Chocolate Roundup #6: Please Pass the Salt

Time for another chocolate roundup!  It’s been a few months since the last in the series, but by no means have those months been chocolate-free.  There were my chocolate finds in London, a true chocolate gem in Switzerland, a New York City inspired chocolate creation of my own and endless tastes along the way.  And now, time to share a few of the latter.

A previous theme (more than once) and still current favorite of mine is dark chocolate and salt.  It’s not a trend that will fade with time; it is simply a natural pairing and classic combination.  Bakers may add extra salt to their recipes to bring out the flavor of sweet ingredients, as in chocolate chip cookies or cakes – the overall effect being flavorful, not salty.  Whenever I see salt as a featured ingredient of a chocolate bar, my eyes open wide, and I usually end up grabbing it. Here are just a few of the many I have tasted lately.  Anyone else a big fan of chocolate with salt ?  Or have another fetish ingredient ?

ChocoLate OrgánikoTaza Chocolate

First up is ChocoLate Orgániko from Spain, a brand I discovered here in Zürich (at Globus) for their simple, yet sleek packaging. I love the design – the logo and bright colors totally caught my eye.  Their white chocolate bar with letters in a rainbow of colors on a white background, saying “for children from 0 to 90 years old” is pure fun. Too bad I don’t like white chocolate though. And too bad the rest of their line is not available here, as I would love to taste the bars made with Ethiopian coffee, green anise, or honey and almonds. But thankfully their 70% dark chocolate with salt from Ibiza is always here. It has an attractive sheen and a really excellent snap. It’s a tad bitter, but works nicely with the salt, which is clearly visible on the bottom of the bar. Definitely one I will continue to get again. And again.

ChocoLate OrgánikoChocoLate OrgánikoChocoLate OrgánikoChocoLate Orgániko

Another organic dark chocolate that does not do salt in a subtle way is Salazon, the name itself meaning “salted” in Spanish. But this chocolate is made in the United States, in small batches, using sea salt harvested off the coast of South America. The bars themselves are beautiful, with a replica of the photograph shown on the packaging, of Asian salt farmers at work. There are just three bars in the lineup, and I had a very difficult time deciding whether I preferred the classic bar of dark chocolate and salt, or the one with Turbinado cane sugar too. I’m still not sure in fact.  (I might have to get them both again to compare again!) I enjoyed the very thick, unscored, excellent quality chocolate. I may go with the cane sugar as my preference, as you get a strong hit of every taste – bitter, salty and sweet, with an added crunch. The third bar of the collection may even bring more balance with the addition of black pepper, but as I hardly use pepper in savory cooking, I certainly don’t want any in my chocolate. Oh, and I love their motto, which I seem to be following quite well so far: “Roam the Earth. Eat Chocolate.”

Salazon ChocolateSalazon ChocolateSalazon ChocolateSalazon Chocolate

Also made in the United States, Taza is artisan, Mexican-style chocolate (for eating and drinking), whose “stone ground chocolate” labels I first spotted at my favorite shop when living in Boston years ago, Formaggio Kitchen.  But only recently did I discover their Mexicano discs, with a real rustic appearance and texture. Thick and somewhat softer than other bars, they have a coarse texture as you can see below, and crumbly when you taste it.  (Somewhat reminiscent of Enric Rovira’s Rajole bars.) I had the salted almond disc, which was super sweet but balanced nicely by the kosher salt, yet I didn’t find the roasted almond notes to be as intense as they are intended to be. Still a great bar, original in all ways, and I hope to try their other flavors, especially the one with coffee too. There is a ton of information, recipes and more products on their website, and they even do tours of their factory in Somerville, Massachusetts – all worth checking out.

Taza ChocolateTaza ChocolateTaza ChocolateTaza Chocolate

Keeping with the theme of salt and nuts too, next up is actually milk chocolate. Peanuts, salt and chocolate.  What’s not to like?  I ignored the milk factor and went for it.  And I am oh so glad I did. Not normally a big fan of Green & Black’s chocolate, this bar is sweet, creamy and addictive.  Perhaps more confection than high quality chocolate, it was a nice change from the usual dark bars I eat.  I had actually customized my own chocolate bar with salt and roasted, caramelized almonds, like New York City’s Nuts 4 Nuts, but found the nuts too hard and the salt not distributed evenly. This G&B bar gets the balance of flavors and textures right.

Green & BlackGreen & BlackGreen & BlackGreen & Black

And last but not least, a bonus bar for this October roundup.  What’s in season in Switzerland now ?  And what’s keeping me busy in the kitchen ? Pumpkins !  There are still a few left from the 19 varieties I brought back from a nearby farm, as well as a small piece of a certain chocolate bar… made with pumpkin too ! It’s actually a bar with a marzipan filling, made with almonds and pumpkin seeds, a dense, chewy and sweet confection coated in dark chocolate.  This bar by Josef Hochleitner in Austria came my way via Berlin — danke fellow cookie lover, Anne of Kekstester ! She was so right, I definitely would have grabbed it myself had I seen it at the market there.  (Love those Berlin markets !)  The bar had a very homemade feel to it, if a bit greasy, a strong almond flavor and distinct seed aroma.

