Sunday, April 24, 2011

Biagio Sample Day: Complete with 100% Cocoa Pralus

Yesterday, I got together with a long-time friend who recently returned from the UK, and two of her friends who had brought her cat from California.

Why do you care? Because our get-together took place at Biagio’s monthly sample day!

There were, as usual, about a dozen chocolates for us to sample. After enjoying some Theo caramels, I was delighted to see another Theo creation, their chai tea milk chocolate bar.

The bar had a very strong chai flavor, and my friend noted that it reminded her of Mexican hot chocolate. The chocolate itself seemed a bit grainy, and I don’t think this bar represents Theo’s best work.

Another interesting flavored bar, this one by New Tree, was provided for our inspection: the 73% cocoa dark chocolate bar with pink peppercorns.

I’ve enjoyed pepper-enhanced chocolates before, especially when salt is included as it is in Taza’s Salt and Pepper disc, but found that the pepper here is a bit overpowering and drowns out the chocolate.

Another flavored bar was available for tasting – the Artisan Du Chocolat Darljeeling.

Remember Artisan? The folks who make the semi-illicit Tonka bar? Well, unlike that Tonka bar, the Darljeeling bar is legal. It also happens to be quite enjoyable, just like the Tonka bar. There is a distinct tea flavor with hints of spice to accent this smooth bar with a slow melt.

And then there was the bar for the true hardcore chocolate fiends: The Pralus 100% cocoa bar, which is sourced from Madagascar.

As in: no added sugar. Just cocoa. It was intense. Despite a weak aroma, the taste is very bitter and a bit sour, with smoky notes. We all agreed that there seemed to be a taste similar to that of the charred edges of a fine steak.

Most of the time, Biagio’s sample days inspire to me examine several new chocolates in the comfort of my own kitchen; this time, I zeroed in on the Artisan Darljeeling.

As you can see, I also happened to add in a few other new chocolates, including a pretzel milk chocolate bar from Philadelphia-based Eclat, as well as a bar by Amedei - this chocolatier has been highly recommended by Candice, and who am I to argue.

And some standby chocolates found their way into my bag.

How does that always happen? The world may never know.

Have you ever tried 100% cocoa chocolate?


  1. I've never tried 100% chocolate.....
    A chocolate sample day sounds awesome!!! :D

  2. ive never tried 100% either, would be interested to try it, heard how intense it is!

  3. No I haven't but I think I would really like it.

    Random side question-do you live near Potomac Mills the outlet mall?

  4. @lolzthatswim I live about 25 miles from Potomac Mills. Haven't been there for a while though. Or shopping in general. Too busy eating chocolate. And swimming and running.

  5. Haven't had 100% yet. Thought I'd start with that Hotel Chocolat 90% and then work my way up from there. Looks like a terrific selection you've got there - the Darjeeling looks great!

  6. Serendipity! It was in Biagio in December 2009 that I tried Pralus' 100% - I loved it! It's the only 100% I've had that I thought was delicious and not too sour. Oh, my memories of chatting and sampling at Biagio are such happy memories (and it wasn't even sample day!)

  7. 1. I LOVE Biagio's chocolate sample Saturdays. Sad I missed it.
    2. How was the Amadei? I love chocolate from Madagascar...
    3. yes, I've had 100% from a few different makers, and have been quite pleasantly surprised by each.

  8. @Rachel The Madagascar Amedei is high quality but I prefer the flavor of the Venezuelan one better. I'm almost always partial to Venezuelan origin chocolate, though.

  9. URGH - I've had a variety of 100% bars and while I could take one barely most are outside my tolerance despite them being chocolate. *bleurgh*