The West Coast of Canada has a whole bunch of small companies happily making chocolates, and every so often some work their way over to the East Coast where I cross paths with them. I’ve been given a couple of bars of Denman Island Chocolate lately by people who told me it was the best they’ve ever had – something which I always take with a grain of salt – and they were perfectly acceptable bars of flavoured chocolate which I happily ate.
One had freeze-dried raspberries in it, but it was their wittily-titled Rosemary, Baby bar which I really liked.
A trip to my current favourite chocolate shop revealed that Denman Island had added a new bar to their range – Alto el Sol. It is a special limited edition, made with beans from a single plantation in Peru and it stands out from the other bars they produce for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it has a wonderfully colourful wrapper rather than the monochrome look all the other ones have. Secondly, it is more expensive. The bars aren’t that big in the first place – just 46g – so adding an extra dollar to the price does appear to be a little on the steep side but that could all be forgiven if the chocolate is stunning. Or at least tasty.
And it is a rather tasty bar of chocolate. It tastes like a single origin bar, thanks to its robust flavour which starts off strong with dark, earthy tones and then shifts into vanilla and, for some reason, a hint of bananas. The ingredients reveal that the chocolate is 65%, leaving a little too much room for the cane sugar for my tastes. It turns out that vanilla has been added rather than coming from the chocolate itself, but it isn’t overdone.
While the other Denman Island bars I’ve had definitely benefitted from the flavourings they’ve had added, Alto el Sol doesn’t need that. I do think that the next batch should be ramped up by at least another 10% in the cocoa solids department to balance out the sweetness, but it is still the best bar that Denman Island Chocolate have made to date.