Tag Archives: women chocolatiers

Wilkie’s Organic Bean To Bar Chocolate

Apparently, stone ground chocolate can be as smooth as cream. When that lusciously velvety texture meets Criollo beans the result is unique and crave-worthy.

Wilkie’s is an Irish company founded by Shana Wilkie, a woman whose ideology and food savvy conflate to bring you gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free, and ethically sourced organic single-origin chocolates. Currently, their beans come from Peru. As those of you who read this site know, I am a huge fan of Criollos, those rare beans comprising only 2% of the world’s cocoa crop. Their sophisticated deep chocolate presence is ridiculously delicious and satisfying.

I sampled both bars and cocoa. The hot chocolate recipe was a bit different from what I usually do, and it worked beautifully. In the bottom of a small pot, you mix their not-too-sweet 64% cocoa with a little hot water. This creates a smooth paste to which you add your milk. Bring it to a boil and enjoy. It produced an excellent cup of cocoa. I also tried it with with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and that was wonderful, too. By using 64% cocoa, they created a drink that was incredibly satisfying for adult palates.

All their bars are 65 grams and divided into 18 appealing little rectangles. They break neatly, allowing you to savor each bite without making a mess.

Each of the five bars I sampled highlighted Wilkie’s ability to alchemize elegant beans with stone grinding to create an ultra smooth texture. Three of them won Great Taste awards for 2013.

Their 89% Amazonas bean bar gave a true window into the bean, as there was just a whisper of sweetness. If you love intense dark chocolate its tobacco-earthiness and lingering edgy finish would sate your cravings completely.

75% Amazonas with Nibs, was punctuated with a light scattering of gently crunchy nibs–just enough for textural interest. Still wildly flavorful, it had a more fruity profile than its 89% cousin and a lighter finish.

Interestingly, in the 75% Amazonas sans nibs it was easier to distinguish raisin and plum presences.

The 64% Amazonas had a distinctly drier finish with an extra lift of sweetness accentuating dark, fruity notes.

Their 75% Tumbes bar was my favorite. The balance of terroir, fruit, silkiness, and a slightly dry, lingering finish was just sublime.


Amelia Rope Chocolate: Pale Lime and Sea Salt 39%

By using the term “pale,” Amelia Rope has created a novel linguistic way of distinguishing her milk bars from the dark ones. The Madagascan dark sails in at 67%, while the pale bars sport a 39% Ecuadorian base. Amelia uses organic essential oils to add flavor, as in the Pale Lime and Sea Salt I sampled. The creamy milk chocolate was perked up with a hint of lime and enough sea salt to enhance the chocolate and spike the lime’s flavor. I have had other bars with lime and did not enjoy the heavy-handed way the fruit was used as it seemed to fight with the chocolate to see which could be more intense. In those creations, the lime may have won, but in the end the bar lost. Here, the smoothly textured chocolate, salt, lime are whispering sweetly to each other.

There are a plethora of choices at her shop including Pale/Dark Rose, Pale/Dark Mandarin, Pale/Dark Hazelnut and Sea Salt, Pale/Dark Coffee Bean and others. In addition, there are plain bars ranging from 39% to 75%. Each one comes with an outer plastic sleeve that keeps your chocolate fresh, assuming it will not get scarfed up upon opening. I also liked the simple, elegant brown paper wrapper and attractive dark brown ribbon.