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.
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
Batch info: 2017 Harvest
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
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
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