Kürbiskernmarzipan (pumpkin seed)Kürbiskernmarzipan (pumpkin seed)Kürbiskernmarzipan (pumpkin seed)Kürbiskernmarzipan (pumpkin seed)

So what chocolate have you tried lately? Can’t wait to hear…

Until it’s time for chocolate roundup #7, here are the first five to keep your taste buds busy:
Chocolate Roundup #1: Croatia, USA, Austria, Switzerland
Chocolate Roundup #2: Switzerland, Spain, Italy
Chocolate Roundup #3: France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland
Chocolate Roundup #4: Caramel & Salt
Chocolate Roundup #5: France, Belgium, Switzerland, USA

24 Responses to “Chocolate Roundup #6: Please Pass the Salt”

  1. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday says:

    Do you have an all time favourite chocolate?

  2. El says:

    What a great way to start the day–looking at chocolate! Nice to see you feature a New England chocolate. I’ll have to tweet this. Great post!

  3. Rosa says:

    An interesting collection of chocolates!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  4. Kerrin says:

    Samantha, an all time favorite chocolate ? Oooh, tough question. But a few definitely come to mind. Felchlin 65% Maracaibo, Lindt Noir Fleur de Sel, Franck Kestener’s dark chocolate/sablé/caramel/salt bar and Bernachon’s Kalouga salted caramel bar. Mmm, those have been definite favorites for a long time and I doubt that will ever change. What about you ??

    El, an even better way to start the day – *have* some chocolate ! 😉 Thanks for your comment and retweeting the post. I have wonderful (and delicious) memories of New England for sure…

  5. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    Pass the salt AND pepper, it seems. Great little selection of chocolates yet again. Some amazing finds that sure are unique for many of your readers. Well, they are for me. Can’t believe the marzipan and pumpkin seed filling chocolate. Now that’s certainly a new one for me. I would be happy to sample any of these. The more I have of salted chocolate, the more I want it. Especially now. Big intense storm is passing over Brisbane. Has woken me up and I could quite fancy munching on any bar of these beauties as I watch the storm pass over. Now that’s an idea. Where did I stash my loot????? 🙂

  6. Emma says:

    Taza was one of my selections when I visited Formaggio Kitchen per your recommendation. I chose the yerba mate, which was ulttrrrrrra delicious, and I’ve since had the vanilla bean and the salted almond… mmmm. I agree though, the flavors are muted, and the yerba mate didn’t really taste much different than the salted almond. I’m okay with that though, since I love that sugary crunch!

    And Salazon. Hmm, I guess I’m still not that into them. I feel like I saw a fourth kind a few weeks ago when I was in Portland, but I can’t find anything about that online now, so I clearly must have dreamed it. Not hard to understand though, considering that at that moment I was salivating over the Taza discs that I would be buying in place of any Salazon bar!

    Pumpkins, wow! Looks delicious. Greasy? Sounds more delicious! Hah.

  7. Jack says:

    Nice collection of chocolate Kerrin! Really interesting to see the explosion of creativity with chocolate these days…pumpkin marzipan?

  8. jen laceda says:

    I love this series, Kerrin! And that pumpkin chocolate….looks yummy!

  9. Kelleyn says:

    I don’t know how you don’t way a gazillion pounds. I hope you have a good set of stairs in your building. The Pumpkin and Marzipan looks very interesting. Too bad we don’t have it here. My new recent try is a lavender and blueberry chocolate by Dagoba. It is very relaxing!

  10. Kerrin says:

    Julia, I totally agree – the only thing about these amazing salted chocolates, are how addictive they are. They make you crave more. Very dangerous. Hope that storm passed over you fast, quietly too, and instead of searching for your loot, you got a good night sleep ! Chocolate for breakfast the next day then… ! 🙂

    Emma, you are a Taza pro, you know their products much better than I do. I’ve got my eye on the coffee disk, I love coffee in chocolate. Also saw they have all sorts of chocolate covered nuts that look good. But I’m not big on savory and sweet together, like you are. Too bad you didn’t love the Salazon though. I rather liked it.

    Jack, pumpkin marzipan, yup ! There are definitely no limits for culinary creativity lately. Sometimes it gets a bit crazy (and gross), but other times, luckily, it works.

    jen, yay, so glad you love it ! I’m sure you’ve got a little chocolate stash chez toi. Let’s hear it ! 😉

    Kelleyn, no stairs – just a whoooole lot of running, swimming, hiking, tennis… you name it ! 🙂 They eat well in Switzerland, but they sure do stay active too. Perfect for me ! Thanks for sharing your latest find, I liked Dagoba when I was in the States, remember eating a few of their bars with different berries and seeds. Great choice !

  11. Lucie says:

    The Green & Black’s bar sounds like something I wouldn’t be able to get my hands off of. These days I’ve been munching on dark chocolate with sesame seeds…the toasted taste of the seeds is great with the depth of the chocolate!

