Salted Chocolate: Salazon Chocolate bars

I love chocolate. I like salt. But salted chocolate?

When Salazon Chocolate, a brand new company, sent me samples of their salted chocolate bars last month, I was a little skeptical. I love good chocolate, but I don't like when people mess with it too much.

Salazon (which means salted in Spanish) claims to be the first salted-chocolate brand, and I initially wondered if maybe there was a good reason salted chocolate hadn't been done before.

But, I couldn't resist the company's motto — "roam the earth. eat chocolate." — or the fact that Salazon Chocolate was started by a hiker, Pete Truby, who preferred making his own salted dark chocolate rather than eating energy bars or "nutritionals" on his hikes. Plus, it was chocolate.

So today I got to work and dug in. I figured I'd try a sample from each bar. I ended up having to put the delicious half-eaten bars far, far away, two floors away, lest they disappear completely.

I am converted.

Organic Dark Chocolate with Natural Sea Salt: This is Salazon Chocolate's original bar. Like the others, the sea salt is sprinkled on the bottom of the bar and you taste it on your tongue immediately, though it's not overpowering. In fact, it naturally brings out the flavor of the rich chocolate. Once you taste this you understand how a little salt can enhance the natural flavors — sweet sugar, bitter cocoa — of even a pretty perfect food like dark chocolate.

Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Organic Turbinado Cane Sugar: Yum. Dark chocolate with turbinado cane sugar sprinkled on for added sweetness and crunch, plus the sea salt to bring out all the flavors. My favorite. If your chocolate preferences lean toward the milk variety, start here.

Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Organic Cracked Black Pepper: I saved this one for last because I was even less sure of pepper in my chocolate than salt, but it works. Though all the bars are dark chocolate, this one tasted richer to me, and the salt is a little less pronounced when balanced with the pepper.

Salazon Chocolate bars are made in small batches in Maryland and are 100 percent USDA organic. The additional ingredients — like sea salt, pepper, and turbinado — are sprinkled onto the bars for better texture and taste, instead of mixed in with the chocolate. The resulting flavors are more complex than in a plain old milk or even dark chocolate bar, but not overly complicated or fussy.

Instead of being scored to break apart easily, the three-ounce bars are solid and feature a molded chocolate image of the Asian salt farm featured on their labels. My bars were broken into a couple pieces by the time I opened them, so I missed having a pretty, intact chocolate picture, but they still tasted great and hey, who needs scoring?

If you've never tried salted chocolate, I highly recommend you give these bars a try. Each Salazon Chocolate flavor has its own charm and I can see any one being a favorite for individual palettes. Consider carrying along a bar (or two) on your next hike or backpack.

Individual bars retail for $3.49.

Review Salazon Chocolate.


Filed under: Gear News

Comments

trouthunter
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March 10, 2010 at 7:40 p.m. (EST)

As someone who likes Montreal Steak Seasoning on his popcorn, I'm not too put off by new foods, and I love dark chocolate.

This sounds like something I might like. I see they have a website, that makes it easy.

Thanks Alicia.

Alicia
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March 10, 2010 at 8:11 p.m. (EST)

It was quite good, trouthunter. I'd send you the remnants of my bars (hidden in the top shelf of our kitchen) if I could.

If you do try it, let us know what you think. Everyone has a different palette, but I know I enjoyed the harsh duty of taste testing this chocolate.

Bill S
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March 10, 2010 at 10:08 p.m. (EST)

Using salt to enhance sweet foods is a very old practice, so much so that some nutritionists include cautions for people on low salt diets. And salt in chocolate concoctions also has been around for a long time. And so have various "hot" spices. Consumer Reports has done reviews of some of the specialty chocolates with the various spices.

Although I am very skeptical of some of the spiced chocolates, one of my favorite dishes is mole poblano. "Mole" (pronounced "moh-lay") means "sauce" generally, particularly ones based on chilis (I think the word is Mayan in origin). Mole poblano has cacao powder as a major ingredient, with the dish called mole poblano being chicken breast smothered in the rich chocolatey sauce - YUM!!!! Now, I will say that this is one of the two main tests of a restaurant claiming to be a high quality Mexican restaurant, the other being chile relleno. Mole poblano should NOT taste like a sweet chocolate (Barb and I recently tried out a Mexican restaurant whose mole poblano tasted like a sweet milk chocolate - yuck!). The cacao (dark chocolate to you strangers to true Mexican cuisine) taste should be delicately balanced against the chilis, cilantro, and other spices - not sweet, not overwhelmingly fiery spicey, just the right tang.

