Located in Utah (which is also home to Ritual, Amano, Millcreek, and the Chocolate Conspiracy), Solstice makes single origin bars plus a handful of blends and drinking chocolate. Extra points for the packaging on the single origin bars - they come in easy to reseal packets so you can taste it and then store it safely for next time.
Palos Blancos – Bolivia 70%
Aroma: dark honey, hint of smoked meat, vanilla, dried red fruit, raisin
Flavor: Rich mellow chocolate – fudge, butter, walnuts, cream – with smooth wood note. Dried fruit and complex sweetness – like fig cookies, caramel, medium dark honey. Very slight tang – apricot jam kind of in the back of the throat when you chew it. Nut butters, tahini but very mild, yogurt. Really nice balance of delicate wood/tannin flavors and very subtle fruit.
Recommendation: Highly recommended – this is actually one of my favorite bars. An interesting range of delicate flavors work well together. If you like this, get Fruition's Limited Release Bolivia bar.
Batch info: Expiration date: December 31, 2020
Tanzania Kilombero 70%
Aroma: buttery – buttery fudge, caramel, condensed milk, faintest hint of port/red wine/woody/red wine vinegar, dried cherries, figs, raisins, old-fashioned black cherry soda but not that sweet
Flavor: Starts with red wine, woody, then rich buttery flavors emerge like chocolate custard, spices and brown fruit, dried cherry/fig/raisin/prune. Nice combination of the woody, gentle spice flavors and the dairy flavors. A soft bread/grain flavor like crackers. Very soft tangy notes – lemon or perhaps yogurty. Also subtle honey/peach/raspberry notes. Very slight grapefruit bitterness. Finishes with malted milk ball. Good balance.
Batch info: Batch no. 101212, Best by October 31, 2020
Uganda Bundibugyo 70%
Aroma: saltines, French bread, buttered toast, roasted but not dark, lilac, toffee, dried fruit, leather
Flavor: distinct but not overwhelming woody tannins – walnut skins, vanilla, black tea, a creamy cookie flavor like vanilla pudding or cookies, toast, saltines, hints of red fruit but a little astringent, walnut skins, macadamia nuts. Very complex. Reminds me a little of Catongo. The soft walnut skin astringency makes me think the beans might be slightly under-roasted.
Recommendation: Recommended. Unique and worth trying.
Batch info: Batch no. 104058, Best by December 31, 2020
India Anamalia 70%
Aroma: a rich, buttery aroma, anise, sourdough bread, dark toast, tangy like sour gummy candy, raisins, dried cherries, damp leaves, sherry vinegar
Flavor: Starts out with a dry cocoa base, then some pleasant tanginess appears – almost effervescent, some slightly sour astringency like green fruit (passionfruit), nibs, hint of cranberry juice or orange marmalade, red wine, sour dried cherries, soft woody flavors, some bread and vanilla notes on the finish
Batch info: Lot 090808, Best by December 31, 2020