  12. Jamie says:

    Roam the Earth. Eat Chocolate. Indeed! What gorgeous bars, truly stunning aesthetically. And I love chocolate and salt, love it. You now have me slipping on my shoes to go out and search some out in the chocolate and specialty shops in Nantes. Vincent Guerlais just opened a shop at the market near my house and I stare at the chocolate-covered salted caramel bars everyday. Great round up, darling!

  13. Lani says:

    Thank you for my chocolate fix and no calories attached! My latest chocolate taste is Toberone….this still stands as one of my all time favorites!! Available all over the place but still fabulous. I would certainly love to try the bar you talked about made with pumpkin and the Mexicano! Yes, I would love to roam the earth tasting chocolates! When do we leave?????

  14. elra says:

    Hi Kerrin, it’s my first time here and am so intrigued by the name you chose for your blog. Kugelhopf is one of my favorite treat 🙂 I also notice that you’ve traveled to Bali a lot, as Balinese myself, that make me proud. Thank you !

    there is something about chocolate that most people can’t resist, including me.

  15. Kerrin says:

    Lucie, yes it is indeed difficult to put that G&B bar down, trust me. 😉 Dark chocolate with toasted sesame seeds sounds fantastic. I had dark chocolate with sesame seeds once before, a Monoprix brand bar from Paris with dried cherries in it too I think. It was awfully good. What brand is your bar ? I’d love to try.

    Jamie, thanks ! Glad I got you eating chocolate earlier today – even before lunch, oops. 😉 And how did your sweet outing go in Nantes ? What is this about you staring at those chocolate covered salted caramel bars ?? Didn’t your mother ever teach you not to stare ? haha ! Grab them – and eat them instead !

    Lani, yes absolutely – Toblerone, I didn’t even mention it as a favorite of mine, since it’s in its own category. Toblerone original, the very best ! And irresistible straight from the freezer. Try it !

    elra, I’m so glad you’ve discovered MyKugelhopf, welcome ! 🙂 And yes, we were in Bali early 2009, what a beautiful place. So fun that you found my posts on my trip there. Mmm, I am just thinking of all those amazing exotic fruits ! I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog too, lots of sweet recipes that already caught my eye. Pumpkin challah ? Thanks again !

  16. Marlen says:

    Hi Kerrin, I hope it’s ok if I “cross over to the cookie corner”. Just recently returned from a wonderful vacation in California, your mentioning of the combination chocolate/salt reminded me of the Brown Butter Sea Salt cookies we discovered in the little beach town of Cayucos. The cocoa cookies are most delicious, and I just couldn’t get enough of the espresso ones (not on their website yet), yum.

  17. Kerrin says:

    Hi Marlen ! It’s always okay to talk cookies here 🙂 Especially when they are brown butter sea salt cookies from California, wow, that sounds fantastic ! And espresso cookies, you just mentioned all my favorite flavors right there. What is the website ? I’d love to check it out, and then ask them to ship us some to Zürich !

  18. valentina says:

    Kerrin, the idea of the one with pumpkin just got me curious. Every time i read your write ups I learn so much about chocolate. I have not yet tried any with salt. Haven’t looked hard enough. As years go by I like my chocolate dark. every so often my weakness for whilte chocolate hits me and I buy a reallly crappy bar and eat it like a kid. full of pleasure.; o )

  19. Marlen says:

    Hi Kerrin, here’s the website for the cookies: http://www.brownbuttercookies.com – 4 boxes (containing a dozen cookies each) were in my hand luggage coming back to Switzerland… I took some cookies to work and they got rave reviews.

  20. Kerrin says:

    valentina, oooh you definitely have to try dark chocolate with salt then. It is a whole new taste experience, you’ll see. And nothing wrong with eating that white chocolate – especially nothing wrong with feeling like a kid again. That is the best feeling ever !

    Marlen, thanks for sharing the website. Those cookies really do look amazing. Only, I think I’ll be waiting for those espresso ones like you, that would be my favorite. Your colleagues are very lucky ! 😉

  21. Sibyl says:

    Kerrin – sounds like salazon is my kind of chocolate. You know I like it really salty. Can you get it in Zurich?

  22. Kerrin says:

    Sibyl, yes definitely – this theme was for you ! 🙂 You should try the first bar up top, the Spanish one, it’s at Globus and Jelmoli too I think. Not too sweet. Salazon isn’t available on this side of the ocean just yet. I’ll have to make a special request for a future care package from NYC… ! =)

  23. Alexandra says:

    These bars look delightful. I have noticed using sea salt and chocolate is in vogue right now. My current favorites are the sea salt caramels from an Asheville chocolate shop, The Chocolate Fetish. They ship. http://www.chocolatefetish.com

  24. Silvia says:

    I also loved the ChocoLate Organiko bar… and I also discovered it in Globus. You’ve just reminded me that I have to get it again!

    While I normally stear clear of white chocolate (as always, exceptions are always possible), my favourite of the G&B chocolates I’ve tried so far is their white one.

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