While there’s nothing wrong with defaulting to your favorite chocolates, a world of innovation and exemplary ingredients exists if you’re willing to explore. On a recent trip to Manhattan’s The Meadow—where they stock 500 types of chocolate—we found two bars that really piqued our fancy, and two elsewhere to match. All of them, crafted in Europe from ingredients drawn across the world, utilize something a little unique—and in turn deliver a flavor profile that’s special.
Original Beans Beni Harvest 66% Dark Chocolate ($9), at the top of our list, has all the fixings of a masterful sweet. Its cacao beans have been sourced from the Beni savannah in the Bolivian Amazon, and it’s crafted in Amsterdam—by former UN worker Philipp Kauffmann. It’s rich and deep, but carries more than a subtle hint of florals, honey and jasmine. To sweeten things even more, every product sold plants or preserves one tree around the world.
We found that the Mulate Dark-Milk Chocolate with Tahini and Roasted Sesame ($8) was an ideal complementary bar. The sesame flavoring is light, but noticeable. Moreover, it impacts the texture in an uncommon, almost pasty way. Mulate is a division of Chocolate Naïve, chocolatiers producing in Parapijoniskes on the eastern side of Lithuania. They’re also a bean-to-bar organization that produces by hand.
Venezuelan cacao beans and Hungarian paprika unite within the beautifully packaged and molded Rozsavolgyi Csokolade Eros Chocolate with Hot Paprika ($20). The ornamental square bar is crafted in Hungary and features 77% dark chocolate. There is also a total of only four ingredients; the spice is nice, but never overpowering.
Rounding out our selections, the Nirvana Organic Bar with Toffee and Sesame Seeds ($6) revisits our interest in sesame met with chocolate—however it’s neither the sesame nor the ethically sourced Dominican Republic cacao beans that give it an edge. It’s toffee that offers both a crunch and a creaminess, making it an exemplary Belgium chocolate bar, made in Brugge.
Find the Rozsavolgyi and Original Beans chocolate bars and more at NYC and Portland, Oregon’s The Meadow. The other chocolate bars are also available online.
Images by Cool Hunting