We've put together The Baseline bundle of five chocolate bars as a way to calibrate your palate. It offers chocolates from established chocolate companies that make chocolate with fine flavor cacao, as well as smaller craft chocolate companies that set a high bar for making chocolate from the bean. These bars are some of the best in the world, and they make a great baseline for tasting other chocolates. The exact bars and chocolate makers may change from time to time. These are some that are worthy of note right now. If you want to try a larger selection of bars, check out The Calibrator chocolate bundle.
The bundle comes with a Chocolopolis flavor wheel and a tasting note card to record your tasting notes.
The current selection includes:
Michel Cluizel Mokaya 66% (Mexico)
Cacao Hunters Tumaco 82% (Colombia)
Arete Beniano, Bolivia 70%
Escazu Patanemo, Venezuela 80%
Valrhona Manjari 64% (Madagascar)
Why did we put this bundle together? There's a lot of craft chocolate on the market these days. When we opened our doors in 2008 there were about seven American craft chocolate makers. As of early 2018 the US has approximately 200 small-batch chocolate makers, not to mention a similar number internationally. When it comes time to shop for chocolate, there are so many options. How do you choose?
We evaluate a lot of chocolate samples that are sent to us from chocolate makers around the globe. When we add a chocolate to our collection, it must have a pleasant and complex flavor profile that changes as the chocolate melts in our mouths. While we enjoy the red fruit notes of Madagascar, we don't want to taste acids from fermentation that should have been roasted out of the bean during the chocolate making process. All chocolate should have a "chocolate" note, but not all chocolate does. The texture should be smooth and creamy, not chalky, goopy or grainy/crumbly (unless it is an unrefined chocolate that is crumbly on purpose).
The chocolates in The Baseline are ones that we think demonstrate qualities of excellence that allow you to calibrate your palate for evaluating other chocolates.