Since I really enjoyed the bars from Theo’s 3400 Phinney range that I tried last year, this bar caught my eye at Pier 1. I didn’t even know they sold chocolate. Another reason to always be on the lookout. It instantly attached itself to my hand, like many other high percentage chocolate who have the potential to be either inedible or incandescent.
I’m a little confused why this bar doesn’t appear to be Fair Trade or completely organic when Theo markets itself for being Fair Trade and all the 3400 chocolates were. Anyway, this Venezuelan cocoa bar is the darkest in Theo’s Origin collection at 91%. I’m no strange to upper ranges, but the only 91% I’ve had was by E. Guittard; others have stuck to the 80′s or gone closer (or up to) 100. This bar is bigger than the 3400′s at 84 grams instead of 57, broken into six of the large rectangles this time. It isn’t quite so “mirror-shiny,” but still healthy-looking.
Theo says it “offers 91% cacao content without any of the bitterness typically associated with such a high percentage dark chocolate.” I’ve formed my own opinion on that statement. The initial hit is dusty, earthy, and yes, kind of bitter, though in a flavorful way. About halfway through, cocoa flavors come into domination like a rich, rich chocolate dessert. There’s a bit of spice in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel’s just a bit stickier, not so smooth and clean, than I like, but it works.
This is one your mouth needs tempering for. Only then is the no-bitterness quote true. I enjoyed the second piece much more, tasting only thick chocolate. By the third or fourth piece I even started reacting to it as to sweetness, enjoying the delicious moment. The flavor becomes so much a part of your mouth that cutting it off prematurely would hurt as much as cutting off your hand. I think I’m in love with a chocolate again, and Theo passes the test again.