If you’re a beer drinker with a penchant for dark beers on the stronger side of things, you’re probably well-versed in barrel-aged chocolate stouts. There’s something impeccable about the combination of flavors and techniques that result in such a drink. But what happens when you remove the beer part of the equation? As it turns out, barrel-aging chocolate itself is picking up popularity among both confectioners and aficionados of savory sweets.
The Academy of Chocolate, an organization founded in Britain in 2005, awarded several of its 2022 honors to chocolates aged in barrels, including Paul & Mike‘s 72% Barrel-Aged Vegan Dark Wine Chocolate, Askinosie Chocolate‘s 70% Barrel-Aged Dark Chocolate Bar and Honoka’a Chocolate Co‘s Barrel Aged And Infused Bourbon Bar and their Barrel Aged And Infused Rum Bar.
In a new article for Eater, Marci Vaughn Kolt explored the growing appeal of barrel-aged chocolate. Kolt describes the experience of eating chocolate aged in Scotch barrels, writing that “I tasted hints of peat smoke from the Laphroaig single malt barrel the cacao lived in for three years.” If you’re fond of both chocolate and a good single malt, it probably goes without saying why this flavor combination is appealing.
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Kolt’s article points out two reasons why the idea of barrel-aging chocolate is having a moment right now. The first is the natural tendency of chocolate to absorb other flavors — which explains why it takes to barrel aging so well. The second is that chocolate producers are still looking into new ways to barrel age what they’ve made — which suggests more innovations to come. The article provides a good overview for a growing part of the industry — and some pointers for places to look to explore new developments there.
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