Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Chocolate Review: Godiva's Santo Domingo (85% Cacao)

By Benjamin Skipper

Well, at long last I'm starting to give brands other than Endangered Species consideration since I've petered out my untried varieties on hand. While walking around my Kroger I came across Godiva's 85 % Extra Dark Santo Domingo Chocolate, an intriguing variety since it promises to offer a different flavor profile by using cacao beans from the Caribbeans. To date I have to admit this is the best find I've ever come across and it has easily become one of my favorite varieties, so much so that in the future I'll consider it a chocolate staple.

Unfortunately, I have been informed by Godiva's costumer service that this bar is currently out of production, though it might come back sometime in October. I assume it's a seasonal sort of variety, but I at least hope it isn't leaving production permanently. As to its attributes:

The bar certainly delivers on its promise. While being plain chocolate, this cacao is by far the most complex, fruity, and just downright unique I've ever tasted. In fact, I have to say that this chocolate rockets right up into some of my highest favorites, perhaps even so much so as to challenge my beloved mint and Lindt's 85%. If I ever get the feasible opportunity to buy this in bulk, I probably will.

The flavor profile as described on the packaging matches my experience: an imprint of sweet berries with a hint of spiciness. Pleasantly, the berry imprint has a way of making the chocolate seem sweeter, though not as intensely sweet as I detested in other bars. The sweetness hits the sweet spot, so to speak, and all at once offers equal bitterness, sugar, and berriness. I love it. If you want to experience the full tartness of the berries, try depriving yourself of chocolate for a bit and then touching this variety to the very tip of your tongue: What zing!

Compounding it's virtues, I thoroughly enjoy the mouthfeel. It's very similar to Lindt's creaminess, though not to the same degree. It might take a momentary bit to melt in your mouth, but it's up and far away from the terrible, blocky crunchiness that I don't like in my chocolates. The bar is pressed very thin, so you can easily go and nibble at it with your incisors. This is certainly one worthy of drawing out and savoring.

And the bar's aesthetics? Perfectly acceptable, though not exemplary. It doesn't have the beautiful design that fascinates me so from Newtree, but they have made a nice attempt with decorating the squares with the company name surrounded by a slightly nice design. Not beautiful, but it pleases me enough that they make an effort. It strikes me as most lazy when a company makes no effort whatsoever, leaving you with just a series of connected blocks.

In summary, I consider this one of the best chocolates I've tasted to date. Given its interesting attribute of having special cacao beans from a certain geographical area, my interest in tasting cacao from other areas is intensified. I'm not sure what a seasoned connoisseur would think of this variety, but I consider this a great introduction into serious tasting, perhaps so much so that this is taste-party worthy.

I don't usually shop at Kroger due to the expense and distance, but I have taken to making a special trip to stock up before the bars leave shelves. I greatly recommend this variety.

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