In yet another blogger chocolate exchange, which is quickly becoming a routine activity in my life, I sent the Potomac Chocolate 82% bar that I have a chocolate bar crush on to Heather. Since she is Nashville-based, she sent me a Salt and Pepper bar from Nashville-based bean-to-bar chocolate maker Olive & Sinclair in return.
Heather procured this 67% cocoa dark chocolate-based bar for me because I’d expressed interest in it based on my pleasant experience with the Taza Salt and Pepper Mexicano Disc. Upon opening the bar, a notable peppery aroma emerges, as does a hint of nondescript fruitiness.
With the salt and pepper scattered on the back of the bar rather than throughout the bar, the tasting experience in this instance was appreciably different. Rather than experiencing a bit of salt and pepper throughout the melt of the chocolate, the taste is very salty and first, and the pepper is not apparent until the end of the melt, when it fully dominates the flavor.
It’s difficult to tease out specific chocolate flavors except in the lull between the salt and the pepper phases, when citrus flavors are notable and cherry and coffee undertones can be teased out. The melt is slow and smooth, but just a tiny bit dry. The phased flavor experience is interesting and makes for a more varied experience, but I wonder how the flavors would blend if the salt and pepper were better incorporated into the bar. This could also reduce the perceived dryness in the melt, which might be due to the immediate impact of the salt.
The bar is intriguing and the variety of flavors throughout the melt is a different experience. I’d still like to see Olive & Sinclair take the blended approach to offering salt and pepper in their line of bean-to-bar chocolate.
Should chocolate makers ensure that their ingredients are well-distributed throughout a bar?