The 70% Solution: Tasting Notes on Theo Costa Rican Dark Chocolate
Ben Calderwood Into the night: 91% theobroma cacao
The chocolate valet returns with a distinctive ultra-dark bar from niche producer Theo of Seattle, Washington, originator of domestically manufactured fair trade chocolate.
Producer: Theo, Seattle.
Bean: Costa Rican single-origin.
Content: 91% cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla. No added lecithin.
Notes: Small-batch Pac-Northwest chocolatier Theo (borrowed from Theobroma Cacao, the taxonomic Latin for the cacao tree), pioneered sustainable, organic and fair trade cacao long before it was fashionable, slinging connoisseur beans, bars and finished chocolate confections from a historic brick warehouse/factory a short walk from the Lake Washington Canal. Theo's chocolate intelligence produces clever "fantasy flavors" like Bread and Chocolate (with toasted artisan crumbs and salt), the rare milk bar that can please even the most zealous dark choc fans and profound single-origin pieces that are the domain of the 70% Solution.
Checking in at a staggering 21 points over minimum, Theo's 91% Costa Rican--every ingredient certified organic, the cacao organic and fair trade--is a merciless, obsidian thing. You'll taste charred oak, roasted nuts and peat, the tannic hallmarks of a cosseted, carefully roasted and conched bean delivered at near full power. Ripe wine, red berry and cream notes bloom on the tail when the sugar and vanilla finally manage to set them aloft. Texture is smooth and a bit leaden, characteristic of high-percentage bars. Unapologetic and outstanding. Find numerous varieties of Theo at Whole Foods markets across Southern California.