Santa Barbara Chocolate Company

Santa Barbara Chocolate Company aims to please a wide swath of the chocolate loving population, and they have many ways to tempt you. Whether your tastes veer towards the traditional, more modern, or you want a great organic bar, there’s an app for that, though here, I mean something appetizing. There are even lovely confections for children, like the adorable milk chocolate covered bunnies I tried from their Spring holiday collection.

In addition to their truffles, bonbons, and special items, they created three organic bars in support of Friends of Bellona Wetlands. All are large, 3.5 ounce, and Rainforest Alliance certified. The 41% dark milk was ultra creamy, yet had enough cacao ballast to keep the chocolate flavor afloat. The same base, in a Mocha rendition, was dotted with tiny crunchy bits of organic Peruvian coffee. I loved the play of textures as the coffee met the smooth dark milk chocolate. 70% dark had notes of tobacco, lychee, and an earthy presence, carried along in a slightly creamy texture.

Their California Collection was an assortment of creams, nuts, dried fruit, brittles, and chews in milk and dark couverture. All were very fresh, and had a nostalgic feel. These traditional confections are classics for a reason.

A “Specials” line included a very appealing blue foil wrapped soft ganache enrobed in dark chocolate and coated in confectioners’ sugar. The look was reminiscent of a mini Bûche de Noël, with a crisply tempered shell, and silky interior. Pineapple chocolate was a very pretty painted white chocolate piece with more tropical fruitiness than I could have imagined. Adorable, flat turtles held a center of caramel ganache, and a pink, foil wrapped truffle was perfectly balanced, with its thin shell, alcohol enhanced ganache, and cocoa powder finish. Another ganache filled dark piece had a base of gingerbread crumbs giving it a wonderful combination of textures, spices, and novelty, while a milk chocolate ganache had bits of caramelized nuts embedded in its couverture. Each piece had its own personality, which made this a very interesting melange of flavors, textures, and visuals.

Another assortment of Specials included eight different ganaches, six of which were enrobed in dark chocolates. These hand crafted chocolates included a winsome painted fish and a lipstick red heart, both steeped in flavor.

Their truffle selection also had eight varieties, half milk and half dark. All were double dipped in chocolate and housed a creamy enter. Options included: Apple Pie, Strawberry Balsamic, Hot Cocoa, Cheesecake, Curacao, Bananas Foster, Seattle Espresso, and Maui Coconut.

Jason Vishnefske is the chocolatier and cofounder of the original Santa Barbara Chocolate Company which he established in 1992. His zeal for chocolate, health, and organics informs every chocolate he creates. In addition, Santa Barbara Chocolate Company offers a Traveling Cacao Bar, an interactive chocolate tasting experience with edible displays showcasing all aspects of the bean.

A generous flat rate shipping charge of $5.99 is another incentive to check out their multifarious offerings.

Last but not least, I suggest you check out Jason’s friendly, fun, and educational video: “Raw chocolate cocoa pod tasting: Organic Dark Chocolate.” Here’s the link: http://youtu.be/SojN93OaEBg

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