Somewhere, in the mini-processing plant that is my brain, chocolate is roughly divided into two categories: refined and earthy. I enjoy both, as each has its merits. The sublime snap, gloss, and multifarious levels of taste in a high end bar is an epicurean delight, while the raw, less refined experience of a more basic bar can take me back to the soil. It’s like comparing Stravinsky to the Stones, a bit absurd. Sometimes, you want one and other times only the other will do.
Shaman chocolates falls in the second category. The company was created by Brant Secunda, shaman and ceremonial leader in the Huichol Indians of Mexico in the Sierra Madre mountains. 100% of the profits are donated to the tribe, which helps keep their traditions alive. In addition to being organic, this is also a Fair Trade product.
I sampled five of their bars. All had an earthy, almost chewy chocolate texture. The 82% bar was my favorite. It didn’t have much sugar, only one gram, but it wasn’t bitter. The 60% bar had 15 grams of sugar which masked the intense taste of the beans, something I found appealing in the 82% bar. The 60% with Green Tea and Ginger was my least favorite of the bunch. Their 60% bar with Acai, Lemon and range was full of little crunchy bits and the flavor was citrusy without being overpowering. My second favorite was the 37% organic Milk with Macadamia Nuts and Pink Sea Salt. I often eschew milk chocolate because the milk is not organic (who needs extra growth hormones and antibiotics in their diet?), but, here, it is. The buttery macadamia nuts married well with the hint of salt.
They make two other dark bars, one with raspberries, and the other with hazelnuts, a milk bar with coconut, and a plain 37% milk.