This daintily packaged bar was given to me by my friend Kristina (thanks girl.) She got it at MarieBelle, which is a "cacao bar/tea salon" with two locations in Manhattan -- she visited the Broome Street shop, which I have not been to. At first I mistook this bar -- the "Aztec Hot Chocolate" bar -- for a chili/cocoa blend because of its name. But in fact "Aztec" refers to the (single!) origin -- Colombia -- and "Hot" refers to the fact that this is the very cocoa blend that MarieBelle uses for its best-selling hot cocoa beverage! That's highly unique. Let's learn:
MarieBelle: Aztec Hot Chocolate Bar
Cocoa content: 60%
Notable ingredients: n/a
Never before have I had a bar that claims to mimic the taste of hot chocolate. It's actually a great idea: we all love the sweet, rich dregs at the bottom of a mug of hot chocolate. MarieBelle has taken that mug-bottom surplus and used it to inspire a solid bar. I think that basically means there is tons of sugar in this bar. It's definitely sweeter than most 60% blends, and inexplicably fuller and richer. On their website, MarieBelle calls this blend "creamy" dark chocolate -- it's true. This bar has the tongue-coating, melty richness of a milk chocolate, with the subtle flavors of a single origin dark. And there's no bitterness, as I've experienced with other single origins -- granted, most of them have been of a higher cocoa content.
So, basically, it was utterly fabulous. It's almost not fair to include in the blog because the fact that it's supposed to compare with hot cocoa launches it out of the league of other bars. Nobody else could justify adding this much [sugar?/cocoa butter?/milk powder?/vanilla?] to a single origin and calling it chocolate. But MarieBelle is famous for their cocoa beverage, so it's actually really smart to market a solid bar impersonating it. Imchocolating it? Semantics.
The bar itself is physically really interesting -- there are not perforations, but rather it is dotted with tiny depression, pointillism-style. It looked like legos, as remarked everyone who saw the bar. This made it difficult to break off pieces evenly, but as long as the bar was room temperature I could break it along the dotted lines with reasonable precision.
I will not detract points for the fact that the Aztecs didn't live in Colombia; they lived in Central Mexico. Now that everybody knows that I just took a Mesoamerican history class, I assign this bar an A+.