Dick Taylor’s Craft Chocolate’s Belize and Toledo single origin bar

wrapper artAdam Dick and Dustin Taylor are a couple of former boat builders in the Northern California port city of Eureka. They’ve turned their efforts now to crafting high-quality chocolate, and they’re doing an excellent job. They’re making bean-to-bar chocolate bars and drinking chocolates by hand in a labor-intensive process, and winning all kinds of accolades for it. And as far as I can tell, without any of the whiff of scandal associated with others who claimed the bean-to-bar label in recent years.

I’d never heard of Dick Taylor until we received this bar as a gift over the holidays. So I approached it with a completely open mind, and that mind was blown.

This is an intense dark chocolate of at least 72 percent cacao solids, sourced from Co-op Maya in Toledo, Belize. The label lists two ingredients: organic cacao and organic cane sugar. The chocolatiers claim on their website that, “By not cutting corners or taking shortcuts in our process we are able to leave out vanilla, additional cocoa butter or other emulsifiers, in hopes of capturing and highlighting the subtle flavor nuances in the cacao we source from around the world.”

The bar is beautifully decorated in an incised pattern that resembles Islamic geometric tesserae. It’s not scored, and it’s not in the least brittle, so it takes a little pressure to break it. It breaks fairly cleanly and with a nice snap.

The bar’s label (more on that later) lists tasting notes of dried plum, tart cherry and jasmine, and to my palate that description is spot-on. The jasmine note is the first when the piece first starts to melt on the tongue, followed by the deeper, fruity notes. There may be some other very subtle note in the mid-range, but I can’t yet define it. The bar is two ounces, and one-quarter to one-third of it is very satisfying at one sitting.

It’s wrapped in gold foiled paper inside a heavy paper envelope. The distinctive wrapper is colored off-white with a woodcut of an old-time ship-building yard.

I’m not a pro, or even an amateur chocolate taster, but I do know what I like, and I like this chocolate very much. The words “craft” and “artisan” get sneered at these days, but this is a fine example of a craft food done right. It’s an excellent value as a gift or as a treat for yourself.

Do check out their website. It’s a great website with all kinds of information about their process and the chocolate makers. You can peruse or purchase this and other products, which include more single-origin bars, “inclusion” bars that have other ingredients like coconut or black fig, and drinking chocolate – including one made from this superb Belize.

About Gary Whitehouse

Gary has been reviewing music, books and more at the Green Man Review since sometime in the previous Millennium. He lives in a mostly hipster-free part of Oregon, where he enjoys dogs, books, music, the outdoors, and craft beer, cider, and coffee.