3.2oz (90g) bar
Ingredients: Cocoa liquor, sugar, almonds, cocoa butter, sea salt, soy lecithin, vanilla
11g sugar/30g serving (36.7% by wt.)
When I was flipping through my bag of to-be-reviewed bars a couple weeks ago, I found that I had bought several flavored with sea salt and decided to review them as a pack. I started with the Vosges and Trader Joe's caramel bars, followed a tangent with another Trader Joe's bar, and am back this week with Chocolove Almonds & Sea Salt in 55% Cocoa.
Meta-moment: I've been violating the old maximum-1/3-sugar rule for two reasons: 1) Health-wise, I can do that now, and 2) many interesting bars come in dark chocolate bases that are a little higher in sugar than my usual. Unsurprisingly, I often find them too sweet for my taste, but with common brands like Chocolove, I have frequently seen the whole product line on sale and really wanted to give some fun flavors a try. So now I am.
Corporate Info: I have a soft spot for Chocolove, having lived in near its hometown of Boulder, Colorado and enjoyed the company's samples in my local Whole Foods. It's a relatively young company (Wikipedia says 1996; Chocolove's website doesn't say), hasn't yet been bought by a giant conglomerate, and is supposedly working with these guys to source its chocolate from well-treated cocoa farmers and communities. On the other hand, the chocolate isn't officially organic or fair trade, and Chocolove is rated a C by the Better World folks (same as Hershey's, much better than Nestle), so I don't want to give them my unconditional Choco-love (ha ha, I crack me up). But it's cheaper than most premium chocolate—$2-2.50 a bar—and reliably tasty.
Appearance: Chocolove's usual quilted-looking, heart-topped shape, kind of a greyish brown, very glossy, bumpy on the back.
Smell: Sweet, nutty.
Taste: Okay, yeah, it's too sweet for me and not super-dark, which makes it hard to pick out the other flavors. What I can say is that you get entire halved almonds and a well-incorporated, non-dominant saltiness. The wrapper says something about salt crystals, and that very well may be true, but they must be pretty small; while it doesn't taste like the salt is dissolved into the chocolate, there's more uniformity to it than I've found in other salty bars.
Conclusion: Chocolove Almonds & Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate 55% Cocoa didn't taste like anything special to me, but if you like almonds and salt in a relatively light dark chocolate, maybe it would be great to you.