The “37 Chocolates” Recap

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Nashville-based maker Olive & Sinclair uses the prettiest wrappers.

If you’d like to follow in my chocolate footsteps, here is a list of the 37 chocolates I sampled as part of my challenge. Be warned, though, 37 is a bigger number than you think! A few facts about the challenge:

  • The challenge started in June 2015 and ended on October 31, 2015.
  • All of the chocolate featured as part of the challenge is made in the US.
  • My reviews featured a mix of grocery store and craft chocolate bars.
  • I decided very early on that I would not post negative reviews, so let’s just say I ate over 40 bars between June and October.
  • 17 of the 37 bars are made in California. This year, my goal is to sample more bars from non-California makers.
  • My most popular video is the one featuring the Mast Brothers Goat Milk Chocolate, thanks to the recent scandal brought to light by Dallas-based food blogger Scott.
  • All bars are made from bean-to-bar by chocolate-makers except for two, which are made by Chuao, a chocolatier. Unlike a chocolate-maker, who crafts his or her bars from cacao beans, a chocolatier works with chocolate that’s already been made called “couverture chocolate.”

Ready for the recap? You can watch my review of each chocolate by simply clicking on the name of each variety. Please leave a comment if you’d like to report a broken link, share tasting notes, or recommend some bars. Thanks and enjoy the reviews!

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LA-based maker LetterPress Chocolate customized the wrapper of the Ucuyali bar for my challenge.

The 37 Chocolates Recap

* marks a personal favorite

Introductory Video

#1: Theo, Dark Chocolate Salted Almond

  • Made in Seattle, Washington.
  • Find in the natural organic section of well-stocked supermarkets, at natural grocery stores, or order online.

#2: Endangered Species, 72% Dark Chocolate with Bluberries

  • Made in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Find in the natural organic section of well-stocked supermarkets. Target also carries some varieties.

#3: Ghirardelli, Midnight Dream, 60% Dark Chocolate

  • Made in San Francisco, California.
  • Find in the candy aisle of your grocery store. Note that not all stores carry the 60% bar which is my favorite dark chocolate by Ghirardelli.

#4: Scharffen Berger, 70% Bittersweet Dark Chocolate

  • Made in San Francisco, California
  • Find in the candy aisle of your grocery store or order online.

#5: Twenty-Four Blackbirds, Madagascar, 72% Dark Chocolate

#6: Woodblock Chocolate, Dark Milk Chocolate

#7: TCHO, 70% Ghana Chocolate

  • Made in Berkeley, California
  • Find in the natural and organic section of larger grocery stores (Wegman’s), World Market, and some natural and organic stores or order online.

#8: Acalli, 65% Dark Milk Chocolate with Nibs*

#9: Mast Brothers, Dark Goat Milk Chocolate

Please read this article on Quartz before considering purchasing Mast Brothers chocolate.

  • Made in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Find at select gourmet stores or order online.

#10: Woodblock Chocolate, Sea Salt and Nibs Dark Chocolate

#11: Taza, Vanilla 50% Dark Chocolate

  • Made in Sommersville, Massachusetts.
  • Find at natural and organic stores or order online.

#12: Olive and Sinclair, 75% Dark Chocolate*

  • Made in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Find at select Whole Foods Market and gourmet stores or order online.

#13: Nathan Miller, Buttermilk 55% Dark Chocolate*

#14: Scharffen Berger, Pistachio 72% Dark Chocolate (contains milk)

  • Made in San Francisco, California.
  • Find in the candy aisle of your grocery store or order online.

#15: TCHO, Cocoa, 53% Milk Chocolate*

  • Made in Berkeley, California.
  • Find in the natural and organic section of larger grocery stores (Wegman’s), World Market, and some natural and organic stores or order online.

#16: Potomac Chocolate, Cuyagua, 70% Dark Chocolate*

#17: Cacao Atlanta, Patanemo*

  • Made in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • The bar is sold out but you can check the current chocolate bar selection online here.

#18: Taza Cinnamon Disc, 50% Dark Chocolate

  • Made in Sommersville, Massachusetts.
  • Find at natural and organic stores or order online.

#19: Guittard Chocolate Chips, 55% Cacao*

#20 and 21: Mast Brothers, Cow Milk and Brooklyn Blend

Please read this article on Quartz before considering purchasing Mast Brothers chocolate.

  • Made in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Find at select gourmet stores or order online.

#22 and 23: Chuao, Salted Chocolate Crunch and Firecracker

  • Made in San Diego, California.
  • Find at larger grocery stores or order online. Target also carries some varieties.

