Chocolate Solstice

Good Bite

BY AVIEL KANTER SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY MAR 24, 2017

It's hard not to love every dreamy aspect of Map Chocolate Co.'s square bits of people-crafted, "bean-to-bar," artisan chocolate varietals—so we'll start from the outside and work our way in. First thing's first: packaging. Mackenzie Rivers, the one-(wo)man-band behind Oregon-based Map, makes everything herself, from sourcing and cutting the intricately detailed paper wrapping, to designing the band that holds the bar together and everything thereafter. Then there's the genius naming conventions: take Nightswimming, for example, whose alluring cursive description reads, "Dark milk 60% Belize, dreamy hints of moonlight and friends." Unravel the crisp paper to discover a hand-written note (aka "bar notes") that doesn't just give you the straight and narrow flavor profile. No—a whimsical, poetic musing makes its way into you hand, chronicling the origin story of the bar and the sensory delights that one associates with it ("This dark milk bar has something to say, but it doesn't say it in the same old chocolate way...Take a long ride and don't look back. Ask her anyway...Take that dive and do not fear, because this one, despite a dark and snappy bite, has no scary drop off."). Finally, the chocolate itself: a hand-made mold makes an exquisite mandala design on the deeply fragrant bar, and, the best part—it's just insanely delicious, plain and simple. And there could be no more perfect union than that between Map Chocolate and Buttermilk, purveyors and makers of all things both small batch and delectable. Oh, and why "nightswimming," you ask? As Rivers writes: "Because some things your mother warned you against have been the best things you've ever done."

 

Buttermilk Handcrafted Food, 5520 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota, 941-487-8949.

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