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Review: Dagoba Xocolatl Bar

After trying the Choxie Aztec Thin I was wondering how the fabled Dagoba Xocolatl would compare. The Choxie had some spice to it but no burn and was an all around nice bar. The Dagoba bar (75% cacao content) brings chilis, nibs, maca (more on this mysterious substance later), vanilla and nutmeg to the table all wrapped up in organic goodness.

Ok, the first thing I want to address is the ingredients. I’m all on board with nibs, chilies, vanilla, and nutmeg and they all sound like they belong in a bar that is inspired by Aztec tradition. But what is this maca stuff? Well, the first thing I did was google it and all that did was raise more questions. Seems to be considered to be an aphrodisiac. So, having googled it I went to the source of all knowledge: Wikipedia. Quick facts: it has been a staple food in the Andes for 2000 years; it is related to radishes and turnips; it is super-nutritious; it enhances strength and endurance; and, yes, it acts as an aphrodisiac. Huh. Not what I expected to find lurking in my chocolate though of course there is the idea that chocolate itself is an aphrodisiac. I don’t know if it adds anything to the flavor, but based on it’s history and the region it is from I suppose it does have a place in the bar. Maybe.

Now, on to the bar itself. A quick whiff of the bar indicates that there are chilies lurking in it somewhere and in some quantity. In fact it really seems to hide a lot of the standard Dagoba 74% aroma. It’s kind of strange, but the “earthy” smell that I associate with Dagoba in this case is reaching into my brain and making me think of a walk in the woods. Summer camp with some extra chilies tossed in. Strange, but every so often an aroma will roll along that will immediately fire off memories and this is one of those occasions. Southern Ohio forest. Not sure what to make of it, but that’s what I’m getting.

Putting aside my strange sense of smell lets move on to the bar itself. The taste is really kind of strange. There is something of chocolate there but the chilies really change the taste a lot. It’s a nice combination and not at all like the cayenne pepper truffles I’ve had (which really taste like they just use chili powder – my favorite spice in the world). The combination of the chilies and the strong dark chocolate creates something that really doesn’t taste all that chocolaty to me. But it’s good. It’s a different chocolate experience where the combination of flavors makes it something new. The nutmeg and vanilla are kind of hidden in the mix but I think that they are having an effect on the flavor.

And how about them chilies? As it’s melting in my mouth I’m thinking that there is a little heat there. No real burn, but some heat. More than I got from the Choxie. And then I swallowed. You would think that if I’m eating a chocolate bar full of chilies that I would maybe be expecting to feel a little something in my throat on the way down. You would think that. The burn I got really caught me off guard. It isn’t super hot or anything, but there is some solid burn present and I was really pretty surprised. Most of the time when people make things with chilies in them they don’t make them hot, just spicy. They go for flavor and not heat because they want to appeal to the broadest possible audience. Not Dagoba. They went for spice and heat and they got them both.

Ok, so I’ve addressed the flavor, now I need to address my usual gripe with Dagoba. The wrapper says nibs. Half way through the bar I have encountered two nibs that I have noticed. As they tend to be nice and crunchy in the midst of the chocolate I would think that I would notice them. The worst part is that the two nibs were virtually right on top of each other. This is such a weakness in the Dagoba bars I’ve tried. If there are supposed to be nuts or nibs or rice crispies there are one or two through the entire bar. I was all excited for nibs and it took half a bar to get nib one. Honestly, they could take a hint from Choxie on this one. The Choxie bar was buried in nibs. The Xocolatl? Not so much.

In the end, It’s a great bar with a unique flavor and a lot more spice and heat than I’ve had in my chocolate before. But where are my nibs? I want my nibs! I’m withholding points because I was promised nibs and received almost none. Grrr… If there were more nibs I would go 8.75 or maybe even 9. As things stand I can’t go above an 8. I really like the flavors in it and I like the surprise burn but the big fat negative impression of the anti-nibbiness of the bar just has me irked.


Joseph L. Sexton Said:

Okay, already but is it worth the price and would you say its actually GOOD.

william Said:

Yeah it's good and worth the money, I just think it could be better.

deimos Said:

mine had PLEnTY of nibs

William Said:

It might just be one of those small batch things where there is a little inconsistency between individual bars or batches. I've had another since I wrote this and it was pretty well populated so the first was maybe a fluke.

Mary Said:

what's a nib???

William Said:

According to Wikipedia

Nib, partially processed cocoa bean. In a factory, the beans are washed and roasted. Next they are de-hulled by a "nibber" machine that also removes the germ. The nibs are what is left of the bean after this process.

Docidu Said:

I just recently found this bar locally...and i have to say i think its one of the greatest achievements of mankind to date...omg, i cant say enough good about it..burn is just right, flavor is amazing, and gives me that buzz i get off eating raw cacao beans....im seriously in love...i just wish they werent $3 a piece...but for this quality.. its definantally worth it... the quality of the chocolate is excelent..mmmmm...k, im going to go back blissing out on this thing...

Annie Said:

Where could I get the xocolatl DAGOBA at ?
Ive been googling about it and ive been getting
excited cause ive never had dagoba, better be good cause I think ill be getting some viruses out of this :)

William Said:

If you have a Whole Foods or Wild Oats nearby they tend to carry Dagoba. A lot of natural foods stores do and they are generally a good place to start. Even a few of the big chain traditional grocery stores (Kroger, Giant Eagle) have Dagoba in their natural foods section. But if you have trouble finding it locally then online stores like Chocosphere are an option.

Becky Borichevsky Said:

I hear you on the nibs: Personally, I'm not into chunky chocolate so I kinda like the subtle cruchiness of the Xocolatl. The 74% New Moon is still my favorite bar by Dagoba.

Delilah Said:

Today was feeling really sad and depressed... I made some tea and since I do not like sugar in it, I opened a chocolate bar that was given to me by my daughter, so I could eat it along with my tea...
By the third bite I felt a rush of heat, a feeling of comfort and warmth... omg!.. what is this? I thought, reading the label I found the reason why, a magic blend you have going on there. Thanks for following the Aztec recipe. Although the reasons of my saddness remains with me, your chocolate bar makes it all a little more palatable.

Gato Said:

When you consider excellent Ghana or Tabasco Cocoa beans are available for a little over $2.00 a pound, Dagoba is obscenely expensive, basically 21st century snake oil. But when I saw the FDA recall on Dagoba chocolate, I understood. Adding lead obviously costs the "alchemist" extra. The good news is in the near future there will be many micro chocolate makes offering good product at an honest price.

Pat Said:

They were recalled back in 2006, what's out there now is perfectly safe. I don't think the govt would let hershey sell em two years with too much lead in them.




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I love the way you write~
If it wasn't for Dagoba I wounldn't have found you~
So touché for Fredeick and his fine chocolates!

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Teri S Said:

Ok, what happened to the NIBS I used to buy from www.Northstarnutritionals.com...and Dagoba directly, now they are sold out evrywhere and no longer on the website at all...I want just the nibs, without the chocolate bar!

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