When Ottawa’s Baroness Chocolates sent me a tweet asking if I wanted to taste their chocolate, I naturally said yes. Their name did sound a little familiar though, and it took me a while to remember that someone had sent me a link to their Kickstarter campaign last year. In that campaign, they were a touch hyperbolic about their chocolate but they seemed sincere and it was successfully funded – these seven bars are the result.
They are nicely presented with colourful wrappers that illustrate what lies inside, along with the humorous names they’ve been given. Baroness proudly proclaim that they use a blend of premium couverture chocolate to make their bars, which basically means that they buy good quality chocolate with plenty of cocoa butter in it to make it taste rich, then mix stuff into it. And all the stuff they mix in is homemade, apart from nuts and fruit. The chocolate they use is also certified organic and uses sustainably harvested beans, and they also say that they use different blends of milk, semisweet and dark for each of the bars they make although that wasn’t always obvious.
Subversive Squirrel was my favourite of the seven bars. It has some sizeable pieces of peanut brittle in the bar, then for maximum peanutiness there are salted peanuts stuck on the back too. It also helps that the chocolate is kept darker, at least in Baroness terms, adding a richness to the proceedings. This is definitely the one I’d come back to.
Tantric Tiger is dominated by the dried cranberries on the back, so how you feel about the bar is going to be determined by your opinion of cranberries. There are some almonds and a touch of sea salt which stops it from getting too sweet. But the berries were just a bit too much for me.
Love & Blessing is the least exciting simply because there’s nothing added to the milk and dark chocolate blend. Left by itself, it is kinda dull.
Mocha Krunhjay suffers from a bit of an overload of flavours, but in the best possible way. It has some wonderful big chunks of crunchy sponge toffee mixed through the chocolate, and the almond pieces which stud the back of the bar add some more texture. The coffee promised on the wrapper is really mild though and just lurks in the background although I’m not sure that’s actually a bad thing.
The problem with both Dob Dobs and Aiyaaaa! was that they took a beat of a beating thanks to Canada Post so by the time they reached me, both had had their innards squished out of them. Both of them are filled bars – the former with caramel and pecans, and the latter with butterscotch and almonds – but they were a bit of sticky mess when I opened them. I still ate them though. Both were a touch sweet for me, but since pecans always beat almonds, Dob Dobs wins the day.
Tummy Rub is the other satisfyingly good bar, with its combination of creamy milk chocolate and chocolate cookie pieces. Nothing too complicated at all, but still like a lovely warm hug in bar form. And that really sums up what Baroness is doing here – this is really good comfort food. The actual chocolate can’t compete with the best from the bean to bar world but it really works in this context. Baroness have definitely found a niche for themselves and hopefully they will continue to experiment with new varieties in the future.