Friday, September 11, 2009

I've been bitten!

Today I went out foraging for chocolate to taste. We're fortunate to have some fantastic chocolatiers in the Twin Cities, and I was ready to indulge. I was considering B.T. McElrath's new Salty Dog chocolate bar versus his Prairie Dog bar. Decisions, decisions. Both were priced at $3.99 at an area grocery store Kawalski's. Turns out I didn't have to decide, because at the checkout counter they were selling "Dog Bites." These were small disk sized versions of both bars - perfect for tasting!

I tasted these together to compare/contrast. I started light to dark with the Prairie Dog. It's 40% milk chocolate with butter toffee, almonds and sea salt. My first taste was the sea salt, then the almond flavor started showing up even before I bit into the bar. I generally prefer to let chocolate melt in my mouth, but with the nuts and toffee this was a better bar for chewing. There was a slight bitterness contrasting with the caramel warmth of the toffee in a really good way before the chocolate finally stepped in. In the end it was so much like toffee, I realized I'd prefer to simply buy a bag of B.T. McElrath's awesome toffee instead. It's the best I've ever tasted, although the folks at Cocoa Bella insist Cary's of Oregon makes the best. Perhaps that calls for a side by side taste test!

Moving on to the Salty Dog - this is 70% dark chocolate with butter toffee and sea salt. The salt hits you at first with this one too, then the chocolate creeps in as well as the more complex taste of the toffee. I think the absence of nuts lets the chocolate shine more on this one -- it had a good strong cocoa flavor. The aftertaste of my bite was slightly bitter, but rich and flavorful, like I imagine the taste a good red wine would leave on your palate. If I was doing a blind tasting, I would have guessed this was a higher percentage dark chocolate.

Overall, I really preferred the Salty Dog, and I'm not a dark chocolate snob. The flavors just worked better together for me. I'd give this one 4 teacups on a scale of 1 to 5!

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