Saturday, December 17, 2011

B.T. McElrath Salty Dog Chocolate Bar

3oz (85g) bar
Ingredients: Chocolate liquor, sugar (in the chocolate), cane sugar (in the toffee), cocoa butter, soy lecithin, butter, bicarbonate of soda, natural flavor, salt (in the toffee), sea salt (on the back of the bar)
17g sugar/43g serving (39.5% by wt.)

Corporate Info: Minneapolis's B.T. McElrath was founded by a chef, and accordingly seems to focus on creating unusual flavored bars and confections like Sweet Potato Pavé and Buttered Toast. B.T. McElrath's Chile Limón Bar is one of my favorites, and now that I'm eating a little more sugar, I can venture into the other 70% bars, including today's Salty Dog.

Appearance: Very glossy, richly hued reddish-brown with pale flecks under the surface and sea salt evenly sprinkled on the back.

Smell: Not strong, but with a hint of roasted beans and nuts.

Taste: Creamy chocolate, a lot of salt, toffee is more subtle in very small bits of crunch and low-key caramel flavor. The chocolate is mild, so even though it's 70% cacao the sweetness of the chocolate (not the toffee) stands out. Additionally, the salt doesn't seem to have a good counterpoint, which makes me wonder about the whole salt-sweet concept. I'm thinking that it's not just sugar and salt that work against each other, it's burnt sugar/caramel specifically that's so wonderfully enlivened by salt. Thus, I'd say there's too much sugar in chocolate form and not enough in toffee form to really play off the salt here. I've seen this bar many times and have the impression that it's pretty popular, but to my taste there's a balance issue that the Chile Limón bar didn't have. It's all very interesting, and I'd love to try more B.T. McElrath products.

Conclusion: For me, B.T. McElrath Salty Dog Chocolate Bar has too much sugar and not enough toffee to balance well with the mild chocolate and abundant salt.


  1. I really like this bar. Maybe it's because they're my hometown chocolatier, maybe I save up my salt tolerance for one chocolate bar every few months, I don't know. I've loved everything I've had by B.T. McElrath, including some of their truffles. It's probably just my Minnesota bias at work here:)

    I agree with you though, I think the Chile Limón is their best product.

  2. Have you tried the more funky flavors they make? I think I've only seen four or five varieties here, and I'm curious about the others.

  3. I've tried everything but the newest bars that came out last fall - I haven't gotten around to having them shipped to me yet. I think now they have seven or eight varieties total. I like the Passion Fruit & Tangerine bar a lot, too.

    Sorry for the exceedingly long delay in response:)