So long, Oh Summer, thou enemy of all things chocolate. Now the tropical temperatures have subdued, it is time to welcome autumn. High season for good chocolate. Shops proudly show their new collections, chocolate can be transported without the risk of melting and chocolate events pop up all over the globe. From the Northwest Chocolate Festival in Seattle over The Salon du Chocolat Paris and London and The Origin Chocolate Event in Amsterdam. Looking forward to that last one.
This also brings us to our catch of the day. The 75% Tres Hombres bar by Chocolate Makers – a Dutch bean to bar chocolate company situated in Amsterdam. Rodney and Enver created their company in order to make fresh chocolate straight from the cocoa bean. Their vision is simple and clear. A quality product with a low as possible impact on the environment. The cocoa they use in this bar for instance, is shipped in by a sail boat called Tres Hombres. They go for zero waste. Wooden crates used to transport cocoa are turned into display boxes. The shells of the cocoa beans are turned into a fertilizer and they only use recycled paper printed with bio ink as wrappers. A way of doing things which can only be highly respected!
But what does it taste like?
I was happy to see this bar on display at the shop my favorite coffee roaster in Ghent. Coffee and chocolate are closely related, especially when you compare high quality single origin coffee and single origin chocolate. Both deliver amazing flavors, so it is almost natural to see them together. Vanderkerckhove’s Koffiebranderij is the place to be!
The bar looks deceivingly simple on the outside. I love the artwork combined with the thick paper used. It sets the product apart from many other chocolates. All the needed info is there. The percentage – 75%, the type of cocoa – Trinitario. Turn the bar around and you discover the origin: Dominican Republic.
Open it and you discover a familiar site. A neat, clean bar, scored in rectangular pieces. Looks exactly like Duffy’s Chocolate bars. I adore this design. Clean and sharp. The smell emerging was enough to make my heart sing.
Origin: Dominican Republic
Maker: Chocolate Makers – Amsterdam
Price: € 4 – 90 g – Vandekerckhove’s Ghent
This bar is not purely chocolate. It’s combined with roasted cocoa nibs. I hardly ever find it necessary to add anything to real chocolate, but for nibs I make an exception. They add enormous amounts of flavors, totally different from the notes you find in chocolate itself,
Color: definitely dark brown with a slight purple haze. Do I detect a bit of Hendrix?
Aroma: Intense earthy aroma’s – dried grass, bark, slight mushroom and tobacco.
Taste: slow at first, the chocolate resists the melt at first, but explodes in a wave of intense, deep chocolate flavors, reminding me of deeper roasted cocoa. Roasted nuts and toasted bread pop up and curb to gentle coffee bitters. At this point I expected a very earthy aroma to keep dominating the flavor, as the nibs hadn’t even kicked in. To my surprise and delight, out of the blue a sweet sour aroma rises until clear red fruits flow over the tongue. As the chocolate contains nibs, you can’t help but bite down on the pieces once or twice and a new wave of earthy tones is released, together with a nice crunchy feel. Dried grass and smoked wood dominate for a second, but the sweet red fruits fight back and cut through. Until all of the chocolate is gone, the fruity and earthy flavors push each other around, clash, mingle, subdue and return. Back and forth they battle, unit finally the earthy notes win due to the remaining nibs at the end of the melt. Quiet frankly, I had a hard time trying to let the aftertaste develop in my mouth, because I kept eating more pieces to experience the flavors once more,
Eventually, I had to end the review and only then I got to notice the aftertaste remaining earthy and very pleasing, while not overwhelming at all… Just a nice lingering aroma of the roasted nibs floating around.
What can I say about this bar? Is this the most complex chocolate I ever tried? Hardly. The bar balances between two very different flavors and keeps those working during all the melt. But is it a good one? You bet it is! It offers everything I love in good chocolate. Surprising flavors and taste evolution. It’s the kind of bar I gladly sink my teeth in to enjoy the happiness chocolate can bring. The price quality ratio is sublime.
Looking forward to sample more products of Chocolate Makers!
Don’t just take my word for it… visit my Faceboob page and see how my 2,5 year old son thinks of the bar! Click here!