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Woodblock Chocolate

Charla Romrell

Jessica and Charley Wheelock are the husband and wife team behind Woodblock Chocolate Manufactory, a Portland-based bean-to-bar chocolate maker. The hand-wrapped treasures that come out of Woodblock Chocolate start with beans from around the globe and end up as beautiful bars in all sorts of amazing stores and shops (where to buy). Woodblock Chocolate also makes its way into gastronomic wonders such as Salt & Straw ice cream, Urban Farmer's chocolate desserts, Little T Baker's chocolate chip cookies, and more (see the entire list here).
 
Each of the four bars I tasted had its own unique flavor and personality, from ultra-fruity and zingy Madagascar chocolate to the deep, true-chocolate flavor of the Ecuadorian bar. The thickness of these bars made it tempting to chomp them rather than let the chocolate melt on my palate, but I used all of my inner strength to resist that temptation and really experience the flavors:
Woodblock Chocolate Madagascar
Madagascar 70% Sambirano (batch #57)
Appearance: Smooth, dark brown, some bubbles on back, clean break with air bubbles at the breaking point
Aroma: Dark dried fruits like plums and raisins.
Snap: Hard break, high pitched
Texture: Creamy
Taste: Typical fruity Madagascar chocolate flavors turn to notes of cocoa powder with a zingy, tartness. Clean finish with no lingering flavors.
Overall: The zingy tartness I experienced at some points reminded me of the flavor of the stringy part of a banana. Clean finish, just a little astringency left behind.
True Love 70% (batch #41-2)
Appearance: Dark brown, smooth, some air bubbles on back, thick mould
Aroma: Coffee, raisins
Snap: Hard break, medium pitch
Texture: Not completely smooth
Taste: Initially tasted of cream, next nut skin flavor and finish of grapes and coffee
Overall: An interesting bar that was not completely smooth in texture. Strong "fermented" flavor at first. There was a "juicy" sensation in the mouth as I let the chocolate melt. I'm assuming this is a blend because the packaging doesn't specify an origin.
Peru 70% Cajamarca (batch #43)
Appearance: Lighter red-brown, no bubbles on back, high shine
Aroma: Fig, honey
Snap: Medium
Taste: Started with a sweet honey flavor, then quickly became bright and sour like an unripe melon. Clean finish.
Texture: This was the smoothest of the Woodblock bars I tasted
Overall: A sweet, juicy bar that reminded me of honey drizzled over unripe melon. Lighter color and lower-pitched snap than I typically expect from a 70% bar.
Ecuador 70% Balao (batch #27)
Appearance: Dark brown-orange, air bubbles on back
Aroma: Savory, nutty
Snap: Hard break, high pitch
Taste: Nutty, warm and deep upon initial melt. The flavor transitioned to deep chocolate and ended with a clean finish.
Texture: Slightly grainy
Overall: A satisyfyingly-deep chocolate with rich, nutty notes
 
I love that Woodblock uses only two ingredients in their bars (cacao and sugar) so the flavors of the cacao can really shine. The only disappointing thing about my experience is that the bars I purchased are mini-bars and I'm sad that they are so small and they're almost gone.
 
Have you tried Woodblock Chocolate? Which one(s) did you try? What was your experience?
 

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