For dessert tonight, we had small squares of a Michel Cluizel 85% cocoa chocolate bar I picked up at Zingerman's today.
This is the most astounding 85% chocolate I've ever had. A lot of chocolates that dark are really bitter, and difficult to eat out of hand. This is lovely - smooth, fruity, not alkaline. Many of the darker chocolates I've tried taste pretty good to start, but leave an unpleasant aftertaste. Not this one. I probably would never have picked it out on my own, but with the holiday season, Zing had people wandering around offering samples of anything you even glanced at (they're great that way - you can get tastes of pretty much anything they sell, including the 150 year old balsamic vinegar and other high-end items). So I got to try a bunch of interesting chocolate, and of course came home with too much. In addition to the Michel Cluizel, I got a package of "Bombolas de pimentia rosa con chocolate negro" - chocolate covered pink peppercorns - and a box of "Xocoatl: cioccolato al peperoncino." The latter is an Italian chocolate, made in a traditional style where the beans are not so finely ground. So it's got a really interesting texture, and great chocolate flavor. It's also got chile in it - but it's fascinating, because you don't taste it while you're eating the chocolate - all it tastes like is good chocolate. Then, at the end, just as you're finishing, this mild heat builds up on your tongue. It's really most intriguing. Both of these will be saved until New Year's Eve, when we're cohosting a party with wine and cheese, and now chocolate, tastings.