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FOOD & BEVERAGE

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“BAR” EXAM Story by ALEX TAYLOR & GINA YU Photography by CHARLIE WATTS

Close the door. Turn off the computer, any ghastly machine that beeps. Send everyone home. Cork that bottle of wine. It’s been a long week, and all you want, no, all you need is a bar of chocolate. Chocolate has its own ceremony: undressing the confection of its thin, delicate foil; grazing your fingertips over the smoothness of its exterior; satisfying the desire for either something creamy or crunchy. One of the most beautiful things about chocolate isn’t the intimately designed wrapper, sensual glossy sheen or the intensely satisfying snapping sound when breaking into a bar. No, it’s the fact that no one can tell you what you should like. But when sifting through the booming universe of couture chocolates, it’s hard to see past the fluffy descriptions and hefty price points that make you feel like the more expensive and the shinier, the better. With a plethora of cocoa confectioneries touting taste bud bliss, we’d be remiss to declare one chocolate bar better than the rest. What really separates the artisan U.S. chocolate bar with 62 percent cocoa content from the 77 percent bar with Venezuelan-cultivated cacao?

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Eidé’s staff decided to set up a challenge of our own. We put our tastebuds to the test to see if select chocolate bars live up to their artisanal hype. We proved tough critics, but 19 chocolate bars later, we’re unsure if we are any the wiser. When tasting the chocolate, direct your senses to certain qualities. When breaking the chocolate, look for a smooth consistent color, not white chalky lines at the top or edges. Take the time to take in the scent of the chocolate. Does it have fruity notes? Roasted ones? Notice the texture. Does the chocolate feel waxy? Or is it smooth, maybe creamy? Do the flakes of sea salt or the ground coffee chunks add to the bar’s success? Trying multiple chocolates in a row can overwhelm your palate, making subtle nuances in each bar go unnoticed. As a palate cleanser, drink room-temperature water, or eat a room-temperature apple (bread works too!).

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Spring 2014: Behind the scenes of Chrisley Knows Best, offstage with Young the Giant, the slow fashion movement, industrial design, Sophia W...

THE CURIOUS ISSUE  

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