By Benjamin Skipper
I haven't been doing well in keeping track of my efforts, for this variety had almost slipped my radar and gone unnoticed. Thankfully, someone pointed out to me that I have neglected this variation, so when Kroger had a buy-1-get-1-free sale on chocolate I took the opportunity to pick up Endangered Species' 72% dark chocolate with cranberries and almonds. Nobody is going to turn down their favorite chocolate brand when it's on sale, right? I've tried this before, but that was before my formal reviews.
It's quite oddly constructed, very sloppy. The almonds are plainly visible as humps in the back, and unfortunately in my bar they seemed to be all clustered at one end. That's poor manufacturing; machines could be more precise than that. Additionally, I've noticed that the design on the front has been changed from the lone fruit tree to boring diagonal stripes. What's up with the sudden switch? Overall, it's not that great a looking bar, as the shine is dull, the design is lazy, and it's imprecisely formed.
The flavor is heavily imbalanced due to the inconsistent infusion. Everything is mostly muted and mellow, and the few cranberries present add a quiet fruity touch without the berry's signature tartness. I didn't experience the almonds until the second half where they all clustered together, and even then, without salt, the nuttiness was too subtle, making the almonds mostly contribute a dry and crunchy texture. The chocolate did its job, but it's hardly strong and has a stubborn melt. It smells like milk and nuts, making me think of peanut butter for some reason.
The combination of nuts and cranberries is a good concept, but this is a poor execution of it, what with so little dried fruit and the almond segregation. My suggestion for improvement would be to crush the almonds more finely and salt them, and incorporate the cranberry as an extract. That, I think, would fix the aesthetics, flavor imbalance, and intensity problem.
Nice in thought, but could have been done better. Pass this one up.