- January 1st, 2011
When things get hectic, everything in this home gets ordered online from groceries to meals to essentials. I recently placed an online order from French Broad Chocolates in Asheville, NC for a couple of Mast Brothers chocolate bars. Surprisingly, this was the closest shop and state to carry the brand after looking all over South Florida, to no avail. You’d think by being in Miami, the ‘6th borough’, there wouldn’t be a problem finding the Brooklyn bars.
Fortunately (in hindsight), the store informed me that they were out of stock and recommended an award winning Venezuelan single origin bar from Michel Cluizel and a Sea Salt bar from Olive and Sinclair instead. In addition, they offered a complementary bar of Rogue Piura chocolate and overnight Fed Ex shipping to make up for the inconvenience. Needless to say, the shipment arrived shortly thereafter. The tastefully wrapped bundle arrived in a contoured styrofoam box nestled between two reusable fabric Nordic ice packs. They included a couple of handmade truffles from the shop which we devoured immediately. They were divine! I made a date for a chocolate tasting after dinner that night.
We started with the Olive & Sinclair’s Sea Salt bar. It’s from a Nashville, TN based craft chocolate company. At first sight, I noticed that the bottom of the bar was visibly speckled with sea salt. I thought the liberal use of salt would be overpowering but found the taste to be surprisingly subtle with “flavor bursts of salt” as my (usually reticent) other half described it. Next, we tried the Rogue 75 % Piura bar from Minneapolis, MN. I was told in the corresponding email that this bar was very rare, high quality, and that it came from a 7.5 acre micro-lot where only 4,000 of these bars existed. They were right about the quality. It was unctuous, fruity yet bold. Lastly, we tried the Michel Cluizel Plantation* bar from France. Different layers of roasted flavor revealed itself as you let it roll on your tongue. The consistency was the creamiest and most complex of all three.
The tasting was a sweet success and we were glad to have savored three new homegrown chocolates and an extra French variety that we might not have otherwise, had our initial order gone through. So, many thanks to Logan and the rest of the crew at French Broad Chocolates for their exceptional service!
Other chocolates that I love are Green & Black’s and Burdick’s. Burdick’s has a few locations in the New England area. In Walpole, NH just off I-91, they have a lovely restaurant that you can venture to if you’re in the neighborhood. There’s also the Walpole Inn up the street if you plan on staying in the area.
*I found out later that you can find a good assortment of Michel Cluizel chocolate at the Epicure Market here in Miami.