Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fearless 70% Matcha Green Tea Peppermynt

2oz (56.7g) bar
Ingredients: Organic raw cacao, o. unrefined cane sugar, o. matcha green tea, o. peppermint
7g sugar/28.35g serving (24.7% by wt.)

Corporate Info: [Altered from 6/2/12] Fearless was founded in 2006 in California, uses recycled paper for the outer boxes, and makes bean-to-bar chocolate with organic ingredients and direct trade cacao from specific plantations in Brazil, with a special focus on raw cacao. All of this may or may not mean anything to you, but I think I can safely say that Fearless is full of good intentions, part of what I'm seeing as a young cohort trying to bring chocolate into the modern age more thoughtfully, with an eye toward (or blatant focus on) sustainability and treating growers well. The small-company, bean-to-bar model is one way of doing it (contrast with Divine, for example), and it's a fine option. Good for them. Fearless is also notable for its aesthetic, a combination of earthy-crunchy (recycled-looking paper boxes) and super cute, as the font is friendly, the logo is a tiny elephant, and the mold embosses the elephant and a bunch of stars on the bars and takes a “bite” out of the corner of the bar. I'd argue that the cute-ification of the raw, organic message is a great way to go, taking what might otherwise be perceived as a solidly hippie company and making it more approachable. As of last September Fearless only produced five bars, and now there are seven, so look for more from Fearless in the future.

Today's Bar: The same simple cacao and unrefined sugar, 70% like their other flavored/inclusion bars, with added matcha and peppermint. As you'll see from the link, since I bought this bar the packaging and logo have changed: The elephant now has wings, and the new bar is “Green Tea Mint.” I'm curious whether or not the bar's formula has changed as well.

Appearance: Very slightly glossy, in a pleasantly orange-ish brown, and of course Fearless's excellent molding.

Smell: A little mint, and something green-brown in not-too-strong chocolate.

Taste: Not quite my thing. The chocolate has a nice raw beaniness, but I'm not sure that's well matched by the low-level mint, and the matcha adds a sort of lingering, dusty, bitter flavor that doesn't work for me, though it might be very right for matcha fans. The texture is smooth and thick (though not ultra-smooth like many European bars), so the overall vibe is more complex than just “raw.” Still, I think matcha takes raw cacao's potential for bitterness and makes it a definite reality, and that's not the way I'd want to go.

Conclusion: Fearless 70% Matcha Green Tea Peppermynt emphasizes bitterness, and I don't think the matcha or mint bring out the best notes in the raw cacao.

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