Years ago, when I was raising my children, we belonged to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture program). It was a wonderful experience that brought us closer to the farmers who grew our food. Apparently, the idea appealed to bean-to-bar maker Brian Wallace, founder of Endorfin Foods, and the world’s first Community Supported Chocolate (CSC) box. Just like a CSA, it creates a relationship between the grower and the consumer. Brian’s program sends out a box of chocolates every month with your subscription. These are a combination of products made exclusively for the CSC, like: chocolate covered exotic fruits, truffles, barks, their whole bean drinking chocolate, and a couple of bars from his regular range. Of course, you don’t have to belong to his CSC to enjoy his chocolate as it can be purchased any day from his website.
Brian’s beans are never roasted. They are: fermented and dried on site, then cracked and winnowed, crushed, and stoneground with coconut sugar and coconut mylk before being milled, tempered, then molded into bars.
Like other bean-to-bar companies, Endorphin Foods is trying to be the change it wants to see by paying farmers higher rates for their beans and working only with cacao grown by small farmer cooperatives and estates in Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, and Madagascar. This, as you know, bypasses the slavery and child labor used by 70% of cacao farmers in Western Africa.
I sampled five of Brian’s bars, all of which are sweetened with coconut sugar, dairy free, soy free, gluten free, agave free, and GMO free.
From the 80% single origin line I tried the Madagascar bar. Made from Criollo beans, its creamy texture enhanced a dark, fruity flavor profile.
Dark Coconut Mylk Chocolate, 56%, is sweeter with a melt in your mouth texture. It’s a completely different experience from traditional milk chocolate as it has a higher percentage of cacao solids. The coconut milk does not taste like coconut but somehow creates a milkier bar.
Dark Coconut Mylk Chocolate with Coffee and Cardamom, 60%, is a delicious combo of warm spice and coffee.
Dark Coconut Mylk Chocolate with Ginger and Rose, 56%, woke up my palate with its lovely gingery edge and floral essence. Unusual, creative, and very satisfying.
Dark Chocolate Coconut Mylk with Anise and Wormwood, 70%, used a darker base to balance out the heady flavors found in Absinthe liquor: Grand Wormwood, Anise, Sweet Fennel, Melissa (Lemon Balm), and Mugwort. The resulting bar is complex, rich, and slightly addictive.
At the time of this review, you can use the discount code “farmtotable” to get 30% off the first month of your own subscription box at http://www.endorfinfoods.com/subscriptions