Today's Sacrament will look at the final group of products that Theo Chocolate submitted to us for review. These are five different flavors of their 3-ounce "Theo Origins" bars. You can find your Chocolate Priestess's earlier revelations on Theo's Nib Brittle back in April 2009 and their 2-oz. bars in August 2009.
tab. For some reason they are only featuring three of their five flavors online right now, but look in stores for the other two flavors I am going to witness to you about today. It is quite possible that different regions have had problems with their cocoa crops or Theo has changed flavors since these were sent to me. I can only reveal what I have been sent, Sisters and Brothers. As usual, I will work my way from the least to the greatest cocoa content. Each bar is 7 inches long, 3 inches across and just over a quarter inch thick.
The "Ghana Panama Ecuador 75% Cacao" bar is really a triple-origin bar, combining cacao beans from the three different regions listed in the title. This is identical in appearance to the previous bar, but the scent is less bitter. The chocolate starts more creamy, then turns a bit bitter and acidic as I chew a half section. There are interesting switches in flavors if you eat it slowly enough to track them and let the cocoa rush build up.
I am sent firmly back to Africa and to the second largest cocoa producer in the world with the "Ghana 84% Cacao" bar. At this level you really need to know the person you are buying chocolate for. Most people, when they say they like dark chocolate, are talking about the 60-80% cocoa range; few can enjoy the higher cocoa content. Again this does not look any different from the previous bar, so I won't take a photo and slow down your loading time today. It has a very deep, rich cocoa fragrance when I open up the wrapper. The bitterness is there, but this time with a very natural, floral flavor that I can't specify beyond that. It makes my tongue and mouth pucker up a bit, though with each bite of this half section my senses adjust, and I'm either flying so high from the buzz or simply getting so used to the intensity that it seems almost sweet by the end.
Each of these 3-oz. bars has two servings according to its label, and they don't differ much in content, so I'm just going to summarize for those of you Sisters and Brothers who care. The calorie range is 200-210, saturated fats 10-12 grams, fiber 4-5 g, sugars 4-14 g, protein 3-4 g, 4-6% of the daily iron requirement, and 0-2% daily calcium. There is no cholesterol and no sodium in any of the five varieties. Minus the added sugars, this is close to what cacao itself must offer nutritionally.
Theo Chocolate can now be found in stores all over the United States, though their store locator doesn't do justice to how widespread they are. I can find their bars in at least two stores within a mile of my house, Bloomingfoods and Sahara Mart, so try stores similar to "Whole Foods" if you don't have one of those franchises in your area. All of these bars are certified fair trade produced, the wrappers are 50% recycled materials, and the chocolate itself is vegan and organic. Slipping them into someone's stocking or gift bag is also gifting the farmers who grow the cacao and the planet which creates it.
Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.