Thursday, December 9, 2010

Potomac Chocolate: Upala 70% Cocoa Bar

A trend in gift-giving that I’ve noticed over the years is the emphasis on use of local sources, which is great for small businesses. For chocolate lovers, this means that you might luck out and get a box of chocolates from a small shop near the gift-giver. If one is especially lucky, a bean-to-bar chocolate maker might be nearby, so chocolate fully-crafted in the gift-giver’s hometown could be wrapped up for you on a birthday or holiday. This is also a simple gift for the giver, provided they know they have a true chocolate lover on their hands. So those of you near bean-to-bar chocolate makers, rejoice.

Folks shopping in the DC area are now so fortunate: Potomac Chocolate, which operates out of Woodbridge, VA, recently began selling their 70% cocoa Upala bar through Biagio’s storefront, and through their own website.

The 2-ounce bar is neatly divided into 10 sections, and the back of the wrapping gives some details about the Costa Rican origin of the beans, as well as the bar’s crafting location.

The bar itself has a strong coffee flavor and a fruity undertone – specifically, a cherry taste seems to come through. This flavor is intense, and has a long, lingering aftertaste. This is not for the faint of heart or strict milk chocolate lovers, as this has just enough sugar to offset the intense, slightly bitter flavor of the beans.

The texture is very smooth but leaves your mouth feeling just a bit dry, though not excessively so, and the bar is still quite smooth for such an intense a bittersweet chocolate. I’ve already picked up nine bars, and will definitely be buying more in the future. These are the perfect DC-sourced gift for the chocolate lover, and I plan to use these bars as hostess gifts and the like for quite a while.

Is there a bean-to-bar chocolate maker near you? Do you buy their chocolate often?


  1. This sounds wonderful! Intense with coffee flavours - definitely my kind of dark chocolate!

  2. @HannahIt's totally delish, Hannah - maybe they'll make it big and you can get some of it in Australia some day!

  3. I'm not sure if there's a bean-to-bar chocolate maker near me, but there's this fantastic local coffee roaster. The husband and wife have actually gone to various countries to meet the coffee growers and everything. They have a little cafe as part of their business (no sugary drinks!) that my friend and I go to every now and then, and today we bought some beans for gifts. Local is awesome!

  4. @Jessica @ bake me away! Hmm...doesn't look like there is anybody that close to you. Very cool about the coffee shop, that is kind of the idea behind a lot of the bean-to-bar chocolate makers; they pick out the best raw product and go from there. And yay local!