I am happy to report that it’s becoming de riguer for chocolate companies to source their beans ethically, pay cacao farmers a decent wage and improve their living conditions. Cocoa Parlor does all that and uses organic beans from the Dominican Republic.
Their bars weigh in at 2.82 ounces, or 80 grams. there are 28 sections and they break cleanly. The package design is cheerful and inviting. They keep it simple which helps the cost stay lower than you would expect for quality chocolate: $5 a bar. I sampled seven of the 16 they offer. All were well tempered and appealing.
Night Train, a 75% bar with nibs was a very easy-to-eat dark (for those of you who eschew anything over 70%). I happen to love the inclusion of nibs as it really heightens the bar’s intensity. The chocolate itself had a lovely complexity I have come to associate with beans from the Dominican Republic. Its fruitiness makes it a good choice for people who don’t like any bitterness, acidity, leather, or coffee flavor in their chocolate.
Simple Pleasure, a bar with roasted hazelnuts and Himalayan pink salt was perfectly balanced. Its nutty crunch was perked up with just the right amount of salt. (Maybe someone can explain to me why hazelnuts are so much more popular in Europe than the US, except in Nutella, of course. They are so rich and delicious; especially, when roasted.)
Cowboy Up 70% with toasted almonds and Himalayan pink salt was another deliciously textured offering.
Popped Quinoa 70% had a different appeal as the quinoa offers up a gentler, smaller crunch and allows more of the chocolates personality to shine.
Jungle Peanut in 35% milk chocolate had the largest roasted nut pieces. The nuts are sourced from the wilds of Ecuador and accented with that same pink salt. These peanuts definitely tasted different from the ones I typically eat. More rustic, more natural, with a milder peanut taste. You might think this bar would be quite sweet, but it wasn’t, even though it had a fairly light milk chocolate base.
Into Dark 80% was a nice fruity ultra dark bar. It was intense, but not bitter. Very satisfying.
Dark Perfection 70%, with a tiny bit more sugar, was a touch less intense.
In addition to the cocoa mass they use, they add cacao butter and cacao powder, but no vanilla. This allows the bean’s true nature to come through.
They also make a very popular non-chocolate Quinoa Bar that’s made with cacao butter. It’s packed with almonds and gluten free. Great for campers, gym rats and meal skippers.