Escazu Artisan Chocolates
Artisan chocolatiers usually have more than one thing in common: they love their craft, sourcing only the rarest, finest cocoa beans from exotic locales; they create their labor of love in small batches using only traditional equipment; and they produce mostly dark bars with high cocoa content. Not to diminish their stories, but as much as we adore them and their products, their backgrounders can become a bit indistinguishable.
Cue goat's milk. Reactions to this not-too-common ingredient in Escazú Artisan Chocolates were mixed, but really: you cannot tell that Escazú's Dark Goat's Milk Bar, made from 60 per cent single-origin Carenero, Venezuela beans isn't made with moo juice. We were also impressed with The Beaufort Bar, featuring 65 per cent cocoa and sea salt. The chocolate isn't as dark and "bitter" as we normally like, but it's lovely nevertheless, with a pleasant salinity at the back of the palate, and it boasts a nice crunchy sensation when you bite into the occasional salt crystal.
Escazú Artisan Chocolates are made in Raleigh, North Carolina. They're available at small retailers around the country and online. Be sure to check out their 74 per cent With Chipotle Chili and 74 per cent With Pumpkin Seed and Guajillo Chili.
Price: $5 per 80-gram bar
For more information, visit www.escazuchocolates.com
Reviewed by Sylvie Greil