Dick Taylor Solomon Islands 72%

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The Solomon Islands have a long tradition of cacao production. Unfortunately, almost none of it is considered fine or flavor-grade and most of the output goes toward the production of cosmetics. Because of this, the farmers are often paid only 70% of the commodity price for the cacao they grow. In June 2016, a group of committed agencies and chocolate makers organized the first ever Solomon Islands Chocolate Week in hopes of developing a market for fine flavor-grade cacao there. The main focus of the event was a country wide cacao contest calling for entries from all over the islands. 80+ samples were received and judged.

While much of the cacao there still needs work, there was a small handful of remarkable samples. The cacao presented in this bar is from the top scoring cacao in the contest. It was exceptionally fermented and sun-dried and came from Elsie Vota’s small family farm on the island of Guadalcanal. Dick Taylor was able to take a 25-kilo sample back to their factory to make this bar and to give us a small taste of the winning crop.

“We feel this chocolate clearly represents the vast potential for quality in the Solomon Islands and makes us hopeful for future partnerships with farmers there. We hope you share our same excitement.” - Dick Taylor Chocolate

I call this the smallest bar in the cutest package with an incredible taste. It smells strongly of dried apricot, but I can’t find any apricot upon tasting. Instead, it reminds me of a fine cow’s milk cheese that I recently tried called Harbison. The cheese is a creamy, sweet paste with notes of wood and earth. Oddly delightful, this bar was similar in texture to the soft cheese with the same sweetness and tang. Notes of clay-like minerals and cashews are especially present. It also tastes of yeast and bread with pops of tannic brightness.

I love this exclusive bar. It’s so interesting and feels like somewhat of a treasure to have. We are incredibly grateful to DT for sending us one of the very few bars they had available. I hope they can find a way to make this a permanent part of their chocolate collection.

Emily Koons