Last week I had the pleasure of receiving my first Cocoa Couriers box. I intended to post about the box when I received and opened it, but then I thought it made more sense to wait until I tried each of the chocolates inside. So here we are a week later, and I have taste tested each of them. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it! All jokes aside, it just seemed like it made more sense so that I could give a full recap of my experience.
Before I get started on the actual product, I'm sure some of you must be thinking, "But chocolate's not healthy!" Firstly, I am a HUGE believer in balance. I do not restrict myself, and I think most foods are okay in moderation. That being said, good quality, high in cacao, dark chocolate actually is healthy. I didn't eat all of these bars in one sitting. I didn't even eat one bar in a sitting. That really isn't how it's meant to be enjoyed. The main point is that a few pieces of good quality chocolate are far from bad for you (and arguably they have added health benefits). These specific bars are all made from good quality cacao and have minimal ingredients. I'll give you a bit more background.
Cocoa Couriers is a monthly box subscription that delivers organic, fair trade chocolate right to your door. The bars are all hand made by small companies from around the world. So why does it matter that they're fairly traded? The majority of the world's cacao comes from South Africa and is sourced through conglomerates that pay farmers very little for their crops. This small amount of money leads to high amounts of illegal child labor. The makers featured in Cocoa Couriers boxes all source their cacao from other sources and some work directly with the farmers. The farmers are paid a premium, and the makers receive a higher quality bean resulting in a rich, flavorful chocolate. Now onto the box.
So when I received my box, I opened it (obviously). It was beautifully wrapped, and had four different chocolates inside along with a monthly selection card.
This card breaks down each chocolate inside. It gives you a quick, basic 3-term description over on the left (i.e. Dark, Fruity, Strong). To the right it lists the maker, chocolate bar name, factory, bean source, longer description, and pairing suggestions. I love good quality, dark chocolate, but if I'm being honest, I don't know much about it. Having all of this information, especially a pairing guide, is really valuable for someone like me.
So now onto the chocolate...
Brasstown Blueberry was the first bar that I tried. I don't love throwing around the word favorite, but it was probably my favorite. It was the highest percent cacao of the four, and I just really love darker, high cacao chocolate so that may be a bit biased. It was a rich dark chocolate with hints of sweet from the blueberry pieces, and it was 100% delicious. On the back it has a little blurb about the company, lists the cacao source, and has a (short) ingredient list. I didn't listen to the pairing recommendation (why I do not know because I love merlot), but I instead just ate some of it alone. This may be against craft chocolate etiquette, but I also used some in a waffle recipe. They were AMAZING, and the chocolate was the star.
Next was Madecasse Toasted Coconut. Just look at that thing! It speaks for itself. Also high in cacao, this chocolate was delicious. Can you really go wrong with chocolate and coconut? The back of the package has a large section about Madagascar, the source of the cacao and the coconut. The creators of the company were peace corps volunteers there, and they fell in love with the people and the country. They started making this chocolate as a vehicle for social impact which is pretty darn amazing if you ask me. There's also the nutriton info with (again) minimal, recognizable ingredients. I've only had a little piece of this so far, but I think I will follow the pairing instructions this time and have some with a nice red tomorrow.
The third bar was Dick Taylor Black-Fig. The chocolate bar itself was so beautiful, I almost felt bad breaking off a piece. But then I ate it and didn't feel bad anymore because it was SO GOOD. It was the perfect combination of a little bitterness form the dark chocolate and sweet, delicious figs. The back contains a little blurb about the company, the sources of the cacao and figs, and a very short, recognizable ingredient list. I'm tempted to save this one for St. Patrick's Day, as it pairs with an Irish/craft stout (yum).
And finally we have the Raaka Mint + Nibs bar. I don't know if everyone loves the mint chocolate combo as much as I do, but this bar is really to die for. Such a delicious combo, and the taste is perfectly smooth. The back talks about how their chocolate is made, this specific bar, and the farmers they partner with and why. There's also a nice, short ingredient list. This one pairs well with coffee and hot chocolate, so you know that will be happening ASAP.
So how did I enjoy my experience with cocoa couriers overall? I honestly loved it. If I could picture what I'd want out of a chocolate bar box, they literally nailed it. Every bar is so different, yet so desirable. I also love that it's all organic. You can read and recognize every ingredient in every bar and find out exactly where the ingredients came from. Plus knowing that they're fairly traded and that farmers are being fairly compensated is a great thing. I think this box is perfect for anyone who loves chocolate, wants to know where their food is coming from (which should be everybody), and believes in supporting good, quality companies. I would absolutely recommend Cocoa Couriers, and if you're interested in trying a box, feel free to click here.