Chuao Salted Chocolate Crunch Bar

DSC01205We promise we’re not going to turn completely into a chocolate blog, but it is the time of  year when exceptional chocolate is everywhere and we just have to share it!  The latest find came at REI, for goodness sakes, the last place one might expect to see gourmet chocolate.  The cashier’s enthusiasm when he saw we had picked up this chocolate bar was an early indication we were onto something good.

The Chuao Chocolatier website’s tagline promises “unusual, unexpected & delicious chocolate”.  The “unusual, unexpected” part was evident from the chocolate bar wrapping which identified breadcrumbs as the source of the “crunch”.  We only had “delicious” to confirm, and confirm it we did.  The 60% cocoa is decadently dark and exquisitely smooth.  Had it been only a dark chocolate bar, it would have been completely satisfying.  The addition of salted breadcrumbs to the chocolate was candy-making genius.  The breadcrumbs are so small and fine they are practically invisible in the chocolate bar, but their delicate crunch is divine.  The company logo and cocoa beans embossed into the chocolate make this one beautiful candy bar.

Chuao (chew-WOW) Chocolatier was founded in 2002 by Master Chef Michael Antonorsi and his brother Richard.  DSC01214These Venezuelan brothers’ ancestors grew fine cocoa on their family farm, so chocolate is part of their heritage.  Chef Michael loved food and cooking from an early age, but pursued a business degree, then established a successful high-tech firm with Richard.  In his mid-30’s, his love for the culinary arts won out over his business career, and he took his family to Paris so he could complete classic French culinary training.  After Chef Michael finished his education, he and Richard opened their first chocolate café and boutique in Encinitas, California.  With Chef Michael’s creativity and Richard’s business skills, the venture has flourished with additional cafés and a national wholesale business.  Their success is rooted in their respect for the family’s history in the cocoa trade and their commitment to using ethically sourced cocoa from their native Venezuela.

Chef Michael has some delectable treats to tempt the adventurous chocolate-lover.  The Honeycomb Bar is a combination of caramelized honey bits and dark chocolate.  The milk chocolate Maple Bacon Bar has crispy bacon bits with a touch of maple flavor and bonfire smoked sea salt.  YUM!  There are more selections of chocolate bars, bonbons and hot chocolate to delight friends, family or yourself.  You have to check out the stylish design of the website and product packaging, and order some of this delicious chocolate or ask for it at a fine retailer.

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