Reviewer’s Note: Sample of the product discussed here was provided to me for reviewing purposes at no cost.
I had the pleasure of sampling a shipment of Chococurb artisan chocolates last month. Chococurb is a subscription-based service committed to doing its customers the good turn of introducing them to a universe of chocolates by delivering candy to their door. Each five- to seven-item shipment includes dark and milk chocolates from around the world. Anyone to whom handcrafting, organic production methods, and globally-diverse sourcing are important considerations when seeking out new sweets to try, will find much to like about Chococurb.
As for the rundown on the five-piece shipment I received, it included one 1.2 oz. (33g) Dolcetta Artisan Sweets Candy Orange Dark Chocolate Bar, one 0.7 oz. (20g) Rococo Chocolates, Basil & Persian Lime Dark Chocolate Bee Bar, a 2 oz. (57g) Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate Madagascar Sambirano, a 3.5 oz. (99g) Ethereal Confections Handcrafted Meltaway Chocolate Bar filled with Blood Orange & Vanilla Bean Creamy Center, and one 2.29 oz. (65g) Menakao Madagascar Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts. And because wine and chocolates make frequent and enthusiastic bedfellows, I undertook a second-tier of sampling for this review, evaluating various nectars of the vine to discover inexpensive, approachable ones that shared a complementary relationship with the respective candies presented.
(If it isn’t clear by now, this sampling experience was right in my wheelhouse from the word “go.”) Here’s how my findings shook out when all was said and done (or more appropriately, unwrapped and uncorked)…
Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate Madagascar Sambirano
I tried this one first, figuring to progress from the candy with the highest cacao percentage to the one with the lowest. At 72% cacao, this crisp dark chocolate bar with only marginal tended toward the bitter end of the flavor spectrum. That isn’t to say that I found it unpleasant, just that any sugary elements are marginal, an attribute that with dark chocolate, needn’t be taken as a negative. Organic and handcrafted, its firm texture and richness of flavor reminded me of coffee, taken black so that its purest flavor expressions can speak for themselves and actually be heard.
Enjoy it with a sip of: Gonzalez Byass Nectar Dulce Pedro Ximenez Sherry.
The caramel and raisin notes struck a great balance with the chocolate’s bitterness and subdued sweetness level, the opposing flavors greeting each other like old friends.
Dolcetta Artisan Sweets Candy Orange 72% Dark Chocolate Bar
Bits of candied orange zest lace this bar with pleasing citrus that brings with subtle sweetness that is just present enough to be detected without upstaging the chocolate.
Enjoyed it with a sip of: Gonzalez Byass Nectar Dulce Pedro Ximenez Sherry, Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Porto, or Elsa Bianchi Malbec
Here, the sweet PX sherry’s caramel and the zesty citrus in chocolate complement one another, while the port wine really brings alive the fruit’s candied aspect. And despite being a dry wine, the Malbec’s berry hints are amplified by the chocolate, making for a tasty meeting of fruit components with the chocolate’s citrus elements.
Ethereal Confections Handcrafted Meltaway Chocolate Bar 66% Cacao filled with Blood orange & Vanilla Bean Creamy Center
Things start to get sweeter here. This bar with a filling that reminds me of fruit-laced chocolate buttercream is one that I could imagine enjoying daily in increasingly large bites. Its blood orange and vanilla flavors combine to create something fun and exotic.
Enjoyed it with a sip of: Beringer Red Moscato, Montebuena Estate-Bottled Rioja
The easy-drinking wine bottled as Red Moscato is actually a blend of Moscato, Zinfandel, and Petite Sirah. its light, fruit-forward style and berry and cherry nuances mesh nicely with the sweetness of the chocolate. Meanwhile, the chocolate’s fruity, vanilla influences drew forth the dryer Rioja’s vanilla and dark berry flavor components.
Rococo Basil & Persian Lime Dark Chocolate Bee Bar
This bar was an Academy of Chocolate Silver Winner in 2007. Organic, and composed 65% cocoa, it possess a green, herbal aroma well before it’s tasted, making it the most fragrant of the chocolates sampled.On the tongue, the basil is present at once, whereas the taste of lime follows closely behind, lingering after swallowing. The flavors perform ably together,
Enjoyed it with a sip of: Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, Adesso Cagnina di Romagna Dolce
I went dryer with this one at first, then followed with a sweeter wine. Pairing chocolates with sweeter wines may be an established norm, however I found that the herbaceous and spicy nutmeg hints found in the Cabernet Sauvignon accentuates the herbal impact of the basil and complements the green citrus contributions to this bar. The sweet yet tart Cagnina di Romagna, made with 100% Refosco (Cagnina) grapes falls nicely in line with the lime whispering through the chocolate, amplifying the comforting smoothness of both.
Menakao Madagascar Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts
This creamy, nutty milk chocolate bar is 44% cocoa and comes dotted with ground hazelnuts. The smoothest of the samples in terms of texture, it is further proof that chocolate and hazelnuts are meant to be together.
Enjoyed it with a sip of: Beringer Red Moscato, Gonzalez Byass Nectar Dulce Pedro Ximenez Sherry
Here again, caramelized nuttiness and raisiny sweetness of the Dulce sherry were a natural match to the nutty flavor elements brought to the table by the hazelnuts. The fruit-forward Red Moscato befriended the sugar in the creamy milk chocolate right away, combining with it to form a truly enjoyable flavor combination I would revisit without hesitation.
“Discover Extraordinary Chocolate,” proclaims the Chococurb website. I’m happy to say that in sampling its services, I have done exactly that. And despite the wide variety of tastes and textures, I know I’m merely evaluating the tip of the proverbial iceberg in terms of its entire catalogue of offerings.
Learn more about Chococurb or get your own subscription happening at https://www.chococurb.com/.