Scharffen Berger Chocolate
Page 6: Review of Chocolate Bars
The roster of Scharffen Berger chocolate bars has remained virtually unchanged since the acquisition by Hershey, but for the addition of a 41% milk chocolate bar with nibs and another 41% milk bar with roasted almonds (and the changing inventory of Limited Series bars).
Milk 41% Chocolate Bar. A dark milk chocolate bar (meaning milk chocolate with a high percentage of cacao—most milk chocolate bars are 30%-35% cacao), this smooth-textured, charming bar possesses excellent chocolate flavor with caramel tones and an extreme fruitiness in the background.
Semisweet 62% Chocolate Bar. Soft and extremely “pink” in flavor, this is a chocolate painted in pastels,* its red fruits blended with brown sugar and sweet spice. It delivers a very warm and cozy flavor that speaks with a softer voice than the higher percentage bars.
*Pastel means that the flavor is a subdued version of a “regular” hue. Instead of bright red fruits like cherry and strawberry, the fruit flavors are “pink.”
Bittersweet 70% Chocolate Bar. Pleasantly sharp and cherry-oriented in flavor, this chocolate has a great intensity level and lingering tartness that leaves the mouth watering once it’s gone. It’s probably the least complex of the dark bars, but it is delicious and approachable.
Photo: Note the darkness of the 41% milk chocolate compared to the 70% dark chocolate.
Extra Dark 82% Chocolate Bar. Although this is Scharffen Berger’s most intense bar, anyone who wants to try a high-percentage cacao bar can probably handle it. For an 80%-level bar, the perceived sweetness of the cacao compensates for the lack of sugar. The slightly raw and green flavor undertones provide an intriguing accompaniment to the dominant cherry and grape notes. Like the 70% bar, it remains accessible—and much more complex than the 70%. There’s much less sugar, but more cocoa butter (read: heart-healthy fat).
Mocha 62% Chocolate Bar. Although we’ve tried tons of coffee-flavored chocolate bars, we’re hard pressed to find two that are made in the same style to merit comparison. Scharffen Berger adds ground Sumatran coffee into its subtle 62% dark chocolate to produce a refreshing coffee flavor with a chewy textural dimension—one that is better-suited to the teeth than bars made with crushed coffee beans. Each bite releases strong blasts of fresh coffee flavor that never overwhelm. Like every other bar in the company’s repertoire, Mocha 62% is well balanced. Here, the coffee brings out the inherent sweetness of the chocolate.
Milk Nibby 41% Chocolate Bar. Cacao nibs are often added to dark chocolate bars, but this time milk chocolate is the lucky recipient. Strong and forthright, this is the ultimate dark milk bar, as the nibs are in abundance and contribute intense bursts of chocolaty flavor to contrast with the milky, caramel tones.
Nibby 62% Semisweet Chocolate Bar. With this variation of its 62% semisweet bar, Scharffen Berger has hit another home run. The unflavored “pastel” bar is loaded with cacao nibs that add considerable chocolatey heft. They also provide a delightful texture: Each bite is jam-packed with nibs. Fruity, too, the nibs provide additional hits of slightly sharp flavor.
Photo: The reverse side of a dark chocolate Nibby bar shows the chocolate packed full of tasty, crunchy cacao nibs.
Milk Almond 41% Chocolate Bar. This bar boasts awesome nuttiness from the finely-chopped almonds, which have been roasted and seasoned with sea salt. Chocolate, almonds and sea salt are a dynamite combination! The milk chocolate is strong, too, and barely sweet, conveying plenty of chocolatey punch in each bite. Chocolate and nuts explode on the tongue, with a moderate caramel flavor to boot. The saltiness lingers in the background, coming forward on the finish. This bar provides a wonderful interplay of flavors and sensations.
Special Edition Bars
Antilles 75% Chocolate Bar. The ninth bar in Scharffen Berger’s Limited Series line, Antilles is a blend of four origins: Dominican Republic, Grenada, Trinidad and the northern coast of Venezuela. This Caribbean-dominated blend is an explosive, vibrant chocolate with a dizzying complexity delivering jasmine, mango and melon flavors with raspberries at the top; the flavor darkens and turns into plums the more the chocolate melts in the mouth. It’s fantastic chocolate all around, quite possibly one of Scharffen Berger’s best bars ever.
Finisterra 72% 10th Anniversary Limited Series Blend Chocolate Bar. Scharffen Berger celebrates its 10th year with Finisterra, a blend of beans from Madagascar, Trinidad and Venezuela. While complex, it’s amazingly subtle. Banana, plum and rum notes strum along in the background like a bass guitar. Woody in the finish, with tea lingering, the chocolate is a deep investigation into the complexities possible through blending.
There’s a wealth to choose from at Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker. You can experience all the bars in a reasonable period of time without being overwhelmed. Then, move on to the nibs!
*Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional. These items are offered by a third party and THE NIBBLE has no relationship with them. This link to purchase is provided as a reader convenience.
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