chocolate review

Casa del Chocolate – Varadero, Cuba 

Every chocolate I’ve ever tasted comes with a story.  This is no exception.

I found chocolate in Cuba! And what an extraordinary experience for me. Born in the mid-sixties in the U.S., everything Cuba has been off limits for my entire life.

Last month I traveled to Cuba with my husband and other alumni from our alma mater, Carroll University. We had a packed itinerary focusing on cultural and educational activities. Our People to People experience was equal parts eye opening and heart opening.

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Mast Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Chocolate

Some gifts are better than others. For me, the best gifts I receive are consumable; chocolate, wine, chocolate. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be food. Could be anti-wrinkle, anti-aging, antioxidant facial serum. Just saying!

Hands down, the best gift to receive (and give!) is chocolate. Recently, my brother gave me a gift of some chocolate bars from Mast Brothers. He knows what I like!

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Pacari Dark Chocolate – Cuzco Pink Salt & Nibs

Chocolate made from Ecuadorian cacao is among my favorites. This 60% dark chocolate bar with sea salt and nibs is made with 100% Ecuadorian cacao. Ecuador is home to the native Arriba Nacional, a very fine and flavorful cacao.  This bar doesn’t disappoint!

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Madécasse – Sea Salt & Nibs Dark Chocolate

Madécasse, pronounced Mah-day-kas, is an old French word for Madagascar.

Madécasse uses Heirloom cacao to make their Madagascar origin chocolate. According to their website,,  “…it is some of earth’s original genetic variety of cocoa that has remained untouched for hundreds of years and is found in only a few places in the world”.

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Tabal Bolivia – Bolivian Single Source Cacao Bar

Today’s chocolate comes from a company located in my old stomping grounds where I grew up – Wauwatosa, WI. I lived on 73rd and Center and spent countless hours riding my bike around town. North Avenue was the longest, busiest street, and it had everything. There was Tosa Variety, the penny candy store, A&P grocery (and then a Kohl’s Food Store). I bought all my hamsters at Wisconsin Garden and Pet. I remember eating the most delicious bakery at Hartter’s with my Dad on Sunday morning.

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Amedei Tuscany Madagascar 70%

My third and final review of a chocolate purchased from the World of Chocolate Museum and Café in Orlando, Florida is a single origin “Cru” from Amedei Tuscany. The bar is a 70% dark chocolate made from beans grown in Madagascar.

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Domori Chocolate – 90% Dark Criollo

Last week I reviewed a milk chocolate, Zotter’s Labooko Nicaragua 50%, that I purchased from the World of Chocolate Café and Museum in Orlando, Florida. I also purchased today’s selection from there. I’m going from the extreme milk chocolate experience to the extreme dark chocolate experience – today’s review is a 90% dark from Domori.

As opposite as these two bars seem, there is something they have in common. They are both rated as “made from a top rated chocolate manufacturer” according to author and taste tester G. Bernardini.

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Labooko Nicaragua 50% Milk Chocolate

Zotter Chocolate,, might be on to something...

In 2012, the Labooko Nicaragua 50% Milk Chocolate bar was rated the “best milk chocolate in the world”! Professional taste tester and author, Georg Bernardini, tasted over 2,700 chocolates doing research for his book “Der Schokoladentester” (“The Chocolate Tester”) and declared this to be so. It took him two years to complete the book.

In addition to pronouncing Labooko Nicaragua the best milk chocolate, he also rated Zotter chocolate company as one of the best chocolate makers in the world.

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Karamell-Küche – Dark Chocolate Caramel

Karamell-Küche, the “Caramel Kitchen”, in the Germany Pavilion at Disney World’s Epcot, is full of caramel candies and desserts. These treats are freshly made on-site from the famous Werther’s brand recipes.

Sitting in the shop, looking lonely, and calling my name is a Dark Chocolate Caramel with Sea Salt. This caramel is as big as the palm of my hand and two fingers thick! It looks like it could be a small cake but it’s a solid block of caramel coated in dark chocolate.

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Ample Hills Creamery – Dark Chocolate

We’re walking along Disney’s BoardWalk and Alan whispers in my ear, “Do you want to taste the best ice cream in the world?” I really want to answer with a sarcastic, “Duh...” but I don’t. Instead I just nod a lot and start to drool. Conditioned response to the words “ice cream”!

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