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Without doubt one of the best chocolate makers in the country, if not the world, Dandelion makes single-origin bars with beans from the best co-ops and fermentaries. Their bars are excellent without fail, each offering a distinct terroir while employing Dandelion's unique, refined style that brings out dark fruit, soft earthiness, and rich lactic and cream flavors.

Peru Piura Blanco 70%


Aroma: Dry wood, dry leaves, tannins, dried figs, dried spices – turmeric, cinnamon


Flavor: Some interesting flavors: Juicy Concord grape, chocolate pudding, raisin, dried/fermented fruit, molasses/brown sugar, dates, wine, leather, kind of harsh, a dusty finish like cocoa powder. A little acidity emerges as it melts but shifts to astringency, which is out of balance. Texture is good; nice melt – flavors get more chocolately as it warms.


Recommended: Recommended with reservations. There are some pleasant flavors, but the astringency and bitterness are a little out of balance. I’ve had many great bars from Dandelion, and there are plenty of excellent Peru bars out there, but this isn’t my favorite.

Batch info: Batch #1; Best by September 2022; 2015 harvest

India Anamalai 70%


Aroma: leather, dried apple, a little vinegar, dried apricots

Flavor: Quite fruity and tangy with a little bite. The acidity works here – its bold, but integrated. spiciness, a little more acidity, dried apple – specific kind of dried fruit taste, a little astringency but not excessive, a little apple cider vinegar, cranberry, dried cherry. Very little bitterness (not bitter like cranberry), just bold acidity. A pleasant finish with shortbread, crème fraiche. Reminiscent of Madagascar in some ways but a little more astringency.


Recommendation: Recommended. Interesting, a little unusual, some very pleasant notes. The acidity is fairly bold, but I wouldn’t say unpleasant. There is a distinct dryness on the finish, but it’s not out of balance per se. Kind of on the edge of dry but still some creamy notes.


Batch info: 2018 Harvest; Best by June 2022

Brazil Vale Potumuju 70%

Aroma: molasses, dried fruit, earthy


Flavor: Some earthy and dark flavors complemented by more delicate notes: dark roast almond, dried fruit, dark cherries, citrus, chocolate buttercream frosting, vanilla, hint of floral pear, slight starchiness: biscuit, Mexican wedding cookies. Low astringency, low bitterness.


Recommendation: Highly recommended. Rich and very satisfying. My favorites from Dandelion, remain the Tanzania and Madagascar bars, but this one is interesting and beautifully made. This makes an interesting comparison with the Brazil bar from Zotter, though I found Dandelion’s more intense.


Batch info: Batch no. 1; Best by August 2022; 2019 harvest

Venezuela Mantuano 70%

Flavor: Brownie edges, baked chocolate, grape, coffee grounds, chocolate graham crackers, some distinct dryness on the finish, and overall lacking complexity.

Recommendation: Recommended with reservations. It is hard to get Venezuelan cacao these days and this is a decent example of it. Cocoa from Venezuela can be very variable, and this is not Dandelion's best bar.


Batch info: Batch 1; Best by June 2022; 2016 Harvest

Honduras Wampusirpi 70% (Tokyo)

Flavor: A little licorice, texture isn’t quite as perfectly smooth but still smooth, maybe a little more of the floral versus. The caramel and baked chocolate flavors of the SF bar. Slighty yeasty/toastiness like soft bread crust. Teddy grahams, mild baked cocoa flavor. Vanilla, a little creamy fruitiness like papaya, grape? Flavor like hazelnut or caramel syrup. Brown sugar, very slight grassiness. Slightly richer flavor, but texture is very slightly grainier.


Recommendation: Highly recommended.


Batch info: Best by March 2022; 2017 Harvest

Honduras Wampusirpi 70% (San Francisco)

Flavor: Slight caramel, chocolate wafer cookies, baked chocolate, cocoa powder, fairly delicate overall, as it melts, a little floral flavors – vanilla, sweet tropical flowers. And creamy fruit. Grape? Brownie. Something bready – sourdough. As it melts, a little more fruitiness emerges. Dates, raisins. A brown sugar flavor that feels warm on the tongue, slight harshness in back of throat. A slightly bitter finish.

Note: Dandelion makes chocolate with Honduras beans at both their San Francisco and Tokyo factories. They have slightly different roast profiles. This San Francisco bar had a very similar flavor to the Tokyo bar, but a little bit more brownie and dried fruit flavors.


Recommendation: Highly recommended.


Batch info: Batch 1; Best by July 2022; 2017 Harvest

Ecuador Costa Esmeraldas 70%

Note: I didn't have notes for this, but I took it to Ecuador for a tasting there and I recall it not being as good as the batch I had from Dandelion a few years earlier.

