Indulge yourself in these handcrafted organic chocolate picks from Matt Caputo (free shipping at caputos.com).
From this Utah-based maker, Caputo recommends trying both the 70 percent Kilombero (sourced in Tanzania) and 70 percent Palos Blancos (from Bolivia). “The recipes for these are basically the same, and they use the same sugar, cacao butter and equipment, but they taste so different—which really helps showcase the terroir and sense of place of the cacao.” The Tanzanian bean features more fruit and some acidity, while the Bolivian option has notes of baked bread, woods and caramel.
For its Forager Collection Kefir Probiotic Milk Chocolate 57 percent bar, this Lithuania-based brand uses homemade milk powder flakes with freeze-dried kefir, thereby infusing the confection with several strains of bacteria and lactic acid, as well as live probiotics. Mixed with cacao from Venezuela and Madagascar, the result is a milk chocolate that “is also exciting for a dark chocolate geek or a dairy and cheese fan.”
Considered “chocolate royalty,” farmer Bertil Akesson’s Madagascar estate produces cacao used by many of the top chocolatiers in the world. But he saves some of the best stuff for his house brand, which is handcrafted in France. Many of his bars feature unique inclusions; a standout is the Bejofo Estate 75 percent Chocolate with Wild Voatsiperifery Pepper, an indigenous pepper found in the canopies above the cacao trees. “It’s a celebration of ‘what grows together, goes together,’” says Caputo.
Crafted in Switzerland by what Caputo dubs “a world-class maker,” the Zoque 88 percent bar is based on beans grown in Tabasco, Mexico, and contains very little sugar. “Something this dark can often be challenging for the palate, but this has so much flavor,” including tropical notes like coconut and lychee. Sales of this bar help support the traditions and animals of the local Zoque and Tzotzil tribes.