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Recent Reviews

Confection Bar Collection:
Capuaçu
Dark Milk
Chocolate ao Leite
+ multi-Brancos by Luisa Abram

One of the most important figures in modern architecture, Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer pioneered the use of reinforced concrete. His buildings feature smooth curves quite distinct from those of his more utilitarian contemporaries. Think of those remarkable works in the creation of Brazil's capital, Brasília, including his design for the Presidential Palace & the cathedral (power goes hand in hand). These bars rely on tried ‘n true formulations but executed in creative ways for some distinct flavors. Luisa Abram… the Niemeyer of chocolate?**************************************************************** FULL DISCLOSURE: the C-spot™ holds a vested interest in this venture. These bars therefore are unrated.

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Rio Tocantins by Luisa Abram

Headlines blare that the govt of Brazil actually favors... no, it encourages... moreover incentivizes deforestation. Here's a company striving to do something constructive in a preservation mode instead of not doing a damn thing but talking, tweeting & twitching about it. OMG, so trending right now. The outrage. Evil shaders. (This site -- the C-spot™ -- pleads the 5th.)Wild-harvested cacáo from the deep removes of Amazônia -- the largest rainforest on Earth. Threatened from all directions; get it before the powers-that-be bulldoze the bounty. Hopefully the locals who picked these pods will get some too. And why not... included now among the accessories of “Uncontacted” peoples in the Amazonian jungle are bows ‘n arrows + iPhones! No doubt a spot where drone deliveries prove convenient, perhaps even for chocolate like this. Hey, it’s their cacáo, afterall, that went into these bars.**************************************************************** FULL DISCLOSURE: the C-spot™ holds a vested interest in this venture. These bars therefore are unrated.

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Galapagos by TO'aK

During a recent State Dept parley, the representative from the Côte d'Ivoire embassy corrected the roundtable in stating that cocoa farming IS NOT hard work. Coffee picking, yes, a back-breaking bitch. Cocoa by comparison "is easy". Good to know; case closed. Enriching that poor farmer... well, that's tougher. Even those with their mug shots on premium-priced artisan chocolate wrappers or bars named eponymously after them still toil for meager means. 20+ years on & the best the craft chocolate retro-revolution can do is maybe send the next generation in Latin America to school where, once armed with some kind of diploma, the grown kids won't in all likelihood return home to enter the family biz. In Africa, the main cocoa producer in the world, prospects are dimmer still since fewer children have much schooling at all. Nonetheless, they too probably won't stick around to pluck cacáo pods off trees when opportunities abound in nearby cities. Enter To'ak into the conundrum. This imprint boldly ventured where none had before. The audacity to charge $300 to $500 per bar to redress the manifold ESG issues plaguing the space. The brand's teak box & tongs to handle the precious delights within so nothing, not even the buyer's...

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Piedra de Plata -- Matured by To'ak

REDUX REVIEW -- below are segments of TO'aK's Píedra de Plata -- Matured cocoa & chocolate, first reviewed in 2018, followed by updates in 2020. The rating & metrics (upper right) are a composite average.************************************* Lest anyone think chocolate immature kids stuff, take heed... After collecting HCP Heirloom Designation IX, what could the world’s most expensive chocolate perform for an encore? Something more elaborate of course. Aging chocolate. A subject of anecdotes & theories but no empirical data. Seizing on a piece written by the C-spot™ in 2011, To’ak puts it to the test. Not for a couple weeks or even a few months, but years.... It coincided with this site's own aging program which went up, literally, in flames hot enough to dry every tear that loss caused. Thankfully theirs came to fruition.To'ak ventures far outside the lab to come back deeper into it. The company enrolls university science departments for tantamount to a multi-phase clinical trial. No expense, distance or patience spared in the experiments. In generations to come, those still chronicling such matters should note: as Methuselah to humans, so To’ak to chocolate.

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PIEDRA de PLATA:
Harvest 2014
Rain Harvest 2015 Dark & Light
2016 El Niño
Harvest 2017 by TO'aK

FLASHBACK REVIEW -- below are segments of TO'aK's Píedra de Plata cocoa & chocolate, first reviewed in 2014, followed by updated iterations in 2015 & then again in 2020. The rating & metrics (upper right) are a composite average.************************************* What worth a chocolate bar... A family friend who repped the NBA once said in response to a player asking about his worth in a pending contract extension “you’re worth whatever you can negotiate”. In negotiating the current market, the ambition here knows no bounds, nor audacity. The immersive website, the handcrafted slide-top box, & the enclosed tongs for handling the delicacy (nothing but the Spanish elm utilized for the fermentation cases shall come between chocolate ‘n tongue, in keeping with the terroir’s continuum) only partially inflates the US$260 per bar -- a price based on a strict calculus of labor manhours. Nothing too ostentatious either, like alba truffles or edible gold leaf, overshadows the centerpiece. Leaving the accessories out, this still weighs-in a hefty indulgence by chocolate standards. Dylan sang, long after 'the times they are achangin', that ‘people are crazy / times are strange’. W’all gone loco or somethin'?[] Just a couple years back, in 2012, while on the keynote panel of a chocolate festival,...

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Arhuaco Businchari
Zoque
Esmeraldas by Original Beans

On the Good Ship Surthrival: Elementary Economics & Extinction Events in Craft Chocolate Better to be 6 feet apart than 6 feet under (but 6 meters behind walls?!?!?!?!?!?) Not all vaccines are equally efficacious (a universal digital vaxx – GL with that; for more see ‘biology’ then ‘death’ below) Testing depends on the accuracy of the test (duh) Data modeling trends toward inflation (geek that) Pandemics spread with the zeal of moral panic (huh? yeah) Sound governance balances security & liberty (those dead white prez again) Biology is dynamic nonlinear supercomplexity (figure it all out approaches godhood) Life contains death (as always… no worries, Big Tech puzzles over the riddle) The immune system* serves as the first & last line of defense (* + the 4-Ms: metabolism / microbiome / mitochondria / mentality – the latter begs whatever happened to Napolean Hill, New Thought, LoA ppl & The Secret, like, ahhh, ‘think & grow healthy’ bc, ahhh, it’s like, well, ya know, health is still the ultimate wealth, no? Bob Marley on his deathbed to son Ziggy: “money can’t buy life”.) During this current “thing” going around – i.e., the prevailing export from China, variously referred to as the clinically-sterile COVID-19 or the geo-specific Wuhan Virus (the latter helps geographically-illiterate citizens...

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Assortments by River-Sea Chocolates

River-Sea, run by the Mariano & Krissee duo, come about as conscientious & comprehensive as anyone in the craft choc world to enacting the changes they want to see in it. A change in consumption patterns, for starters, away from a consumerist Landfill Economy to one driven by incentives other than “more of everything” in the name of “growth”. A new system of private-sector currency, DeGrowth & decentralization + a cultural shift to a genuinely sustainable (i.e. less perverse and destructive) set of incentives to fix the current broken socio-economic compact. (Meanwhile Harvard economist Ken Rogoff's response to the coronavirus flips the switch on for hyper-growth... hmmmm).River-Sea maintains its course. Ergo, direct trading & cocoa shipped from Colombia to the USA on a sailboat. Organic just about everything. Biodegradable too. All adds up to tasteful.

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