Scharffen Berger Extra Dark 82% Chocolate Bar Review
Extra dark can seem a bit scary. Firstly, a lot of us are afraid of the dark with good reason. There is a lot that can happen in the dark that you can’t see, and what you can’t see may kill you, eat you and spit out your bones before crawling back under the bed. The dark is a dangerous place and anything called “extra dark” could hold untold dangers waiting to be unleashed from the closet. In fact, a bar called “extra dark” could attract any number of monsters.
Thankfully this chocolate bar isn’t a monster-magnet. It is, actually, a very interesting bar. Considering the bars I’ve already tried from Scharffen Berger this is definitely different and reminded me of some other chocolate I had tried which was less refined. Each Scarffen Berger chocolate bar is trying to be something different which is no bad thing. It expands the range of people likely to enjoy Scharffen Berger but it also means people become pigeon-holed within a single bar category.
Here’s a thought – you could set up a dating site based on the kind of Scharffen Berger bar you enjoy. All the Extra Dark lovers could register their love of the bar and interests (“delicious juicy red berries with lashings of mildly acidic citrus”) and find a partner to meet to talk about their love of the bar. The weddings then could have Extra Dark wedding cake with Extra Dark chocotinis as the drinks. 😀
The taste here is of raw cocoa nibs. This bar tastes like they took some cocoa nibs and mashed them together, added a touch of sugar to keep it from tasking like… well let’s say “earthy”… and turned it into possibly the closest thing to what the Mayans might have done with it when turning it into a bar. You certainly couldn’t claim the flavour was deadened due to the explosion of that flavour of nibs in the extreme but it is going to be slightly overwhelming for some.
The dark, earthy, strong flavour of this bar is almost leathery but not in a bad way. The complexity of the flavour of the nibs takes time to tease out and it does require some effort. This is not a bar for a lazy afternoon in front of the TV – this is a much more complex bar for spending time with and mulling over. Perhaps having friends over and discussing the flavours you get as the taste develops in your mouth. The flavour is absolutely roasted and yet borders on raw. The bar is absolutely refined and yet borders on rough. It dances a fine line rather brilliantly and the result is going to be something that has, regrettably, limited appeal.
I should be clear – this is not a bar of pressed nibs or raw chocolate or rough “old school” chocolate like the Taza and Soma I have tried. This bar, while slightly gritty, is well refined and conched. It just has a really wildly untamed flavour.