Tag Archives: small batch chocolate

Moka Origins Chocolate

I wanted to share Moka Origins mission statement: “To create employment, heal the environment and reinvent the way consumers shop for chocolate and coffee. We strive for the betterment of farmers and their families around the world. By maintaining and investing into our own farm in Cameroon, and by uniting with farming partners around the world, we generate real social change.” I am 100% behind those values, which seem to be part of a larger trend in the craft chocolate bar community, and a welcome one. Of course, it helps when the chocolate is as delicious as these bars from Moka Origins. If you’re more deeply interested in their social impact you can view a beautiful short description here: https://mokaorigins.com/pages/social-impact.

I sampled eight of their 3.5 ounce bars. New varieties appear regularly and can sell out quickly, like the Strawberry White Chocolate. I’m reviewing it anyway, just in case it comes back into rotation, or they offer another white chocolate bar. Typically, I avoid white chocolate and think of it as an oxymoron. Luckily, I like to be wrong. This pretty pink bar was studded with cocoa nibs adding a surprisingly wonderful and unexpected texture that riffed off the uber-creaminess of the strawberry infused chocolate.

The Toffee Almond Chocolate (70%) made with Camino Verde beans from Equador, was another revelation. I expected something cloyingly sweet. What I got was an extraordinarily complex experience of flavors, textures, and aromas all in a visually enticing bar. The topping was a tad sticky, but it appealed to the three year old inside me. The chocolate was beautifully tempered with a glossy finish and nice snap. This was the most adult rendition of these flavors I could imagine…actually, it was beyond my imaginings and quite crave worthy. Despite that, it’s not addictive. Two squares truly sated my desire.

Another stunner was their Cherry Chocolate (72%) with Zorzal Cacao from the Dominican Republic. The earthy, satisfying almost-heavy tasting chocolate was a perfect partner to sweet, slightly acidic chewy dried cherries. The more I ate this, the more aware I became of the cherry undertones in the chocolate itself.

Lemon Ginger (73%) with Brazilian beans, was an incredible combination of textures, tastes, and visual beauty. Also a tad sticky, like the Toffee Almond bar, it was generously strewn with bits of chewy ginger and lemon. Again, I was thrilled with the overall sweetness level of this bar as it was clearly made for people who don’t want a sugar rush. Both this bar and the Toffee rendition are amazingly desserty and feel like a huge treat.

Their 72% plain dark bar from Brazilian beans is rich, dense with chocolate flavor and has a slightly dry finish. It also comes in a rendition with blueberries adding some extra acidity and chewiness from the fresh tasting dried fruit.

Even though it has the same 72% cacao content as the Brazilian beans, the Sea Salt tastes very different. The salt is imbedded on the surface of the chocolate, which looks lovely, and adds a slight crunch, while making the bar more complex and astringent.

Last but not least, is their 70% Espresso with Camino Verde beans from Ecuador. Finely ground coffee, from Moka Origins, is sprinkled generously across the surface of the bar adding both textural interest and a hint of caffeine.

I enjoyed the whole range, though the standouts were the Toffee, Lemon Ginger, Cherry, and White Chocolate with Strawberry and Nibs.

They offer a chocolate of the month club where you can get two bars for $20 including shipping.

Looking for a wonderful rendition of Peppermint Bark? Moka Origins has one they only offer before Christmas. It has a slab of their marvelous white chocolate topped with a layer of 70% dark and sprinkled liberally with pieces of peppermint candy. Each piece is a desert unto itself.


The Chocolate Tree

Whether you are seeking out the unusual or the elegant, you will find a plethora of choices at The Chocolate Tree. This award winning organic, bean to bar chocolate hails from Edinburgh, Scotland.

Among their offerings is a pretty far-out Haggis inspired chocolate: The Chieftan. 32 little dark squares, each redolent of Haggis—yes, Haggis—provide a slightly oaty, crunchy, experience infused with unforgettable warming Haggis spices: black pepper, rosemary, sea salt, coriander seed, mace, and thyme. It’s a heady ride and sates one’s curiosity for Haggis without the sheep’s stomach. Frankly, I had Haggis many moons ago and vastly prefer this rendition. Of course, I am not a Scot and devoid of that collective unconscious connection to the real thing.

In addition to the Chieftan, I also tried two of their supremely beautiful and toothsome small batch bars, wrapped in lovely heavy stock floral paper. I especially liked the surprise of finding two 45 gram rectangles cached within each parcel. The chocolate is molded into a modern bas relief design of leaves and flowers, and divided into eight squares.

Their 50% Dark Milk Ecuadorian Arriba is conched for 60 hours yielding a super smooth, creamy texture that compliments the fruitiness of this renowned bean. A delicious choice for those fond of high quality dark milks.

The 72% Orange & Salt bars using Criollo beans from Madagascar conched for 45 hours, have just enough Pink Lake salt to perk up the flavor and texture of this addictive chocolate. One whiff set me up for the complex, yet subtle, melding of Criollo, essence of orange, and sea salt, all in a well-tempered bar. Incidentally, this one deservedly won the International Chocolate Awards European Silver medal for 2013.