Another dish that uses mole poblano and is rarely found in the US is enchiladas de tres colores. Enchiladas are all too often done poorly (one of the most terrible being the so-called enchilada sold at Taco Bell). But properly done, 3-colors has properly prepared enchiladas with freshly prepared corn tortillas (maiza, not wheat flour), and the 3 filled with 3 different fillings, generally a chicken, queso (NOT cheddar, for crying out loud), and machaca beef. Each of the 3 is covered with 3 moles each of different color (hence the name), a red, a yellow (with pumpkin seed), and a brown (the mole poblano). I have found only one restaurant north of the Border that serves a proper tres colores, though one in New Mexico came close (New Mexican cuisine is great as well, totally different from TexMex or California Mex, much more like central and southern Mexico).

gonzan
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March 11, 2010 at 2:01 p.m. (EST)

Mmm.... these sound wonderful. I like chocolate to a dangerous degree! I wonder if I could get our local organic grocery to carry them?

Dawner
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March 12, 2010 at 9:37 a.m. (EST)

Mmmm. Truffles

I have eaten and enjoyed these....

Lavender/grey salt

Chili/lime

Cheyenne/mango

D&G in the Smokys
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March 12, 2010 at 8:36 p.m. (EST)

They actually sound pretty good and worth trying. When I think of chocolate and salt, the first thing that comes to my mind are chocolate covered pretzels....and they are pretty yummy! I would like to find them and give them a whirl myself!

D

trustyshellback
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March 21, 2010 at 9:59 a.m. (EDT)

I don't normally plug that famous Seattle Coffee place, but if you can, try their "Salted Hot Chocolate". Tastes just like the chocolate covered pretzels mentioned by D&G.

Alicia
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March 23, 2010 at 3:22 p.m. (EDT)

This thread makes me hungry.

I just wanted to add, for the culinary curious, that all three varieties of Salazon Chocolate have the same amount of cocoa (the amount of which is a secret, but is somewhere between 51% and 69%). However, they have distinctive tastes, with the black pepper one tasting darkest to me.

JimDoss
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April 3, 2010 at 12:20 a.m. (EDT)

These look REALLY good. I wish I could get them on Amazon. There isn't a west coast retailer.

JimDoss
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April 3, 2010 at 12:25 a.m. (EDT)

@ Bill S - That mole tres colores sounds really good! I actually LIVE in Mexico and have never heard of it. Guess I'm going to have to look harder!

On another note, my daughter's name is Molly. Once, several years ago, some friends here baked her a birthday cake. On top, they wrote (in English) Happy Birthday Mole. LOL!

Bill S
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April 3, 2010 at 2:15 p.m. (EDT)

Jim,

It is most common in restaurants in Puebla.

yock
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April 8, 2010 at 2:40 p.m. (EDT)

Lindt is now making a dark chocolate with sea salt crystals. My wife and I bought a bar and sampled it. I couldn't really discern a difference in flavor intensity between a standard dark chocolate bar and this salted dark chocolate bar. What I DID notice was the odd sensation of whole sea salt crystals on my tongue as the chocolate melted in my mouth. It wasn't unpleasant, just surprising.

Another thing worth mentioning is that the chocolate was much softer than a normal Lindt bar; however, with the weather changing that could have just been a function of the temperature and humidity.

Overall, I would not seek out the salted chocolate bar over non-salted, though I would be interested in trying another variety, such as the Salazon, to see if there's a difference.

Alicia
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April 8, 2010 at 7:13 p.m. (EDT)

I haven't had the Lindt bar, yock, so I can't compare it. I would try the Salazon ones to compare though. They differentiate themselves by sprinkling the sea salt on the surface (bottom) of the bar instead of mixing it into the chocolate.

Now, you have cause to go eat more chocolate!

yock
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200 forum posts
April 8, 2010 at 7:15 p.m. (EDT)

I scarcely need even a reason to consume chocolate, but the word "cause" carries an urgency that I can really appreciate.

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