By Benjamin Skipper
My readers will have to forgive me for this, for I've been holding off on this chocolate for quite some time. In truth I purchased a dozen of these all at once several months ago and couldn't bring myself to review them until the very last bar, as I kept getting absorbed in enjoying them without distraction. But my last bar has come to pass, so with minor disappointment (and longing for more) I must finally acknowledge New Tree's 73% ginger dark chocolate, which is another fine entry for the New Tree line.
Now, as you may know, I've been thoroughly disappointed with ginger chocolates in the past (1, 2), as in most all of them I couldn't taste the ginger. I theorized that it was because the ginger was crystallized -- cooked in a sugar syrup -- which may have rendered it unresponsive to my tastebuds. New Tree, however, incorporates the ginger in the form of uncooked shavings, which dramatically changes the experience.
Just about everything in the bar is wonderful. The aroma of warm ginger and cocoa is delicious, reminding me somewhat of cardamon and cinnamon, and I couldn't help taking in the scent over and over again. In the mouth the spice and chocolate flavors fuse together perfectly and linger for a very long time, finishing strongly with an intensified roasted cocoa note. The melt is wonderful at warm temperatures, and the residing ginger bits add a great contrasting crispiness in a very subtle sense, just as if there were pieces of fragile glass candy inside. Shine-wise it's dull and "dusty," and it does have some spots on the back from bubbles bursting on the surface, but at least the bar maintains the excellent design standards of New Tree with those very detailed leaf veins.
My only qualm is with the inclusion of guarana extract, which my search suggests is a stimulant similar to coffee. Eating too much of this has resulted in a rapid heart beat for me and more frequent restroom visits, though I really only have myself to blame for enjoying too much in excess, though enjoyment nonetheless. Given how stimulating dark chocolate is on its own I don't think it needs any more boosts, so I think the chocolate would do fine without the extract. Why not replace it with yet more cocoa and ginger? The flavor intensity and balance is great as it is, but more of a good thing ain't a bad thing!
I have to admit that this chocolate is absolutely in my top three favorite chocolates period, the others being Endangered Species' 72% mint and Green & Black's 67% espresso. I just love sitting in bed in the morning, lazily contemplating my life while nibbling piece after piece of ginger goodness. To avoid wasting I am even impelled to go after the miniscule shavings left in the wrapper.
It may be quite a stimulant, but this is one of my favorite chocolates of all time, one worthy enough to be bought in stacks. I enjoyed wrapping myself up in its pleasure so much that I couldn't bare to break my contemplative mood to take tasting notes, and now I'm sad to see my horde has been entirely depleted. Be sure to give this one a delicate tasting if you should find it, as I give it my fullest recommendation.