I saw Ruth Reichl the other day. I seriously don't think I need to explain who she is, but for anybody who doesn't know, she's a former Los Angeles Times food editor, former New York Times restaurant critic, former editor in chief of Gourmet magazine and now an author, editor, and editorial advisor to the online site Gilt Taste.
Anyway, she'd just attended the Good Food Awards in San Francisco as a judge and speaker and brought a present to dinner: a plain-looking chocolate bar from Dandelion Chocolate in San Francisco.
I opened up the wrapper the other night and broke off one of the little squares. This stuff is incredible -- intense and velvety, very dark and deep, with brilliant fruit overtones. One little square is like fireworks going off in your mouth. This one was labeled 70% Sambirano Madagascar. They won for their 70% Costa Rica; after tasting this one, I wonder what that's like.
Says the package: "We roast, crack, sort, winnow, grind, conch and temper small batches of beans. Then we mold and package each of our bars by hand."
All their single-origin bars are just cocoa beans and sugar. Nothing else. "No added cocoa butter, lecithin, or vanilla." So what you taste is just the chocolate itself. It's sold in 2-ounce bars for $8; a gift set of three bars is $20.
Whoops, I'll have to wait a while. When I went to their Internet store, a message announces: "We’re sold out of bars at the moment. We’re hoping to have more available in the next week or two, so please check back then."
And soon you'll be able to stop by Dandelion's chocolate factory and cafe in San Francisco, opening in the next few months. That definitely is going on my to-do list for San Francisco.
If you're interested in learning more about chocolate, check out the Dandelion Chocolate blog or follow the chocolate makers on Twitter.
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Photo: Dandelion Chocolate Sambirano Madagascar bar. Credit: S. Irene Virbila/Los Angeles Times