I bought this chocolate bar at one of the fancier chocolate shops in town -- Bond Street Chocolates, on E. 4th St. between 2nd Ave and the Bowery. Michael and I were on a whirlwind tour of the East Village's boutique chocolate shops while we were killing time before a dinner reservation. We visited Bespoke Chocolates (on Extra Pl.) first, but they were closing and had very little left in stock. Bond St. Chocolates, just a few blocks away, was similarly starting to empty out but they had a few bars left. I chose this one over a milk chocolate bar with caramelized almonds and sea salt.
Bond St. Chocolates: Dark w/ Dried Cranberries & Sunflower Seeds
Cocoa content: 72%
Notable ingredients: dried cranberries; sunflower seeds
First, let's talk about the fact that 72% seems to be the jackpot cocoa content, at least according to my taste buds and chocolate producers worldwide. I did a little math to figure out how common and how good these 72% bars are -- it's the first and last time you'll see me do math on the internet, so enjoy. Of roughly 75 entries on this blog so far, about 13 of them (or 17% of entries) cover bars between the 68-73% range. Given that the normal range of common cocoa contents is between 30% and 90%, it is notable that such a big proportion of bars would fall in a range of 5 numbers. Of those chocolates that fall in the money range, about 7 (or 54%) received a grade of B+ or above.
Bond St. has not only capitalized on a prime cocoa content, they've also heightened the perfection of 72% by matching it with sweet and roasted flavor notes. Interestingly, we've never seen dried cranberries before on this blog. They are sweet and chewy and slightly sour, but not as sour as the cherries from that nice Green & Black's bar. Cranberries are just sweet enough to balance any bitterness that occurs in high quality dark chocolate. The sunflower seeds were fine, but didn't feel deliberate. They could have been slivered almonds, and I wouldn't have known the difference. They are little pale slices of seed, with a slightly roasted taste that worked well with the chewy dried fruit.
This bar tasted really delicious, and it wasn't just thanks to the cranberries and seeds. Bond St. makes really good chocolates -- on site, I think -- and they aren't transported around the world or kept for weeks in storage boxes or anything like that. This bar was snappy, moist, naturally sweet, and smart at 72% cocoa. I know there have been a lot of these floating around lately, but I give it an A-.