Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Byrne & Carlson: Chipotle Sea Salt Bar

I messed up again! I'm late to blog (no excuse) but also I had a nice picture of this bar with the pretty paper sleeve from Byrne & Carlson still on, but I somehow deleted it, and the actual paper sleeve, which I had saved just in case this happened, got lost while I was moving things out of my dorm room. So all I have is this picture that I didn't take -- but it does convey, I think, the salt patterns that I will address below.

Byrne & Carlson: Chipotle Sea Salt Bar
Cocoa content: 74%
Notable ingredients: chipotle, Welsh sea salt
Origin: Venezuela

My dear cousin gave this to me on Passover -- she got it in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where Byrne & Carlson is located. The company makes all of their products by hand at the shop, and sometimes they use ingredients from local sources -- like the mint from their garden in the Violet bar. This particular bar is spiced very subtly with chipotle and then sprinkled with large crystals of sea salt.

The chipotle was done well, I think -- it was just very slightly smoky, and it didn't have the strangely dry after-taste that that pepper can sometimes leave. It wasn't spicy at all -- which works here, because spice and salt would just overwhelm the high quality Venezuelan chocolate, which was very good but not especially bold.

I didn't like the way the bar was salted. The sprinkling on the under-side of the bar looks pretty, but it suffered from uneven distribution. Some bites were not very salty at all -- just smooth and subtly smoky. But some bites contained a cluster of the strong Welsh sea salt, which totally obliterated the taste of the chocolate -- not to mention the chipotle, which was entirely overwhelmed by the strength of the salt. This bar might have worked better with smaller, better integrated crystals.

Next week (if I make it to next week) -- a new-age bar with questionable Kosher-ness. This gets a B-.

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