Although Dana Brewster and Mark Del Vecchio only founded Millcreek Cacao Roasters last year, already they seem to know what’s important about making fine chocolate. The Millcreek promo booklet I received along with a 70% bar has info not only about the company in general, but also about how the chocolate making process works and why Millcreek’s cacao comes from two farms south of Quito, Ecuador. I’m also intrigued by the fact that Millcreek’s base is Salt Lake City, Utah: the Amano factory is in Orem, Utah. Might Utah soon outdo San Francisco with its chocolate scene?
The design on this Millcreek bar shows restraint, which I mean in a good way. It doesn’t overdo colors or patterns and doesn’t flashily over-promise anything. That said, I think that if the designers felt inspired in the future to tweak the look, that would be nice; but I’m content for now. Sliding off the cover reveals a special touch: the Millcreek story is printed on an elegant, pearly-shining square of paper instead of on the back of the box. The 50 gram bar is also impressive. It wears a glowing skin with enough smooth space to let its beauty show and a large version of the Millcreek logo that gives the appearance of a medallion. The small air bubbles just communicate the handmade touch. The chocolate’s aroma is nuanced, a good sign.
My booklet tells me that the Ecuadorian Arriba Nacional chocolate is “fruity and nutty, the warm undertones lure you into a luxuriously smooth, rich finish.” For me, the key point in there is “warm,” which I might also describe as spicy–though, of course, not chili pepper spicy. I think many palates would pass it off as bitter, but what I want to emphasize is its depth. It has the layering of flavors that makes a chocolate high end. The warm notes are there from start to finish, but as the chocolate melts, touches of sweetness swirl into your mouth, keeping bitterness from being an issue for friends of the dark side. Completely smooth, it melts consistently and fluidly. All of these characteristics are good since the bar comes in at $7, the upper end of chocolate prices.
I only wonder, since this is on the darker side yet is also the base for Millcreek’s flavored bars, if it works as well in those contexts. But that isn’t completely relevant for this review. I’ll just say that, for future additions to the line, a milder bar would widen the appeal. Not that the deeper side of this chocolate wasn’t refreshing or that a company need necessarily appeal to non-dark side members.