As a teenager I sailed on my father’s 1935 single-hander sloop. It was built for racing with an 8 1/2′ beam and a 6′ keel. During strong winds the boat would heel at such an angle that the gunnels were submerged. Exhilarating but very scary. While I haven’t been sailing for many years, I remembered those days when I saw the beautiful gaff rigged boat adorning Chequessett Chocolate’s website.
Katie Reed and Josiah Mayo’s relatively new venture into chocolate making is yielding impressive results. I sampled a wide variety of their bars and was completely smitten.
Though it’s not a prerequisite for a great taste experience, packaging certainly enhances my enjoyment. Chequessett’s old fashioned envelope design, with a string closure at the back that winds in a figure eight pattern, is particularly fetching. To keep your precious cargo neat and intact, there is a cello resealable envelope tucked inside. The design is a mariner’s chart in silver on a midnight blue background. The visuals enticed and intrigued me before I even tasted one morsel.
The bars themselves feature a variety of sailor’s knots in bas relief. This unique, beautiful design enhances the perfectly tempered chocolate.
72% Zorzal Comumitario from the Dominican Republic offers up the deep, rich complex flavor of this bean that I know and love in a velvety textured bar with a lovely lingering finish.
The 83% Tumaco Narino bar has pronounced coffee, licorice and earthy notes. Its slightly dry finish encourages the flavor to linger.
Santa Maria Cahabon 72% from Guatemala has notes of plum, raisin, cherry, and a hint of chestnut. The satisfying long finish paradoxically made me want more.
Nantucket Nib Crunch 77% has a scattering of toasted nibs underneath which gives it textural interest without making it a tooth cracking experience. The chocolate’s flavor is very mild for a 77%, just in case you want a higher cacao content bar that’s easy to scarf down.
69% Provincetown Pure Dark was another all-too-easy-to eat bar. If I were a carpenter I would say it wasn’t even a bubble off plumb. Supremely balanced, gentle, silky textured…a wonderful bar for anyone wanting a high end dark chocolate that holds your interest over time.
With both peppermint oil and tiny shards of peppermint candy cane, 70% Peppermint Candy Cane is another bar showcasing the chocolatier’s restraint. Its refreshing mint flavor, slightly crunchy texture and dark chocolate base make it a great after dinner choice.
Twenty Boat buttered Rum is perfectly calibrated to deliver a subtle rum flavor within its creamy 55% dark milk base. In addition to spiced rum, the bar has allspice, anise, cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla and sea salt. Reading that ingredient list would have given me the impression that too much was going on; luckily, I tasted it before I read the label. The finished product belies the cornucopia of spices as it’s gentle on the palate. Unlike anything else on the market. Crave worthy.
Another amazing combination appears in their Sconset Brown Butter Sage bar. Here, a 52% dark milk is paired with organic browned butter and sage. Truly inspired. Nuanced, satisfying, even mesmerizing in its unusual blend of flavors.
As someone has to take the night watch, Chequessett offers a Monomoy Moccachino 60% dark milk with coffee that would keep anyone alert. Alert to the deft touch and ultra smooth texture this bar delivers. Unlike many other chocolate-coffee combos, here the coffee is a flavor enhancer, not a textural experience derived from ground beans.
45% Mass Bay Dark Milk is for anyone you know who is ready to try dark chocolate after a lifetime of milk chocolate loyalty. Its higher intensity than is traditional for typical milk chocolate, though its sweet, caramel flavors could easily lure them to the dark side.
Another original combination is their 32% White Lemon Thyme with lemon oil and turmeric. It won the Good Food award in 2020. Once again, the inspired combination of flavors, applied with a light hand, enhance the white chocolate base with far more complexity than you might expect.
All Chequessett’s bars are direct trade and sweetened with evaporated cane juice.
I would be hard pressed to choose favorites from the large flight I sampled. Each had its own appeal, though some were vastly different from others.
Any, or the whole line up, would make an extravagant and welcome gift for your favorite chocophile. You can find them, and other chocolate treats, at: http://www.chequessettchocolate.com