Chocolate is universally loved by many but dark chocolate is the most under appreciated decadent indulgence in the world. As a die-hard confirmed milk chocolate lover for decades (yes, hard to admit but true), I didn’t know what I was missing. Friends would insist that acquiring a taste for dark chocolate was like acquiring a taste for good wine and that I should give dark chocolate a chance. So, I did and gradually I fell in love….truly, madly, deeply in love with dark chocolate.
The problem with dark chocolate – like wine – is that as one’s tastes awaken and evolve, one’s appetite grows. A Dove dark chocolate square may have tasted delicious a few years ago but today, it tastes like a glorified piece of milk chocolate. Those aluminum paper wrapped commercially prepared dark chocolate squares with additives will simply not do anymore. The end game is with bean-to-bar chocolatiers and even within this category there are mediocre, good, great, excellent, superior, and downright decadent chocolatiers. Rogue Chocolatier falls into the downright decadent category with no competitor in sight.
Based in Three Rivers, Massachusetts, Rogue Chocolatier was started by Colin Gasko, a 30-ish guy obsessed with making dark chocolate. He sources, sorts, and roasts the beans. Then, he removes the hulls from the seeds of the beans, and then grounds the cocoa with pure cane sugar before conching (which is like mixing) the dark chocolate. The whole process can take more than a month with the outcome smooth 2.12 ounce dark chocolate bars without imprints, ornamentation, or design. In an industry where more is often prized, Gasko chose restraint to keep the focus on the flavor which is unlike any other dark chocolate on the market.
Throughout the year, Rogue Chocolatier offers various bars which are named after the bean or the farm in which the cocoa was sourced. For instance, the Tranquilidad 75% is made from cocoa beans sourced from a 850 acre farm in the Bolivian Amazon Basin called Hacienda Tranquilidad where the Beniano cocoa bean variety is grown. The trees are left to grow producing tiny pods that are cracked so that the cocoa can be fermented for four days and then sun dried for another four days before the transformation begins. The result is nothing short of smooth, dark, fruity, and floral dark chocolate that melts on your tongue and sends messages of pure joy to your brain.
At $16 a bar, Tranquilidad is expensive and clearly for those who prefer the best. But, guess what? Tranquilidad 75% is sold out, unavailable…so what is a dark chocolate connoisseur or aficionado to do?
There are two ways to obtain Rogue Chocolatier dark chocolate bars. Keep checking the website to see if bars are available and if they are, purchase right away because they sell out in days if not hours. The second way is to buy a share of Community Supported Chocolate Share for $333 for which you will receive 20 bars over the next three years along with an option to purchase future batches 48 hours before the bars are made available to the public. See www.roguechocolatier.com for more information.