Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chocolate Review: Lake Champlain Rum Caramel Dark Chocolate

Something we have learned at wine tastings is that you might not enjoy the wine you're given to sample at first sip. Given the nature of wine and winemaking, you are bound to detect different flavors as you progress - you swirl the glass to release scents and flavors, therefore it's necessary to commit to a few more sips before making your decision.

So it is, I believe, with chocolate. Not all chocolate is created equally. You have different levels of cacao intensity, different degrees of flavor, different fillings and toppings and infusions. Even in a solid dark, you might detect a hint of something unique - a citrus or earthy root sensation - that may have come from production. Sometimes when I buy chocolate I find I immediately love it, while other times I allow myself the wine rule to see if my taste buds need to adjust to a particular flavor. There's an episode of TNG where Deanna Troi says she never met a chocolate she didn't like...well, rare is the chocophile who wants to not like a particular brand. I love it, too, and would hate to not like something that is a part of what I enjoy best.

Confused yet? By the tone of this post, you can guess that the Lake Champlain Rum Caramel bar (54% dark) left me wanting. Mind you, I really wanted to like this. Rum. Caramel. Chocolate. A combination like that should add up to chocolate win. The bar is small, yet the eight pillows were thick with dark brown gooey goodness. The snap satisfied, as did the aroma...I really thought I would sit back with a breathless "whoa" after this.

It's sort of like when you buy a ticket for a movie starring three of your all-time favorite actors, based on your favorite book. The elements are there for something great, but it all falls flat. What was the problem here? My thinking - the caramel is just too sweet for this bar. Biting into solid portions of the bar left me somewhat placated - one thing I like about lower-end darks is that they maintain a good balance of sweetness without the aftertaste milk chocolate often leaves for me. Yet everytime I get close to that caramel...I want to like it, but I just don't.

Now this is the first LC chocolate I have tried, and to be fair I will try a different variety to better judge the chocolate. There is a regular caramel bar, but I think a solid should be the next one I try, if only to clean the palate.

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