I seem to be gravitating towards bars with fruit, so I thought I’d try Christopher Elbow’s Artisanal 61% Chocolate bar No. 3 with dried blueberries, cherries, and almonds. The chocolate is not as snappy or shiny as one might want it to be, but that may be because of all the add-ins. I would not expect a bark, that’s chock-full of fruit or nuts to have any real snap, but this is a bar, so the chocolate is still the predominant experience.
I guess the reason to choose a blander chocolate when one is adding three other flavorful ingredients is that it won’t compete, but many chocolatiers don’t subscribe to this theory. Michael Mischer, for example, whose bars are celestial amalgamations of chocolate, fruits and nuts uses Criollo beans from Venezuela or Ecuador, and he gives you a choice of 65 or 72 percent. I’m in Michael’s camp on this one.
My favorite aspect of this bar was the cherries. A more perfect chewy, slightly sweet variety could not have been found. The blueberries were also plump and flavorful. In spite of those two attributes I would not buy this product again. The texture was not satisfying, and the tiny bits of almonds weren’t a big enough presence to offset the larger pieces of fruit. At this juncture of my life, fine is not a compelling enough reason to buy something.
The packaging is attractive, but plain and utilitarian, almost business-like. It says, “This chocolate making is serious business.” Maybe so, but I seek out my daily dose for fun and mood elevation, along with all the other great attributes of high quality chocolate, so packaging does make a difference. I’m visually consuming way before the chocolate hits my lips.
Perhaps, the other varieties are better. One is a very funky blend of 61% dark chocolate and popping candy. If you try it let me know what you think.