It's been ages since we've talked about chocolate here — just about two years ago I reviewed a handful of bars, and then nothing since. I've gone right on eating chocolate, nearly every day. This month I've been working my way through several winter-themed bars, including the two peppermint stick bars under consideration today. For regular, non-candy-cane peppermint + chocolate, my favorites are usually Dolfin Noir Aux Feuilles de Menthe, which I nearly never get my hands on, or Divine's Mint Dark Chocolate, my "everyday" chocolate mint. Madecasse's Peppermint, which they have reissued as a limited edition again this year, is also quite good (and I am still trying to find a bar of their other holiday flavor for 2015, Orange Cranberry).
But today, we're doing peppermint sticks. Vosges makes a lovely Peppermint Candy Cane bar but they sold out this year before I ever laid eyes on one. So, on my plate at the moment: Taza's Peppermint Stick and Chuao's Peace, Love & Peppermint.
If you have a favorite chocolate mint bar, or ANY favorite chocolate you'd like to discuss, do comment!
Taza Peppermint Stick
Taza's Peppermint Stick is a stone-ground organic chocolate bar, and if you've never had a Taza bar, the texture might charm you, and then again it might not: I love the sensation of having the chocolate and gritty sugar melt together in my mouth, and their round disks, ground with flavors from coffee to cinnamon to chili to almond, and wrapped in folded paper, are staples in my house. This bar, with 60% dark chocolate, is not round, I do not know why, and while it's delicious, it isn't quite what I expected. The peppermint stick is likewise ground, so you don't get any chewy pieces, and it doesn't really taste like your standard commercial candy cane anyway. A sensation of heat from the mint does build up after a bite or two, and it is delicious, but it isn't really what I'm looking for in a candy cane bar. (Their Spiced Eggnog disks, though, are perfect, and highly recommended.)
The Taza Peppermint Stick bar is $6 for 70g, although you can find them for less online.
Chuao Chocolatier Peace, Love & Peppermint
Like the Taza, this one is 60% cacao, and also like the Taza, this bar only appears around the holiday season (it was first introduced in 2014). But in this case the chocolate is smooth as can be, with decent sized bits of candy cane — exactly the sort of candy canes children used to get in their stockings at Christmas. There is just the right amount of mint flavor, and they're decently chewy. I am very good about chocolate, usually: I eat about 1/4 to 1/5 of a bar every day after lunch. Twice now, I've gobbled down a half of one of these without even noticing.
I'm a big fan of Chuao in general, but should note that not everyone is: my sister ordered a bunch of bars after I recommended them, and she did not care for their base chocolate, which I assume is Venezuelan. So maybe try one before you order a case. The brand's two other holiday flavors this year, neither of which I've tried, are Hope, Joy & Gingerbread and Caramel Apple Crush. And if you like Green & Black's Maya Gold, do try the similar bar from Chuao, Spicy Maya. It is excellent with a cup of hot chai tea.
Chuao Peace, Love & Peppermint is $6 for 80g. The brand offers coupons from time to time; I got this bar at half price during a holiday sale.