Photo by Jackie Donnelly via Spice & Ink
Jean Thompson, CEO of Seattle Chocolates, created jcoco as a luxury chocolate bar line. (The "j" stands for Jean.) It has several memorable flavor pairings, my favorite of which is this unique white chocolate bar with cayenne spice and orange oil.
I admit that I’ve grown weary of heat in chocolate. I feel like it’s been overdone, boosted way back in 2000 with the movie “Chocolat,” when Juliette Binoche’s character, a nomadic chocolatier, makes Mayan Hot Chocolate (drinking chocolate with hot peppers). 16 years later, it’s still trending. While it’s a classic pairing that will likely not go out of vogue anytime soon, it isn’t something I gravitate toward anymore.
That said, I decided to try this bar simply because it came in my initial Chococurb box. Also, I’m on a white chocolate kick. So few craft chocolate companies really nail a great white chocolate, but I’m happy to report that jcoco does it with aplomb. This particular white has such a unique blend of flavor inclusions, too. It’s very balanced; no single ingredient dominates. First a sweet orange flavor hits you, but in a dreamy, almost lighthearted way. Then comes the vanilla with the richness of the cocoa butter adding depth to the orange, with a subtle warmth of cayenne pulling up the rear. The cayenne is never overwhelming or intimidating, only artfully balancing its flavor against the citrus and vanilla for a perfect ménage à trois. There’s even a hint of salt at the finish.
Not only is the flavor luscious, but so is the presentation. Solid, bold-colored, luxury-brand packaging with three one-ounce portion-control bars inside, each wrapped in artistic paper and copper foil. The molded designs on the bars are elegant, and the thickness and texture of the bars are perfect for proper tasting.
This woman-owned business has also put time and care into making its bars all-natural, gluten-free, kosher, and non-GMO, as well as giving back to the community with sales from each bar. Even the price is reasonable for a gobsmackingly great luxury bar with all natural ingredients.
Don’t take my word for it, though. Get a few bars for yourself—and for gifts.