One of the intriguing things about raw chocolate is that it makes you think more. Just when you start to grow complacent in what you expect chocolate to deliver, raw chocolate will mix things up again. Buddha Chocolate, based out of Brooklyn, NY, gave me two raw chocolates, a Buddha Cup that is their version of a Reese’s Cup and a Crystal Salt Bar. The company puts in mind Wei of Chocolate, though it strikes me as more, well, intense.
On their website, the founders, Laura O’Hara and Cayce Pia, are called “two wild Yoga Teachers determined to bring health and balance to the chocolate world.” So the cacao, which is Peruvian, is naturally organic as well as raw. Neither of these chocolates has gluten, dairy, soy, or sugar. Instead of sugar, they are sweetened with raw, humane honey from Vermont. The look of Buddha Chocolate is quite established: it has the hippie feel, but I can also picture the blue and red flower patterns sitting at the counter of a trendy vintage clothing shop.
Of course, I was more curious to try the Buddha Cup. Reese’s Cups are fresh on my mind right now since I admit that I did pick some up (along with KitKats) in the post-Halloween sales this year. But I don’t know that I should make too direct of a comparison, anyway. Instead of peanut butter, this one uses almond butter. Instead of Hershey’s milk chocolate, there is rougher yet more flavorful raw chocolate. And instead of getting two smaller Reese’s cups for under a dollar, one Buddha Cup is $4.25 for 56 grams. It’s also much drier than a greasy Reese’s. I for one find it delicious. There is a clarity of flavor that’s wonderful. The chocolate is nice and cool, not bitter at all. The almond section is well-balanced, though there may be room for a tad more salt.
No worries, though. The Crystal Salt Bar has as much salt as anyone could ask for. Now, I do love salt–I’m not above sprinkling some on my hand when I want a salt kick. But I got a little frightened when I unwrapped this bar and found a heavy sprinkling of Himalayan salt on both sides. Just looking at it is enough to make your mouth pucker. It really is great salt, though–I’m tempted to just lick it all off the chocolate. The thing is, it falls off fairly easily, so the chocolate may have slightly less salt when it reaches your mouth. Also, the chocolate is potent and deep, giving an intense cacao hit. Put that together with the salt hit and this is one dense little bar. One or two squares is plenty for me. Giving this some further thought, I think I would prefer if the salt was spread inside the chocolate rather than outside: as it is, all those crystals attack your tongue first thing and are already disappearing by the time you really get into the chocolate. Maybe I would feel better about a more even combination.
The chocolate, though raw (it isn’t heated above 108 degrees Fahrenheit), isn’t wholly foreign. I mentioned it being rougher, which it is, but it has its own kind of smoothness. I find myself more likely to chew the chocolate at least a little–it doesn’t melt in quite the usual way. But it’s just different; it’s still entirely approachable.
The Buddha Cup pleases me, and even the Crystal Salt Bar grows more endearing the more I nibble from it. These two succeed as bold, flavored raw chocolates. They deliver the necessaries of pure ingredients if it’s the healthy side you’re interested in; otherwise, the rich and even explosive flavors ought to be enough to interest you.