I've never been to Shanghai, nor the exotic Sidama...but I have tasted a piece of their culture in these dark chocolate-toffee bars! Based in Maryland, Dear Coco crafts an array of small batch chocolates, truffles, and their new line of individually packaged toffee and dark chocolate bars. "Be transported by chocolate," could not speak more truly to these internationally-inspired delicacies.
Slowly unwrapping the package, like a long lost letter from a global traveler, the aroma of dark chocolate instantly awakens your senses. The Sidama bar smells of dark roasting coffee with burnt caramel toffee bits, flecked with Arabica dark roast beans from Buunni Coffee. Sidama, the birthplace for coffee in Ethiopia and my favorite Dear Coco bar, can easily replace any coffee lover's morning brew ritual.
My other favorite, Barcelona, emphasizes that coastal breeze off the Mediterranean, with generous crystals of sea salt. Almonds add another complex layer of flavor to the smooth dark chocolate. One I've yet to try, but am thoroughly intrigued, is the Chesapeake. An ode to Old Bay seasoning, that crabby seasoned salt which I shake into my bloody mary mix, is a unique ingredient to add to dark chocolate. The Oaxaca reminds me of infused hot chocolate in the winter: smoky peppers, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.
Winning multiple chocolate awards at the International Chocolate Salon 2014, I'm glad that Rachelle would experiment and play with chocolate in her spare time as a pastry chef, while gaining inspiration from her global travels. The bars are perfectly wrapped for gifting to a friend that has an adventurous, addictive chocolate habit, and she sells a sampler medley on her site too! Did I mention that my birthday is early October?
Available at Beacon Hill Chocolates, Boston, MA.