Ecuador Costa Esmeraldas 70%

Aroma: grapes, Bing cherries, rich soil, creamy yogurt, red wine, cocoa powder, vanilla, coconut, perfumed woods, rich, balanced, and evolving


Flavor: Tropical fruit - pineapple, honey, sour cherry, brownie, red fruit, brown fruit, a little tang and a hint of spiciness. Lactic with almost a cheesy richness. Red wine, vanilla, creamy, port, some pleasant lingering bitterness. A darker flavor profile. Some floral and a little bit of mineralness. Hint of pleasant soil/earth. Cranberry tartness, walnut/pecan, a little woodiness. Fruit undertones, creamy. Almost like a cherry fudgesicle with the combination of fruit, brownie, lactic, and vanilla. Full, complex, multi-layered flavor, beautiful temper and very dark brown color.


Recommendation: Highly recommended. Absolutely fantastic. One of the best Ecuador bars I have had.


Batch info: 2016 Harvest, enjoy by January 2021

Tanzania Kokoa Kamili 70%

Aroma: dried cherry, sweet port wine, leather, coffee, red wine, berries


Flavor: Nuanced flavors. Wonderfully strong lactic notes, a rich lactic tang like crème fraiche. Tangy red fruit, rich cocoa. pleasant wood notes, cherry, light tangerine, hint of floral aroma. A creamy finish with berry notes. Some lingering astringency – more than some of Dandelion’s other bars, but less than Meadowland’s Kokoa Kamili bar.


Recommendation: Highly recommended.


Batch info: 2014 Harvest, Enjoy by June 2019

Belize Maya Mountain 70%


Aroma: malt, deep, cherry, jasmine, cherry blossoms, coffee

Flavor: tangy, sweet, vanilla, cherries, creamy – like dark chocolate cherry ice cream. Some slightly green flavors like sour fruit – green grapes? Dried sour cherry, prunes, very slight astringency – hint of tannins - and bitterness, pleasant fruity acidity, lactic notes - yogurt and crème fraiche. Some background spiciness. Red wine, fresh berries, hint of piney woodiness, hint of floral. Balsamic vinegar reduction, deep nutty flavors, floral, fruity tang and coffee in initial attack. Sweet, cherry, creamy, roasty moves to some sourness, finishes with some mild nutty flavor and a hint of spiciness. Some herbaceous grassy notes at first that fade, nuttiness when chewed.


Recommendation: Highly recommended. Tangy, complex, and wonderful. Some similarities to Dandelion Esmeraldas with the chocolate/cherry flavors.


Batch info: 2016 Harvest, enjoy by April 2019

Colombia Tumaco 70%


Aroma: earth and floral, like rich soil and rose


Flavor: woody tannins, red fruit, dried cherry, cranberry, grape, rich chocolate, slight green astringent but not strong, walnut, fudge, walnut ganache, cream, a little floral, dark beer, graham cracker

Recommendation: Recommended.

Batch info: 2017 Harvest

Madagascar Ambanja 70%

Aroma: lilac, honey, beeswax, grapes, dried figs/dates, floral – like pears


Flavor: Like walking through a tropical forest with a hint of grassy freshness. Bursting with flavor and pleasant tartness. Dried cherry, dried raspberries, fig, ripe fruit, juicy tangy red fruit, prunes, grapes, wine, fresh tart berries. Nice pronounced lactic/yogurt flavors. Slight vegetal notes – olive. Tropical fruit – pineapple? Hint of licorice. Something tart and slightly tannic, hint of astringency but not unpleasant. Lovely base cocoa flavor. Very long-lasting fruitiness lingers. Great shine. Lovely thick texture.


Recommendation: Highly recommended. The flavors are a symphony, complex and long-lasting without any of them coming across too strong. It beautifully exemplifies the best of Madagascar’s cacao and would be fun to try alongside other good Madagascar bars. It is more complex than but not as tangy as Manjari, and it’s not quite as bold and complex as Dick Taylor Madagascar, but fruitier and brighter with slightly more vegetal notes.


Batch info: 2016 Harvest, enjoy by May 2019

Dominican Republic Zorzal Comunitario 70%

Aroma: burned, smoke, grilled bell peppers, overripe fruit, soy sauce, ash, red wine, fresh cut wood


Flavor: fruity sourness, muddy earthiness, dry wood, woody tannins, black tea, nut skins, starchy cookie, dried fruit/fig, floral, grape, vanilla, slightly burned, some astringency, some bitterness


Recommendation: Not recommended. This is the only bar I have tried from Dandelion that was not fantastic, so whether it is an off batch, or simply made with very different beans, I did not feel that it was representative of their wonderful chocolate. There were burnt flavors along with too much astringency and not quite as much complexity as some of their other bars.

Batch info: 2016 Harvest, Enjoy by May 2020

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