Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate is known for their artisanal chocolate, using high-quality, organic and fair-trade cacao beans sourced from all over the world. Chocolatiers who use fair-trade cacao beans are described as bean-to-bar makers, a group of makers who place an emphasis on ethically and sustainable production practices and rely heavily on their cacao bean farmers to provide distinct beans that have been properly dried and fermented. In a world and business that has a long history of exploitation for farmers, I find this really important to note.
Ethically the values are in place for a feel-good buy. But the chocolate itself stands ahead of other national bean-to-bar competitors. Bold statement I know. But, the bars are simple in their production and layered in their flavor notes, with the beans taking center stage. Much like wine, cacao beans take on different natural flavors depending on the origin, harvesting methods and weather. And, it is clear that these chocolatiers take great care to select their beans.
On top of the taste and the ethical considerations, Dick Taylor also letterpress print each and every label on their products. We know after following Just My Type Letterpress, just how much work that really means. This is more proof that the world of small-businesses is being led by exceptionally creative people. (Check out this essay on supporting these creative Makers.)
But today I share with you Dick Taylor’s Single Origin Sipping Chocolate . Which was chocolate-sipping perfection. I made it quickly with the help of my two little guys, who were scrambling around the kitchen in excitement to taste. This batch of sipping chocolate was their 76% Ecuador Camino Verde bean, described as rich, complex, slightly acidic enhanced with rounded fruit flavors.
The chocolate is rich, much like an espresso. So it is suggested to put in an espresso cup. The boys’ cups were topped with some warm milk and handmade whipped cream – while I had mine in our one and only espresso-sized cup with some cinnamon and extra cacao nibs on top. Do be sure to try the cacao nibs, they are delicious!
The boys did not savor their sipping chocolate, they inhaled them. But, I did savor mine. And now I have many future recipe plans for Dick Taylor’s Sipping Chocolate.
What to do with cacao nibs? Alice Medrich of Food52 suggests:
1. Sprinkle nibs on vanilla (or other) ice cream for a grown-up ice cream experience.
2. Add nibs -- in addition to or instead of -- nuts in cookie recipes.
3. Make cocoa nib-infused whipped cream: Bring 1/3 cup of roasted nibs to a simmer in 1 cup of heavy cream. Off heat, cover and let steep 20 minutes and then strain the cream into a bowl and discard the nibs. Chill the cream several hours before whipping it with a little sugar to taste.
4. Sprinkle nibs on salad (as you would nuts or seeds) of arugula or other greens. You can add one or a combination of the following: currants, shaved fennel, pomegranate seeds, crumbled goat cheese, Parmesan cheese, Niçoise olives.
5. Make nibby pesto: In a mortar (or mini food processor) pulverize 1/3 cup of nibs with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a gritty paste. Add and pulverize 12 Niçoise olives and a few fresh basil leaves. Mix in another 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil and salt to taste. Serve on toasted slices of French bread, plain or topped with prosciutto or shaved Parmesan or Asiago cheese.