#24: TCHO, Mokaccino, Milk Chocolate*

  • Made in Berkeley, California.
  • Find at the natural and organic section of larger grocery stores (Wegman’s), World Market, and some natural and organic stores or order online.

#25 and 26: Dick Taylor, Belize and Black Fig Bars*

#27, 28, and 29: Dandelion Chocolate Tasting Set – Mantuano, Venezuela, San Francisco de Macorís, Dominican Republic, and Ambanja, Madagascar*

#30: LetterPress Chocolate, Maranon Bar, 70% Dark Chocolate*

  • Made in Los Angeles, California.
  • Find at pop-up events in the Los Angeles area or order online.

#31: LetterPress Chocolate, Mystery Bar, 70% Dark Chocolate*

  • Made in Los Angeles, California.
  • Find at pop-up events in the Los Angeles area or order online.

#32: Violet Sky, Belize, 77% Dark Chocolate with Candied Lavender & Vanilla Dust*

#33, Violet Sky, Banana Split, White Chocolate

#34 and 35, Chocolate Alchemist, Clasico and Philly Blend*

#36 and 37, Map Chocolate, Dear Mr. Finley and Le Chocolat Chaud*

My Chocolate Plans for 2016

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A few wrappers of some of the bars I tried last year.

Happy new year, everyone, I hope January is already off a great, chocolate-y start! While 2015 has revealed my passion for craft chocolate, 2016 will be the year I will investing in said passion. Although I have learned a lot from  many makers last year, I have recently enrolled in the Chocolate Flavor 101 Class by Ecole Chocolat to learn more more about cacao production and chocolate flavor: have you ever wondered why chocolate tastes so different at different times of the day?

In 2016, also want to share my passion with more people. I have found the world of chocolate to be very intimidating to the non-initiated like I was was 6 months ago. In June of last year, I probably had the same questions you have had: why is craft chocolate so expensive? What is the big deal about single origin? Is my palate refined enough to perceive the “notes of hibiscus” mentioned on the chocolate wrapper?

60+ bars later, I now know that you should not worry about having a sophisticated palate to appreciate good chocolate and I am on a mission to convince you that appreciating craft chocolate is within everyone’s reach. How? Well, here’s the plan.

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A lovely bar by Map Chocolate

First, I will reopen my online craft chocolate shop this month. I will be carrying bars from two of my current favorite craft chocolate-makers: Map Chocolate will be back on my shelves, but I’ll be also welcoming a new maker just in time for Valentine’s Day. The selection process for these bars is simple. Are the flavors balanced? Does the chocolate give me chills? Also, do my friends like it? Yes, the bars do have to be made of ethically grown, organic cacao, but if the answer to all three previous questions is yes, into the shop they go!

let's meet

Next, I want to let you sample craft chocolate. Local Chester county friends can meet me from 2-4 at the Galer Estate winery in Kennett Square on Sunday, January 17th (this coming Sunday) to learn about my French book, using social media to promote your work, and my passion for chocolate. You’ll also meet Robert Campbell, Philadelphia’s only bean-to bar chocolate-maker, who will be there with his delicious chocolate bars  – wait until you try the Clasico! I hope to see many of you then but stay tuned for more chocolate-tasting dates. You can find more details here.

Finally, I’ll be sharing interviews with makers so they can share their answers to your questions on their chocolate-making process. Again, why is craft chocolate so expensive?!

2016 promises to be an exciting year and I hope you’ll follow me on this delicious ride.

Welcome!

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Photo: In The Eye Photography

Bonjour and welcome to the “37 Chocolates” blog! My name is Estelle Tracy, I am a chocolate addict, French food bloggerauthor, and social media strategist, and you may know me from the 37 Chocolates challenge. In June of 2015, I committed to sample 37 US-made chocolates by my 37th birthday on Halloween of that year. What started as a delicious excuse to eat a lot of chocolate turned out to be a life-changing journey that revealed my passion for craft chocolate and the people behind their bars. Needless to say, I have not stopped eating or reviewing chocolate.

The challenge was originally documented on my YouTube channel then promoted on Facebook and Instagram  (check #37chocolates.) My 2016 resolution is to gather all my reviews on this blog, as well as share interviews with chocolate-makers, feature new artisans, share my thoughts on the perfect chocolate bar size, and what makes a good chocolate-wrapper.

Until then, enjoy my introductory video dated June 2015 – note that I have learned to relax since.