Review: Dagoba New Moon
I've been struggling with this review for about a week now (about the length of time it has taken me to eat the whole thing) and I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and post what I've got. The bar in question is the New Moon bar from Dagoba. It's a straight-up 74% cacao organic dark chocolate bar with no other fruits, nuts, or flowers along for the ride and I'd been looking forward to trying it for a while. I've enjoyed the Dagoba bars I've had so far and figured that this falls right in my preferred range of cacao mass and should be a nice easy review.
Well, that just shows how stupid I am. And that brings me to a bit of a rant/whine. If you want to skip forward to the last paragraph or so for the actual review, then by all means do so.
I keep saying that I don't have the taste of a chocolate connoisseur and this review drives it home quite painfully. I wrote down my thoughts across several tastings of the bar and there was something I just could not nail down in the flavor. I could taste some slightly burnt coffee but there was something else there that I just could not put my finger on. Finally, one day at work while I was nibbling without thinking it hits me, clear as day: cherry! There was just this pure, pure cherry taste right as I swallowed. I took another bite and there it was again.
Now, I've read all sorts of reviews and write-ups and marketing spiel for chocolate bars and one thing that has always bugged me is how people will describe all these flavor notes in chocolate that are just absolutely lost on me. People would describe individual wood and fruit and flower notes in the chocolate and I'd just sort of stare at the words. I don't know what cedar tastes like or any other wood for that matter. And while I can taste some sort of fruitiness in a chocolate I've never really had much luck nailing down a specific flavor and these people will be going on about notes of mango and a hint of loganberry and tobacco. I'd never been able to pull individual flavors out and I kind of assumed that it was because I have a broken sense of smell and that throws my taste off.
Well, with this bar I tasted cherry and I was just so darn proud of myself for recognizing one of the flavor notes for a change. At this point I foolishly decided to look around and see what other people had to say about the bar and to verify that I wasn't insane. Ah, what a terrible mistake. First there was a nice moment finding myself right there in my search results (even though I had not yet reviewed the bar). After that I found a variety of people tasting a variety of things but only one person I found mentioned cherry outside of the aroma and they found a host of other flavor notes in it as well that I just am not finding. As usual, all of the complexity of the bar is absolutely lost on me. I'd like to be able to enjoy the nuances of a chocolate bar and have something more intelligent to say than a simple "That's some good chocolate there" but it's not coming quickly or easily. Maybe there's just a learning curve involved that I'm having a hard time with. Maybe a lot of it will be lost on me. I really don't know, but as long as I enjoy the chocolate I don't know that I'm really going to sweat it too much. I taste what I taste and that's all I can really deliver.
Okay, enough whining. Time for my impressions of the bar. The aroma upon opening the wrapper is a somewhat fruity, sweetish cocoa and coffee blend. Tasting the bar the cocoa flavor comes on strong first thing followed quickly by the coffee. As it melts a very pleasant cherry note emerges and carries through with the cocoa into the finish. The bar is both dry and bitter, but not overly so, especially given the 74% cacao mass. Once again some added cacao butter is at work taking a little of the edge off and improving the mouth feel. I personally love a good bitter dark chocolate so I enjoyed the bar a great deal. Based strictly on the chocolate itself I'll give the bar a big fat 9 out of 10. Adding in the fact that it is organic (though not Fair Trade as I originally posted) chocolate I have to give it a 9.5 out of 10.