Scharffen Berger is one of the few, if not the first, American chocolate company to work from “bean to bar”. What does that mean you may ask? To put it simply, it means that the company oversees the whole chocolate production: from sourcing the beans to the molding and wrapping the final bar. This level of control allows the chocolate makers to assure that the chocolate is made to their level of taste and satisfaction. The results are usually a fantastic bar of chocolate.
I’ve known of Scharffen Berger for a long time as I’d often seen it in gourmet stores and the shelves of my local Whole Foods. I always considered them too easily available for me to make an impromptu buy, but I’d knew it’d happen someday when I felt like trying something new (which is all the time, but you know what I mean). I saw this little tasting kit and I knew this would be a perfect way to try out Scarffen Berger’s selection, so into my cart it went.
41% Milk: It has a nice color and the aroma is extremely decadent: sweet with notes of cream, caramel and vanilla. It reminds me of ice cream. The flavor is lovely; chocolatey and creamy with neither flavor dominating over the other. Between the two big players there, there’s hints of the caramel and vanilla to give it that extra sweetness and depth. The mouth feel is extremely silky too, very luxurious. One of the better milk chocolates I’ve had to date.
70% Bittersweet: I love bittersweet, so this will be interesting. It has a strong medium brown color which is a little on the darker side. Smells of cocoa, coffee, and wood. The flavor is very earthy at first, with notes of vegetables, wood and fungi. Then a caramel like sweetness blossoms and mellows the flavor a little until the finish when the earthy notes return. It’s very reminiscent of the jungle where the cacao comes from.
82% Extra Dark: Sharp, dark color with reddish undertones. Smells very bright and fruity with subte notes of cherries and coffee. It’s a lovely aroma, which is also surprisingly pretty sweet smelling. The snap is really hard: loud and clean showing the good tempering of the chocolate. The flavor is very complex. It starts off with light cocoa flavors, then toward the middle bright sour notes of cherries and green coffee burst forward. Those flavors linger and a dry finish comes from under them and washes it all away in a cocoa like aftertaste. Beginners might be put off toward the bitterness, but I found the notes nicely controlled and flavorful. I enjoyed it.
This is nice to try so I could get an idea of what the range of the chocolate coming from Scharffen Berger. It’s a good step for beginners as it gives the opportunity taste the differences between the different cacao percentages. I liked how I know what to expect from them in the “mix in” bars and in their future products. A good chocolate that’s worth returning to every so often.
Rating: Will Eat Again