Thursday, November 29, 2007
I first read about Steve DeVries in Mort Rosenblum's engaging book Chocolate. Rosenblum chronicles DeVries' obsessive search for the best cacao beans and his hands on approach to every step of the chocolate making process. At the time the book came out, there were no on-line sales of DeVries chocolates, but now there are.
DeVries sells two varieties of chocolate, Costa Rican and Dominican, at three different percentages, 77%, 80% and 84%. I recently sampled a variety of his product and found it to be excellent. The only ingredients in these bars are cacao and sugar. He leaves out vanilla, which is often added to dark chocolate to lift or lighten the flavor...so this is hardcore stuff.
The Costa Rican chocolate is a bit more tangy and acidic, reminding me of red wine. The Dominican varieties were my favorite. They had a smooth, almost creamy taste and a deep earthy feature. The Costa Rican, with its complexity, appealed to my head, but the deep flavors of the Dominican appealed to my heart.
Probably my favorite DeVries product, though, are the carmelized cocoa nib clusters. These addictive nuggets, pictured above, are nickel sized dollops of DeVries' 77% Costa Rican chocolate topped with carmelized cocoa nibs (nibs are roasted cocoa bean pieces). The little discs are a handy snack and not a bad pick-me up either. At under $5.00 a bag, they would make a great stocking stuffer or Chanukah gift.
DeVries chocolate is available through their website.