Box Chocolate Review

Oakland Chocolate

Info Details
Country USA   (Oakland, CA)
Style Rustic      
lo
med
hi
CQ
Sweetness
Intensity
Complexity
Impact
Nancy Nadel of Oakland Chocolate Co. lives & works among Bay-Area progressives like Willie & Jerry Brown.

She more than just dabbles in chocolate after fighting The Man for just causes as a councilwoman in the municipal legislature.

At night while bats awaken hanging upside down, Nancy comes out to work-play as a chocolateer & gets busy grinding away on cocoa beans personally-sourced from small landholders in Jamaica. She joins a growing collective of optimists, idealists, romantics, dreamers, & visionaries who happily pioneer the borders of ethical chocolate & social capitalism in a long & respectable tradition. Starting with the Meniers in France, the English Quakers, & Milton Hershey to... the new era makers -- Shawn Askinosie on his cacáo crusades; Seneca Klassen’s Hawai’ian venture; Brett Beach's Madagascan one; Dan Pearson community building in the Amazon, and Gail Ambrosius helping to husband a Central American chocolate renaissance. All promote a “stake in the outcome” for, incredibly, everyone involved, right down to those most responsible for bringing this all to fruition: the growers themselves who are often left behind when it comes to the benefits of the chocolate industry.

This box exudes a quiet raditude that defines a genuinely modern ethos: conscientious & independent, quite apart from corporate machinery while in concert with humanity.

Margaret Mead, as good a human observer as anyone, warned: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

Nancy Nadel & the Oakland Chocolate Co. -- getting the job done.
Presentation   4.4 / 5
plain box keeping it simple & focusing the spotlight on the pieces themselves: a mix of enrobed & hand-dipped / hand-rolled of good double-bite size; each a unique shape or mold
Aromas   3.7 / 5
fairly recessed or, vibing off the Jamaican roots of its cacáo source, relaxed & natural: sugar ‘n musk
Textures/Melt   7.8 / 10
Shells: requires a fairly big tooth
Centers: silken to gloopy
Flavor   43.6 / 50
somewhat segregated yet well complimented & generally bold notwithstanding a light chocolate base
Quality   24.9 / 30
Judicious. Really knows the elements, especially the chocolate couverture (to be expected from a crafts person who personally travels to the growing fields & imports the raw material directly).
Selections
Couverture: in-house
Blue Mountain Bolt - brings the thunder in a study in contrasts: snapping shell vs. silken ganache / snappy Blue Mt coffee (accented by Nibs) vs. delicate Jamaican-origin cacáo... rapid & bracing coffee attack quelled nicely by a poised cocoa that all fuses toward roasted almonds; remarkable progression & resolution

Acorn - walnut dominates & overpowers a maple-honey gel encased in Dark choc; lopsided

Creme de Cacao Truffle - emphasis on creme... a Dark but dairy-rich center rolled in White Choc that fights for air inside all the fat; reminiscent of Choklat’s butterballs except here Jamaica’s soft tannins prove worthy of the struggle, even valorized, even as they get creamed

Rum Raisin - everything clicks in this piece of near-parity between the main elements; tremendous equilibrium

Almond Ginger - big flavor & huge visual monolith of Dark Choc topped by almond slabs & salt crystals which cut into incredibly soft ganache brightened by ginger; well-constructed

Reviewed July 25, 2011
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