No city does the local, artisan, foodie scene quite like Portland, Oregon. The small, yet rapidly growing spot in the Pacific Northwest already claims one of the highest densities of microbreweries in the nation, but now it’s coming into the chocolate scene, too. Leading the way is Pitch Dark, a crafter that aims to balance old-world chocolate-making methods with new-world technology for the ultimate result. Single-origin chocolate hails from Ecuador, Nicaragua, Fiji, or Madagascar, and interesting mix-ins typically come from neighboring Portland companies. For a true dedication to quality, Pitch Dark manages every step from bean to bar in its Portland factory. Gorgeous packing and impressive products make this a great gift—for yourself or for others.
Take Pitch Dark’s Jacobsen Pinot Noir Salt, for example. The chocolatier sourced from fellow Portland native, Jacobsen Salt Co., to incorporate hand-harvested sea salt—infused with Pinot Noir from the nearby Willamette region. A scent of earthy red wine gives sophistication and mystique before even tasting. The base of 73% dark chocolate, made using Nicaragua cocoa beans, is the kind of dark chocolate you can really feel. It’s bold, velvety, and strong enough to portion control itself so you don’t inhale an entire bar. And the Pinot-tinted sea salt makes itself known, with its not-quite-sweet and not-quite-savory flavor. While opposites attract, this vino-loving bar would actually go quite well with a red wine pairing. Overall, every bite calls to be savored.
Another favorite: Pitch Dark’s Jasmine Pearl Matcha Tea and Nib. At 62% (also sourced from Nicaragua beans), it’s the lighter of the two, which allows for more subtle flavors to rise up. Portland’s Jasmine Pearl Tea Company lends finely ground matcha tea for a pleasantly earthy, yet slightly sweet, flavor. Matcha comes from young tea leaves (hence the lighter and sweeter taste, compared to a black tea), which are then dried, heated, and ground into a powder. The texture of this bar doesn’t give away its contents, as it melts just like a classic chocolate bar, but the delicious flavor comes through just the same. True to its simple quality, the ingredient list contains only the basics: cacao, sugar, cocoa butter, nibs, and matcha tea. Health meets hedonism.