Upon the recommendation of a friend, I checked out the chocolate selection at Dave's Fresh Pasta (in Somerville) during my last visit to Boston. Dave's specializes in homemade pasta but it's also an impressive specialty foods shop. They carry a lot of nice local chocolate, and an interesting selection of beer and cheeses. Also, they had a bowl of fresh cherry peppers by the cashier. This chocolate bar, which was made in Sheffield, Massachusetts, stood out because of the name. I can't resist the promise of pretzels.
Berkshire Bark Chocolate: Pretzelogical
Cocoa content: unlisted (my guess is 30%)
Notable ingredients: pretzels, sea salt caramel, peanut butter
What do you expect, from an entire bar of chocolate-covered pretzel? And if it were smothered with peanut butter and pressed with chips of salty, hardened caramel? Sometimes I feel it's unfair to put a bar this ambitious on my blog and, in doing so, compare it with other chocolate bars. This is really like a block of fudge: about a centimeter thick, and spilling over with chunks of pretzel, shards of sea salt caramel, and smudges of peanut butter. It is a solid, unsegmented bar and it crumbled upon breaking.
Milk chocolate, pretzels, caramel, and peanut butter. I couldn't make it up if I tried. Peanut butter, the dark horse candidate for this bar's third piece in the salty trifecta: it added a perfectly creamy note to the otherwise jagged assortment of things. The pretzels were appropriately crunchy and the caramel was neither too sticky nor too salty.
And what I like about Berkshire Bark -- other than the fact that they're based in my beautiful home-state -- is that they carefully source the ingredients that they use in this excellent chocolate bar. The caramel is homemade and flavored with really nice sea salt, and the peanut butter is entirely natural: just peanuts, oil, sugar, and salt, which is how peanut butter should be. The pretzels come from a century-old Pennsylvania pretzel maker -- it doesn't guarantee their quality, but it shows that Berkshire Bark is interested in all the parts that go into their chocolate bars, and not just in the end result.
As it turns out, though, the end result is pretty much perfect. A.