Tag Archives: 80%

Celebrating the New, and the Longstanding

I JUST GOT SOME EXCITING NEWS from my recently departed Aikido instructor, who has settled into his new place in Middlebury, Vermont. Today I got an invitation to visit the new Aikido Yoshokai Vermont Facebook page. Classes begin in September!

Our new Vermont dojo sensei (center) at a black belt test demonstration.

Our new Vermont dojo sensei (center) at a black belt test demonstration.

(By the way, if you visit that page, the current main photo is from our Rec & Ed class. The new Vermont dojo sensei is second from right, and our new Rec & Ed instructor is leftmost. Yours truly is second from left.)

Another recent milestone occurred last Sunday, as mother celebrated her 80th birthday. It also happened to be Bastille Day, another excellent reason to sit around and eat stuff. Vive La France et passe le chocolat!

My mom, her three kids, and my wife (the awesome cake maker).

My mom, her three kids, and my wife (the awesome cake maker).

Naturally, I wanted to suggest we all go for a refreshing five-mile run, followed by dinner at a nice vegetarian place with lots of nutrient dense organic goodies, with yummy carob tofu pudding for dessert. (Those of you who want to believe that, please stop reading here.) So after stuffing our faces at our favorite Middle Eastern place, we repaired to our house for cake and ice cream.

This most definitely does not show up in any "10 Healthiest Foods for Runners" list. Tough rocks.

This most definitely does not show up in any “10 Healthiest Foods for Runners” list. Tough rocks.

This plain yellow cake with a thick, fudgy dark chocolate frosting is her favorite cake and was also my favorite cake growing up. The frosting is made with lots of butter and confectioner’s sugar, and leftover frosting can be eaten by itself as fudge. It gets laid on thick so we can eat the cake layers first and leave the frosting standing by itself. Can’t beat it.


Now I can’t say that Mom is the same kind of exercise nut that her son might be, but she does get around.

"It's the little old lady from Pasadena Dexter Township"

“It’s the little old lady from Pasadena Dexter Township!”

Thanks again, Mom, for bringing me into the world, and for not taking me out those times I most assuredly deserved it.

The Amateur Chocoholic Reviews: Madecasse 80% Chocolate Bar

Madecasse 80 percent - front wrapper“AT MADECASSE we pay farmers a fair price for their cocoa. Then we do something unheard of. We make our chocolate in Madagascar. This creates 4 TIMES the impact of fair trade cocoa.”

Where I got it: Whole Foods, Ann Arbor MI
Price: $4.99 for 2.64 oz. (75g)
Cocoa percentage: 80%
Website:  http://www.madecasse.com
Reviewed by: T.A.C. (Jeff)  and Rachel (D.o.T.A.C.)

While signing over my paycheck at Whole Foods in exchange for lunch, I caught sight of this bar at the checkout counter. I am usually immune to the siren call of such things, but dark chocolate is the exception. And hey, how can I resist helping cocoa farmers four times more?

Story (from the website):

The founders of Madecasse were Peace Corps volunteers in Madagascar, who “fell in love with the country and people and wanted to do more,” and settled on making chocolate, with an extra twist. Africa grows the majority of the world’s cocoa, but very little (the site says less than one percent) is made into chocolate there, so they decided to go “bean-to-bar in Madagascar,” as the wrapper says.

“Our products represent that personal connection to the island,” the site says, “a deeper understanding of the rich and complex flavors hidden inside the varieties of cocoa, vanilla and peppercorns found exclusively in Madagascar. The result is unique, satisfying products unlike anything you’ve tasted before.” (The chocolate bar does not contain any actual vanilla or peppercorns, so I’m assuming the flavor notes are picked up from the soil.)

MORE: How Chocolate Gets Its Taste (from The Chocolate Life blog)


Madecasse 80 percent - back wrapperThe simple, rustic-looking wrapper with appealing green-on-cream easily caught my eye. An interesting feature of this wrapper is that it opens like an envelope, so you don’t need to tear it apart. The gold foil inside wrapper added a touch of elegance.

The chocolate has a subdued sheen, and a cocoa pod is stamped into each of the individual sections.


A slow but even melt in the mouth that releases the intense flavor gradually (a good thing). Very smooth mouthfeel.


The wrapper claims “strong and complex” and the chocolate lives up to it. With an 80% cocoa content I expected, and got, an intense cocoa flavor. Sucking on a section allowed me to taste all the various flavors, while chewing one brought out the mild sweetness primarily. I am not sure which I prefer. I got a hint of vanilla as promised, but could not pick up any “peppercorny” flavors. I also got an intense fruitiness which ended in an almost sour aftertaste. I believe many people will enjoy this (and Rachel did), but I personally do not.

The Bottom Line

Jeff’s Rating:……..★★★☆☆ (3 out of 5 stars)
Rachel’s Rating:…★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)

This is a very smooth and intensely flavored chocolate, as promised. If you prefer a “brighter” flavor profile, by all means give this bar a try. I give it three stars only due to personal taste preference, not to any flaws in the chocolate.

The maker’s approach to helping African farmers is laudable, and if that means a lot to you, that’s another reason to try this brand. The more support we can give to fair trade practices, the better, as far as I’m concerned.


NOTE: The Amateur Chocoholic (a.k.a. “T.A.C.”) is my new moniker for such reviews. (This replaces the “Quickie Chocolate Reviews” postings.)

Did you like this review? How can it be made better? Would you like to see more? Let me know.