Jade chocolates caught our attention when they qualified as a finalist at the Good Food Awards tasting we attended. These chocolatiers focus on "blending teas and spices from Asia and the Pacific Islands into chocolates," and their product line delivers assertively on that promise.
The bars are artfully wrapped in rustic paper, which we can easily believe is hand made, befitting an inspired Asian gift. The flavors range from teas to rice to the exotic "dragon's breath." Bars are named for the regions that inspired them including our favorite, Krakatoa, a Survivor-team-name-in-waiting if we've ever heard one.
Krakatoa -- named for the volcanic Indonesian island -- is the bar we kept going back to for one more taste. It's 63% cacao with black pepper and lemongrass. The initial flavor is like dark chocolate liberally sprinkled with black pepper. The notes of pepper hit first: assertive,earthy, dry and dusty. Then the smooth richness of the chocolate follows with a modest hint of lemongrass.
There's a bit of crunch to the bar, as if the black pepper was ground coarsely, which adds a textual element we appreciate and often miss in infused bars. The pepper notes return at the end to leave a toasted, warming finish. It's an almost savory approach to sweet, which delivers a refreshing flavor out of the normal spectrum in chocolate
Jade bars are about $6 and available online, and at Chocolate Covered, Fleur't, Harvest Urban Market, Rainbow and other locations listed here.
Contact Ben Narisin at email@example.com . Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.