In our experimental tastings in the "raw" arena, chocolate has usually proven an elusive product: often adequate but seldom sublime. But the raw treats from Oakland-based Fearless consistently come pretty close to the latter, delivering the best raw chocolate we've had to date.
While they make a variety of flavors ranging from Super Seeds (containing hemp, chia and flax) to Sweet & Hot ( hibiscus and ginger), our favorite is the straightforward Dark as Midnight, with its promise of being 75% cacao. Having tasted raw cacao on its own, we can attest that Fearless has done an amazing job developing serious flavor from just two ingredients: raw cacao and rapadura (unrefined whole cane sugar).
We studied some professionals to see how they taste chocolate, and then we tried it their way with Fearless:
1) Look. Chocolate should have a nice sheen. This one does. Clean, dark and all a-glimmer.
2) Break. You should be treated to a clean, crisp snap. Afterwards, the break should be free, or close to free, of air bubbles and have a tight grain. Again, score for Fearless, which boasts a tight grain and no visible air bubbles.
3) Smell. Smells of roast cacao and a whiff of coffee.
4) Bite, chew, and smash. Bite a piece of the chocolate off, chew it up about half way, and smash it with your tongue against the roof of your mouth.
Chocolate's flavors, like wine's, evolve as you take it in, from an initial note to a mid-palate to a last flavor and then the finish.
The Dark as Midnight tastes rich and surprisingly mellow and lush in the mouth for 75% cacao. The flavors build from a creaminess to an almost peppery intensity, with some light sparks of cherry and a touch of black raspberry. There's a consistently smooth, creamy mouth feel, not at all like the gritty raw chocolates we often find, and a pleasant lingering finish
We ate the whole bar, a rare thing for any chocolate, rarer still for a raw one. Get yours for $5.29 - $6.99 each at Rainbow Grocery, Bi-Rite, Canyon Market, Real Food, Urban Harvest, all the Whole Foods Markets, or directly online.