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  • Writer's pictureReilly

Giving Craft Chocolate

Craft chocolate is an ideal gift. It's consumable - most of us don't need more stuff. It's healthy, if you choose 70% or higher dark chocolate, which is low in sugar and rich in antioxidants, fiber, and minerals. It's reasonably affordable - for $7-15 per bar, you can give the finest chocolate in the world. Compare that to what you would pay for the best wine or whiskey, and chocolate seems like a steal. Plus, it's easy to wrap and looks beautiful with just a simple ribbon or tucked into a gift bag with colorful tissue paper.

Craft chocolate can be enjoyed alone or shared as part of a fun holiday activity. And, it supports small business, artisans, and farmers around the world, so you can feel as good about giving it as someone will to receive it!

With so many options to choose from, we recommend choosing a theme to guide your selections. You can pick bars by maker, country, style, variety of cacao, or awards.

Giving several bars from one maker, such as Dick Taylor, Castronovo, Ritual, Domori, Fruition, or Creo (all pictured at right) lets the recipient get to know that maker's unique style while exploring cacao from different regions of the world.

Choosing a style, such as dark milk, is a fun way to explore a particular approach to chocolate, letting you explore both ingredients and makers. Dark milk in particular tends to be a crowd pleaser since it offers creaminess along with the depth of high percentage bars. We recommend Fruition's Spring Salted Dark Milk, Manoa's Goat Milk, Dick Taylor's Dark Milk, and Patric's Salty Cow.

Giving several bars of a single variety of cacao - criollo, trinitario, and forastero are the rough classifications - is perfect for someone who loves the nuances of flavor. Perhaps they're already a coffee or tea expert and will appreciate subtle differences. Domori makes a fantastic line of criollo bars made with cacao from their plantation in Venezuela. Giving chocolate made with these rare varieties supports their preservation efforts as well.

Finally, giving a couple bars from a single country or region makes for a great tasting comparison, letting the recipient compare the styles of different makers while becoming familiar with regional characteristics. There are over a dozen countries offering fine cacao, including (left to right from top to bottom) Peru, Madagascar, Colombia; Bolivia, Mexico, Tanzania; Venezuela, Ecuador, and Belize. Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Nicaragua, Honduras, Vietnam, Trinidad, Brazil, Ghana, and Hawaii also produce good cacao. Of course, quality varies across every country, so look for bars from well-respected makers who chose their cacao carefully. All of the bars and makers featured here are highly recommended. See below for maker info.

Peru: Fruition Marañon Canyon 76%; Maraná Piura 70%; Domori Trinitario 70%; Boho Ucayali 70%; Ranger Piura 70%; Qantu Gran Blanco Piura 70%

Madagascar: Akesson’s Bejofo Criollo 75%; Ritual Sambirano 75%; Dandelion Ambanja 70%; Patric 67%, Domori Trinitario 70%; Dick Taylor Sambirano 72%

Colombia: Dandelion Tumaco 70%, Dick Taylor Palmino Limited Release; Castronovo Sierra Nevada 72%; Cacao Hunters Arauca 70%; Domori Trinitario 70%

Bolivia: Solstice Palos Blancos 70%; Boho 70%; Cacao 70 Beniano 70%; Original Beans Beni Wild Harvest 66%

Mexico: Castronovo Soconusco 70%; Original Beans Zoque 88%; Goodnow Farms Almendra Blanca 77%; Ritual Soconusco 75%; Georgia Ramon Soconusco Criollo 76%; Map Tabasco Limited Edition 66%

Tanzania: Solstice Kilombero 70%; Mirzam Kokoa Kamili 72%; Domori Trinitario 70%; Fossa Kokoa Kamili 72%; 9th & Larkin Kokoa Kamili 72%; Monsoon Kokoa Kamili 77%; Letterpress Kokoa Kamili 70%; Dandelion Kokoa Kamili 70%

Venezuela: Domori Ocumare Criollo 70%; Domori Chuao Criollo 70%; Chocolat Bonnat Hacienda El Rosario 75%; Domori Trinitario 70%; Castronovo Patanemo 70%

Ecuador: Domori Nacional 70%; Yumbos 70%; Goodnow Farms Esmeraldas 70%; Soma Esmeraldas 70%; Creo Washu Project 73%; Creo Hacienda Limón 73%; Dandelion Esmeraldas 70%

Belize: Dandelion Maya Mountain 70%, Ritual Toledo 75%; Dick Taylor Toledo

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