I wish I could write here that the Fearless' mix of organic hibiscus flower with organic ginger root took my taste buds in exotic new directions as it touched my tongue immersed in Fearless' organic 70% chocolate. But there's a silver lining here, too. Fearless is now out of business. The real tragedy would be if I gave this bar a 9.5, claiming it was one of the best chocolate bars I'd ever eaten, and you'd now never have a chance to try it!
price/gram: USD 0.093
Cocoa %: 70
Way way back in September,
OptoJay showed up in Bangkok with his wife bearing stacks of
chocolates for me to review here. To keep my waistline
within acceptable ranges, I cannot risk reviewing several
chocolate bars a week on a regular basis. This
Hibiscus Flower Ginger Root chocolate bar, manufactured by
the Fearless Chocolate Company of Berkeley, California, is
one of OptoJay's stash that got pushed back till the end of the
It is with a bittersweet note
-- no pun intended on this 70% cocoa solid bar -- that I
write this review. For the first time in the history
of the Chocolate Republic, I write a review for a chocolate
bar manufactured by a company which was no longer in
business by the time I sampled it. On December 1, just two short weeks ago,
this tearful note appeared on Fearless Chocolate's web site:
"It is with a heavy
heart we share with you that Fearless Chocolate has closed
its doors. Unfortunately the cost of scaling
operations has proved difficult to sustain this past year
and thus far we have been unable to find a partnership to
propel Fearless onward and continue the tradition. For
now we will be suspending operations and Fearless will
hibernate as we seek new opportunities."
This is all PR lingo for
"We're f'd. Sales sucked. Story over."
Apparently, the story was really over in the fall.
OptoJay must've picked up one of the last few Fearless
batches from one of his local stores in Colorado.
Fearless sourced their beans
from family-owned farms in the Mata-Atlantica Rainforests of
Bahia, Brazil. Amma Chocolate of Salvador, Brazil
turned the beans into the bars Fearless sold. The
arrangement was not unlike that of another American
who sourced their beans direct in Madagascar and had a local
chocolate manufacturer turn the product into bars for sale
in the American market. The difference is that Madecasse is
now the chic taste of the jet set and Fearless is no more
real than the Easter bunny.
Fearless started in a home
kitchen in 2006 and produced over 50 tons of cocoa and
2.3m chocolate bars by the time it shuttered 8 years later.
The mission was laudable:
all organic bars, manufactured in a low temperature
environment to provide as many raw food benefits as possible
(without being officially a raw food), infused with ethically traded superfoods like
hibiscus flowers and ginger. Sony Betamax's mission
was also laudable back in the late 1970's and early 1980's:
top quality videotape recording technology in smaller tapes.
Look what happened to them after VHS became dominant. What
took place with Fearless is probably a sign of things to
come, as more and more high quality chocolate manufacturers
crowd the market place to grab the limited shelf space in
natural food stores and supermarkets.
I wish I could write here
that the Fearless' mix of organic hibiscus flower with
organic ginger root took my taste buds in exotic new
directions as it touched my tongue immersed in Fearless'
organic 70% chocolate. The final taste of these top quality
ingredients in my mouth was decidedly average, made more so
because I was expecting so much. But there's a silver
lining here, too. Fearless is now out of business.
The real tragedy would be if I gave this bar a 9.5, claiming
it was one of the best chocolate bars I'd ever eaten, and
you'd now never have a chance to try it!
I am impressed enough with
Fearless' mission that I would have gladly gotten in line
again to purchase other bars to see if their chocolate grew
on me. Not only was every Fearless bar organic, Direct
Trade, Kosher, gluten free, soy free, GMO free, vegan, and
manufactured with recyclable wrapper, the company gave
a bite-size portion of their proceeds to Champion
Changemakers nominated by their customers. A
changemaker was defined as an organization or individual
"positively manifesting change through embodied action."
The changemaker Fearless really needed was a big pocketed
investor loving organic Brazilian rainforest chocolate.
I'll toast Fearless' memory
as I bite into tomorrow's
Italian chocolate. Even the fearless meet a bitter end