Based in Hungary, Rózsavölgyi makes a wide range of single origin bars as well as truffles, hot chocolate, and even very realistic looking rusty tools made entirely of chocolate!
Madagascar Trinitario 72%
Aroma: lime soda, slightly astringent
Flavor: lime sherbet, lime, mellow chocolate, slight astringency, cornstarch, some muted red fruit/spice flavors.
Recommendation: Recommended with reservations. This bar is really unusual, with distinct lime flavors but not a lot else. It’s not my favorite, but it’s not bad either, and would make an interesting addition to a Madagascar tasting line up.
Batch info: Lot no. MT 4501; Best by August 30, 2020
Peru Norandino 70%
Flavor: I think there is some flavor cross-contamination, as there is a very distinct turmeric flavor even though the bar is supposed to be unflavored. This bar is also sweetened with maple sugar. The turmeric and maple flavors make it really hard to assess the cacao itself. There is mostly a lightly dry woody flavor that is not bad but not particularly pleasant either.
Recommendation: I did not care for this bar. It is not bad exactly, but weird, and unfortunately the nuances are somewhat lost under the turmeric and maple. This maker does have a Golden Mylk bar made with turmeric, and I’m guessing that the flavor is hard to totally get out of the machinery or that the bars were stored too closely. I have noticed this in a few other unflavored bars from makers that also make bars with strongly flavored inclusions. I also prefer plain cane or beet sugar because they add the least additional distracting flavors; maple can be good but this tastes grassy and odd. I would definitely skip this one and get a different Peru bar.
Belize Toledo 75%
Aroma: honey, curry powder, molasses, maple sugar, slightly vegetal
Flavor: A nice mix of savory and sweet: spices, molasses, chipotle peppers, sweet barbecue sauce, green apple. However, there is a distinct flavor of curry powder and turmeric, which is likely contamination from their Golden Mylk bar made with turmeric.
Recommendation: Recommended with reservations. There are some nice flavors here, with some richness and complexity, but the intensity of the turmeric flavor is a problem.
Batch info: Enjoy by August 17, 2021
Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Somerville Chocolate is based on a Community Supported Agriculture model, unique in the bean-to-bar chocolate world. You can join a season and receive three bars each from four different harvests, including bars made with beans from Colombia, Hawaii, the Dominican Republic, Peru, and more. Some harvests include interesting variations like three different roast profiles with the same beans, an awesome approach that is hard to find elsewhere! You can also buy bars individually online by emailing them as well as at many locations in Massachusetts and a few shops in other states.
Hawaii Papaikou 70%
Aroma: red wine, mulled wine, spices, cloves, green apple, a little fermenty funk and a pleasantly strong fruity aroma.
Flavor: spices, earthiness, pineapple, a slight dusty starchiness like cornstarch, rich mineral soil, a slight back of the throat bite, red wine, cherries, a fruity, fermented funkiness
Recommendation: Recommended. Complex; the fruity fermented flavors are similar to other Hawaiian bars I’ve tasted.
Batch info: Produced 9/10/19
Steiner & Kovarik
I found this bar in the airport in the Czech Republic ~2019. The chocolate was okay, but the package remains one of the prettier ones I've seen.
Aroma: graham cracker, toasted grains, malt, sorghum molasses, brown sugar
Flavor: Malt, caramel. Rye bread, fermented grains - a little sour. Nuts – walnuts, pecans. A slight dry woody astringency. Some bitterness. Lime zest, graham cracker. Some slight astringency, spice and tropical fruit, licorice.
Recommendation: Recommended with reservations. It's interesting and unusual, which sometimes makes things worth trying. There are pleasant flavors, but the coconut sugar flavor is so distinctive that it overshadows the other flavors. Also some slightly unpleasant astringency and bitterness.
Batch info: Best by November 12, 2019.
Flavor: Flat and astringent
Recommendation: Don’t buy. Virtually no depth or complexity and some unpleasant astringency. The one caveat is that there was some bloom, which effects flavor. However, I doubt it would be sufficient to alter the flavor of an excellent chocolate to this extent, so the recommendation still stands.
Batch info: Lot 54421, sell by February 8, 2020