By using less ubiquitous Criollo and Trinitario beans, Olivia Chocolate achieves a very smooth bar with a rounded flavor that, even in the stratosphere of percentages, is gentle on the palate.
Olivia’s wares are made from ethically traded, responsibly grown, certified organic, single-origin Caribbean cocoa. The Criollo and Trinatario beans they use are slow roasted at low temperatures to maintain the nutrient value and flavors of the raw bean. Like me, they are passionate in their conviction that chocolate is a health food.
I enjoyed sampling five of their creations, all of which were nicely tempered and had a good snap.
The 76% Maple bar boasted a hint of maple flavor and was not discernibly sweeter than its plain cousin. Their 86% rendition was as intense as you might expect at this level of cocoa solids, yet remarkably easy to scarf down.
The two raw chocolates I tried had an excellent texture. In some ways, I liked the 85% raw bar best. It had a complex citrusy profile and was a little less creamy than its roasted counterpart. While none of these bars could be described as creamy, they were devoid of the grittiness that can sometimes characterize raw chocolate.
The folks at Olivia recommend pairing their chocolate with Port or dessert wines, and I agree. The sweetness of the wine would enhance the intensity of the chocolate, and vice-versa.