Brooklyn based Mast Brothers produce some of the prettiest chocolate bars I've ever seen. Their wrapping is what originally drew me to their bars while I was picking up Idiazabal cheese for my fabulous beet and frisse salad. The Stumptown Coffee bar wrapper had bicycles, pennyfarthings to be exact, wrapped around a rich, dark chocolate with nibs of super strong espresso beans. My husband, a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur who isn't a huge fan of chocolate, loved it. But I wasn't about to buy him an $8 chocolate bar and not get one for myself. For me, Almonds and Sea Salt dressed in heavy paper with black and red anchors dancing all over it. The savory nuttiness of salted almonds draped in rich dark chocolate is a flavor experience that is almost impossible to describe... but I'll try with two simple words: Holy Cow. That's some tasty chocolate and even though it's pricey, it's worth it. Not your everyday chocolate, but for a special occasion, I'd pick these beautifully wrapped delicacies.
Justin and I were wandering the Brooklyn Flea in search of a new table for our entryway a couple of weekends ago. Though we didn't find that perfect piece of furniture we had set out for, we didn't walk away empty-handed. I found a few great pillbox hats and headbands, Justin eyed up some old vinyls, together we picked up an amazing typewriter, and we both ate some snacks. Unfortunately, this chocolate isn't in the fridge since we had already spent all our loot on the typewriter; but I can still taste it. Justin stood and ate almost an entire barrel of pickle samples while I partook in the sweet and savory flavors of Fine and Raw's Sea Salt bar. Like the Mast Brothers sea salt bar, Fine and Raw overwhelms your palette with a smokey sweetness. A bit saltier than MB but oh boy is it worth it.During a quick snack run at the Food Emporium on my way to work the other day, I grabbed a pack of deluxe mixed nuts and a chocolate bar. As usual I let my eyes guide me to the prettiest pack. The Tea Room's tea-infused chocolate bars are inexpensive escapes into the exotic. I grabbed the first one I saw in an eye-catching orange box (way too much packaging but I'll let that slide) which turned out to be a Mate Tea Infused Dark Chocolate with Cocoa Nibs. What a welcome surprise! The flavors were so complex and dark with an earthy bitterness. Not too shabby for a three dollar candy bar.
I recently received an international addition to my collection thanks to the lovely Bennett sisters. While on their vaca in Mexico, they kindly thought of me and brought me back two absolutely amazing chocolate bars (one dark, one milk) from Ah Cacao in Mexico. The flavors of this Mayan chocolate are pure and rich with notes of cinnamon-y spices that make for an amazing bittersweet balance. This stuff is the real deal, honest and simple chocolate that cures a cocoa craving in a heartbeat. Thanks girls for the best spring break souvenir ever!
My old standard is the Ritter Sport Olympia. A simple and fake-healthy chocolate bar filled with honey, yogurt & nuts. An inexpensive and totally accessible (seriously, they sell these everywhere) emergency stash. Sometimes I mix it up but no matter what the flavor is, one of these German confections is always tucked away behind the fish sticks and frozen peas.
This list only includes the chocolate bars that I seem to have been collecting lately. It fails to include the other variations of cocoa that are always present in the kitchen like Baker's chocolate squares, Ghiradelli semisweet chocolate chips, Dutch pressed cocoa powder and the unpronounceable Polish chocolate that mentioned while raving about my candy dish. With all these tempting confections surrounding me, it's getting more and more difficult to pick out my pre-bedtime chocotreat. Maybe a little nibble of each before I hit the sack tonight. Very sweet dreams...