Continuing with the selection from Zorba’s, I find myself facing three small 0.75 ounce (21g) chocolate bars dressed for the disco in shiny pinkish foil with purple and green lettering evocative of neon signs. Not my style, but it is certainly recognizable. On Zorba’s website, these sell in sets of four for $11, coming out to $2.75 each. That isn’t cheap, but remember that these chocolates are raw and organic.
All three use local raw honey as the sweetener in addition to the cacao and vanilla. In the Sweet Rose, a 66% chocolate, there is also rose essential oil; likewise, the Cool Mint contains peppermint oil. Though already small bars, they are divided into six squares each. Even the Sweet Rose is rather dark in color; the shine and luster of all three is fitting enough for even non-raw chocolate, as is the deep vibrancy with which the chocolate snaps. What the rawness does mean is that quickly after the chocolate begins melting in your mouth, you notice a slightly dusty consistency and even what are like an addition of miniscule nibs. The overall feel is smooth enough, but just be aware of this extra element.
Almost more than adding a flavor, the rose oil adds tone to the chocolate, softening and sweetening it. I’m not thrilled, though, by the lingering mouthfeel: it leaves your mouth drier than other chocolates do and almost crosses into bitter territory.
With the Honey Dark and the Cool Mint bars, the cacao percentage moves up to 80%. It was on examining the Honey Dark that I noticed something curious: when you hold the chocolate at an angle, the edges where it was broken become home to a silver mine. Tiny, clear white crystals catch the light according to what eye-catching scientific composition I know not.
Strangely, I find that the Honey Dark feels sweeter than the Sweet Rose, mainly because I can taste the honey in it. The chocolate is darker, yes, but in the sense of being deeper, not more bitter. Being able to taste the honey lightens the mood and seriousness. If only the final mouthfeel were less harsh.
I must share my first introduction to the Cool Mint, which occurred when I was opening the mailbox containing the Zorba’s package. I didn’t know what was inside the package, but I kid you not, I smelled mint when I opened the mailbox. The unwrapped bar itself could possibly act as an air freshener. It comes with an instant clean mint feel in the mouth, without the bite mint toothpaste and mouthwash have. It’s cool enough to feel like ice cream, giving the illusion of softer texture (as in a truffle, perhaps) to the chocolate. The degree of minty strength this bar hits without being overbearing is amazing. I must thus name it one of, if not the, best mint chocolates I’ve had. I even forget it’s raw.
If you only want to try one of these three bars, go for the mint. If you’re looking for a new raw chocolate company, Zorba’s chocolate is smooth and flavorful, so long as the nibbiness doesn’t bother you.