut and Raspberry uses São Tomé cacao, a touch of virgin coconut oil, raspberries, and raw cane sugar to create an easy-to scarf-down chocolate. The coconut oil adds just a hint of flavor while complementing the raspberries and velvetizing the texture.
Seed and Bean currently offers 18 different bars, including milk and white options. You can order from outside the U.K. by contacting them on their website. (All the companies I have reviewed are linked on the right side of this page.)