Craft chocolate has an ability to get even the most passive eater interested in what could possibly be seen as a mundane subject - in this case, alternative natural sweeteners.
Here we have 3 of the trendier sweeteners found in chocolate, before dehydration of course.
Why are these so popular?
Because of the additional and distinct layer of flavour each presents. It's difficult to mask the natural notes of these 3. Here's what you will 'usually' find in a chocolate made with one of these:
-🍁Maple : An unmistakable caramel/toffee sweetness, which stays on the palate long after the chocolate has disappeared. Depending on the cacao percentage, it may be slightly over powering but pleasantly so.
- 🍯Honey : Usually the texture will hit you first, as honey bars tend to have a fudgy, softer texture. Likely that you won't get a hard snap here. I find that most honey bars overwhelm the cacao notes, but it really depends on the type of honey too (honey varieties are more numerous than cacao!) ⚠️If you don't like the slight musky notes that many honeys, particularly wild or dark honeys have, you may want to avoid this. Or at least, check the type of honey used by the chocolate maker.(tip: acacia & sunflower are safe neutral bets. Avoid heathers, pine, forest)
- 🍫Cacao Syrup : A newbie compared to the other 2, cacao syrup has a tangy, fruit vinegar note. The thinnest texture of the 3, but the punchiest. A close description is sweet balsamic vinegar. If you like acidity in your chocolate, you will relish this sweetener in your bar.
It isn't easy to use these sweeteners as they each have their challenges, particularly around moisture. So, if you get a great bar, you should definitely appreciate the Gandalf level skills of the maker.🧙♂️ 😜 Personally, I'd love for more vegan 'milk' bars to use these. A honey-oat bar, or a cacao syrup-coconut bar, would be a dream.
My favourites for maple sugar bars are from Oregan based Ranger Chocolates and for cacao syrup, Brazilian chocolate wizard Bruno of Casa Lasevicious makes a stunning bar. using this tasty liquor.
Curious about these? If you would like to discover these one-of-a-kind chocolates, come to one of my tastings.