Just when you think you have things figured out, the universe teaches you a lesson. I recently commented that chocolate typically falls into two categories: elegant or earthy. Then, I tasted Pure Dark which manages to be both high end and primal. The last time I had this particular experience was when I got my hands on some of England’s finest organic chocolate from Montezumas (unfortunately, they are not keen on shipping to the U.S.). Well, now I know where to get my next fix; but, don’t say I didn’t warn you: This chocolate is highly addictive. I had to exert some major self-control to stop eating the barks, and one of the mixes is like trail mix on crack.
Pure Dark’s barks and slabs come packaged in simple waxed butcher’s paper sporting a block print design of cacao pods. It’s lovely and provides lots of room to lean over as you scarf down their wares. I sampled three. The first was a thick slab enhanced with caramelized nibs and coarse sugar. The incredible texture and crunch had me from the first bite, complex flavors, with just the right amount of sugar, complimented the crunch and sweetness of the nibs. An awesome combination. Next up was the bark topped with walnuts, cranberries, blueberries, and nibs. This was much thinner, and almost as addictive. An exciting mix of flavor, texture, chewiness, and chocolate intensity. Last, I tried the plain slab (the slabs are abut 1″ thick). I thought this would be boring in comparison to the other two, but it was fabulous. Something about biting into that thick brick of chocolate, the aroma, the funky marks from the tines used to break up the chocolate from a very large block, and the delicious, deep, dark flavor gives them every right to call it Pure Dark.
Next up, I sampled three of their 1″ flat chocolate discs they call rounds. Raspberry, with an intense dusting of dehydrated raspberry powder that looked as if it had been air-brushed on top, was different from any other raspberry I have ever tasted. The concentrated fruit flavor really blew me away. Cardamom was similarly dressed in a coating of fine spice powder that is a great choice for all of you who, like me, are partial to this flavor. Chipotle rounds had a good balance of sweetness and heat, wonderful for revving up your endorphins. I strongly suggest allowing the disc to melt slowly in your mouth–it is the perfect size–and experience a heavenly merging of fruit or spice, and incredibly satisfying chocolate.
There was also a bag of mixed nibs that blended caramelized nibs, plain nibs, and dark chocolate coated nibs. While the enrobed ones were my favorites, I like the mix of textures when all three were combined. You could supplement this with a variety of dried fruits and roasted nuts for a unique combination; or, you could partake of one of their designer mixes: Fusion, with pecans, candied ginger, caramelized nibs, and dark chocolate covered nibs was unusual but tasty. Ginger and chocolate covered nibs are very seductive: crunchy, hot-sweet, and silky. The Island Mix was a winner from the first bite, sweet mango played against buttery macadamias, crunchy caramelized nibs and smooth chocolate coated nibs. Caveat emptor. It really is challenging to stop eating this.
I enjoyed every one of the products I tried. My two absolute favorites were the slab with crystalized sugar and nibs, and the dark chocolate covered nibs. Both are different from other offerings on the chocolate scene, and only become more delicious with each bite. My chocolates arrived in a burlap sack with a drawstring. It was utilitarian and oddly aesthetic in a rough hewn way.