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Dark Chocolate Dominance

Chocolate Truffles from Batch PDX.

Chocolate Truffles from Batch PDX. Photo © Pete Eckert

Like a lot of people, I’ve become more of a fan of dark chocolate recently. (The rise in popularity might have something to do with its alleged health benefits; for one thing, it’s high in antioxidants.)

Coincidentally, there’s some great new dark chocolate out there—let’s look at some of them.

Batch PDX; Portland, Oregon
These confections have the tagline Chocolate Hedonism (exactly!). Flavors include Ghost Pepper (the scarily hot pepper is used to infuse dark chocolate ganache truffles; one pepper spikes more than 70 truffles) and the Joyful Almond (dark chocolate-covered coconut ganache gets an almond topper; it's like the ultimate Almond Joy).

Chocolate South; Atlanta, Georgia
This shop focuses on the flavors of the South. The truffle menu is divided into Great Southern Getaways, Tea Time, River & Sea and Southern Gardens. Bonbons include the Peach Tea (a dark chocolate truffle infused with local Georgia Peaches Tea), the Mississippi Mud (bittersweet chocolate and vanilla-infused cream covered in more dark chocolate) and the Key Lime (you guessed it: key lime–infused chocolate).

Fine & Raw; Brooklyn, New York
Of course Brooklyn has a new chocolate lab; this one is in Bushwick and uses organic, fair-trade cacao from sustainable farms that grow heirloom cacao varieties to make raw chocolate. Fine & Raw uses blue agave nectar as a sweetener and adds cold-pressed coconut oil and Himalayan salt. They also argue that raw chocolate is full of health benefits - an appetite suppressant, aphrodisiac, high in minerals and antioxidants. They offer bars, including Mesquite, as well as bonbons, like smoky Chipotle and Cacao & Coconut.

ChocoVivo; Los Angeles, California
This bean-to-bar shop and tasting bar now has a location in Culver City. They make only dark chocolate, using organically grown cacao beans from Tabasco, Mexico. Besides chocolate bars, this is a place to find cool chocolate butters (stone-ground cacao nibs blended with almond, caramel or hazelnut), chocolate powders (chocolate bars that have been ground to powder for chocolate drinks and smoothies). The Mayan Tradition chocolate powder includes cacao, chipotle, guajillo and pasilla negro chiles as well as cinnamon and almonds; the 100% cacao powder is “not for the faint of heart,” according to the website - completely unsweetened. Something a new dark chocolate devotee, like me, is probably not ready for yet.

The powerhouse chocolate-maker has introduced a series of Truffle Flights (i.e., an excuse to eat six truffles in a row). One of the flights is, indeed, Dark Decadence with flavors that include 50% Dark Chocolate, Chocolate Lava Cake, 72% Extra Dark Chocolate and Aztec Spice. To do it right, you have to eat the truffles in order. Game on.

Jean-François Bonnet's Guide to Chocolate
Ultimate Candy Guide
Chocolate Candies

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