Cup & Bar w/ Ranger Chocolate
Ranger Chocolate teamed up with Trailhead Coffee Roasters to create Portland's first coffee and chocolate tasting room. Think cafe culture where ethically sourced, small-batch coffee meets handmade, deeply flavorful chocolate. They also serve food dishes and other libations.
When we made our plans for Portland we weren't sure how many chocolate makers we would be able to visit, nor were we aware that Ranger had a cafe connected to their factory until we were speaking with some locals. With little time left in town, we decided to quickly stop in. We were pleased with their beautiful space and menu options.
Unfortunately, chocolate wasn't being made that day and no one from Ranger was in the cafe or factory, but we were able to take a few photos and try the drinking chocolate. It was served to us on a beautiful wooden slat with seltzer water and whipped cream. We have never experienced being served seltzer water alongside our drinking chocolate so it took us a minute to figure out its purpose. It turns out that it is quite the refreshing break from such a rich experience.
It seems that Ranger works mostly with Peruvian cacao and I'd love to learn why they have chosen to do so. My best guess is that they have visited Peru and wanted to use cacao that they have a more personal connection with. We aren't very familiar with tasting Ranger as we only were able to sample it the one time at Cacao in Portland, but we left with a few small samples of their bars so here is our ever-so-tiny review:
Starting with their Piura 70%; it tastes of buttered toast and sour buttermilk. I enjoy it as these are tasting notes I don't usually find in chocolate. Their Tumbus 73% is milder with subtle notes of honey and coffee, perfect for drinking chocolate. The Chulucanas 80% jumped out with indescribable flavors. What I can discern are hints of walnut, earth, and tobacco. Salitral 72% has light floral notes with that sour buttermilk flavor again. Their one and only Haiti bar, Nord 75% is leathery and earthy with the smallest hint of green apple. The texture of their chocolate is smooth and enjoyable across the board. I'd love to see some new origins from them in the future and look forward to doing more in-depth reviews someday.