I am a big fan of Art Pollard’s chocolates (see other reviews). This new dark bar, Montanya, made with beans from northern Venezuela, in an area only accessible on horseback, is delicious. It’s tempered to a satisfying snap, the bar is scored into perfect bite-sized pieces, and last but not least, the flavor is deep and complex. There are notes of tobacco and plum, with just a hint of acidity to balance out the richness of the chocolate. On the box, it says the dominant flavors are apricot and marshmallow. I disagree. That description might lead you to think Montanya is wimpy, but it’s not. This chocolate makes a big statement, which is why a little goes a long way. A good thing, as Art’s bars are all two ounces and retail for $8.95 each. One of the reasons I adore his wares is that a few pieces really sate my chocolate cravings.
The artwork on all three boxes, two paintings by Carie Henri, and one by Alexander Selytin, is so appealing against the shiny color-saturated backgrounds that you’d have to be made of stone to resist buying one of these on the visuals alone.
As for the two new milk bars, I must confess, when I saw that each was made with 30% chocolate I almost let out a disappointed sigh. Immediately, I recollected all the other bars I had tried that were cloyingly sweet and vapid; but, these were Art’s babies so my optimism was stoked. The Ocumare has more of a crisp texture than is typical with most milk chocolates, and, happily, the flavor of the beans still comes through. It isn’t cloyingly sweet, making it an excellent choice for adults who want a more sophisticated, but still milky chocolate. The Jembrana is milder. It would be interesting to have a milk chocolate tasting with the Ocumare, some of Slitti’s Lattenero (see review), and the Seeds of Change 43%. It certainly seems as if there’s a strong trend towards higher cacao content milk bars, and Art is bucking that with two 30% options.