/ Doug's Chocolate Republic /
Review: Dagoba New Moon
Dagoba New Moon
Posted: 1 October 2014
The New Moon is the perfect bar to bring me back into the Dagoba fold. It's not a gimmick bar. Really, it just a dark chocolate bar, made with organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar, and organic cacao butter. Dagoba calls itself temple of the gods. Even if that temple is the Hollywood crafted variety you see for amusement park attractions at Universal Studios, you can still admire the craftsmanship.
price/gram: USD 0.045
Cocoa %: 74
It's been a long, long time
since Dagoba showed its chocolatey face at the Chocolate
Republic. Four years almost to the day. I have
my reasons. The original Dagoba bars reviewed
here weren't as splendiferous as the hype led on. And
a lot more importantly, I couldn't get my hands on Dagoba
bars even if I wanted to.
Well, a new moon has risen
here at the Chocolate Republic Or should I say,
Optojay just happened to have brought along a Dagoba bar
during his ten-day September vacation to Thailand. I
can count my lucky stars and satellites. The Dagoba New Moon
bar he brought was not one I'd previously reviewed.
To refresh your memory if you
read any of my prior
Dagoba reviews or to educate you if you haven't, the Dagoba
operation was set up by
Frederick Schilling in 2001. In retrospect, Schilling showed up with Dagoba at precisely the right time. Consumers had
started exposing their taste buds to better chocolate, but
there was not yet a plethora of higher end chocolate
operators meeting the demand. Dagoba's then unusual
flavor combinations got it much needed press, and newly
minted chocophiles started pronouncing it some of the best
chocolate on the planet. This was all around 2003.
Did Dagoba deserve its
reputation? Probably. Remember, there were much
fewer organic chocolate makers dedicated to the craft of
really fine chocolate in the early 2000's. It was
easier to stand out if you were good. In 2006,
Hershey bought out Dagoba and folded it into its Artisan
Confections Company where it's been ever since.
Four years on since my
original Dagoba reviews, I'd have to conclude that Schilling
made the right decision to offload his company. I'm sure he
had his misgivings that Hershey would cut corners on the
brand he handcrafted. What lone entrepreneur wouldn't
when staring in the face of a megaconglomerate? However, by the time 2006 rolled
around, Schilling must have seen the voracious competition
that was sprouting up all over the terroir like finely
shaded cacao plants, many from brands
that were birthed at around the same time as his own but
just starting to get major press. It's got to be a
whole lot harder to get your organic chocolate bars placed
in an American Whole Foods today than it was back in the
early 2000's, and if your brand is starting to pull the
stores less money than other upstarts like
Chuao, Whole Foods
has no qualms ousting you for whatever is current. With Hershey's
huge financial backing, Dagoba wouldn't have to suffer that
fate. Hershey could get the bars placed in a lot more
stores than Whole Foods. Schilling took his chances.
He sold his brand before it became tremendously big to
minimize the risks of it becoming completely
The New Moon is the
perfect bar to bring me back into the Dagoba fold.
It's not a gimmick bar akin to many of Dagoba's more popular
offerings or many of the ones Chuao is famous for hawking.
Really, it just a dark chocolate bar, made with organic
cacao beans, organic cane sugar, and organic cacao butter.
The beans and the cacao butter are also certified as being
from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.
For a 74% bar, the taste
isn't extremely bitter. Could that be due to the tenth
of a percent of milk Dagoba adds, a very strange addition
for a bar clearly in dark chocolate territory. I guess
with organic and Rainforest Alliance labels on it, there was
no need to go for the vegan label, too. This was a
smooth dark chocolate bar those new to dark chocolate taste
experiences could rally behind. I found it more
palatable than Green & Black's
70% bar, a bar I
previously praised here.
I'm still keen to someday
sample Dagoba's more famous blends. I assume their
Xocolatl bar uses the same dark chocolate base as the New
Moon -- both are 74%'s -- but with chilies and other spices
added. If the New Moon on its own could perform this
well, then the Xocolatl would likely rank even higher and is
probably a better gauge at assessing what all the fuss was
ever about with Dagoba.
Dagoba calls itself temple of the gods. Even if that temple is the Hollywood crafted
variety you see for amusement park attractions at Universal Studios, you can still admire the craftsmanship.