Among the delicious chocolate bars landed from the USA via my content contributor in North Carolina (see here my previous post about French Broad Chocolates), Maverick Chocolate is certainly a name that any fine chocolate expert might find unbelievable to be on the market for less than three years and doing so well.
Without further ado, I will briefly explain why I am convinced that Paul Picton, Maverick Chocolate’s founder, offers quality chocolates that have nothing to envy to the best names in the actual worldwide arena, not only in the US.
Before digging into the details of my product review about two of Maverick Chocolate dark bars, let’s get a little information about the origins and the idea behind the company.
Cincinnati-based mechanical aviation engineer Paul Picton saw the realization of his chocolate realm thanks to both desire and inspiration.
The desire was a need for higher independence after years working as an engineer, both with companies and as a freelance consultant. The sentiment was nurtured by the fact that the history of his family line all demonstrated an entrepreneurial and artisan spirit.
The inspiration eventually spun Paul’s business intuition in 2013, when his son Ben not only gave him a bar of Askinosie Chocolate as a present but even suggested the father visit the company in Springfield, Missouri. To complete the picture, Paul’s wife Marlene had always enjoyed trying new chocolate bars that Paul purchased during his business trips in Paris, France.
Over the few days following the visit to Askinosie’s factory, Paul could just not stop thinking about chocolate! Since then, Paul and Marlene seriously considered the idea of making chocolate themselves. So they first started discussing online and then meeting with other chocolate makers, sampled many different chocolates and enrolled in Ecole Chocolat’s Bean-to-Bar chocolate-making course. Afterward, they purchased used equipment from Potomac Chocolate, ordered beans online and devoted themselves to relentless chocolate-making work for weeks.
Since the results shared with friends and neighbors were more than unexpectedly positive, the pair actively pursued a location to establish as their chocolate facility and found a deal in Findlay Market, in the Greater Cincinnati area.
The final step was the approval of their business plan in the early December of the very year 2013. And… the rest is history!
In 2015, Maverick Chocolate seized two international awards:
- Good Food Award Winner for the Fahrenheit 513 bar
- International Chocolate Awards Silver Medal for the Prohibition Milk Chocolate bar
You can look into the whole Maverick Chocolate making process HERE.
Picton’s family handcraft the bars in small batches. They operate on a Direct Trade model, purchasing the cacao beans without brokers, so that the cooperatives of farmers with which they deal receive over $500 per metric ton above the market price. That means that the cacao farmers are rewarded a cut above the prize they would receive with the FairTrade certification system.
Maverick also works in co-operation with other craft chocolate makers to import cacao from the farms into the US. The current bean origins are from Belize, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Peru. Moreover, the company constantly looks for new sources of beans to add to the portfolio.
One of the first things any good chocolate lover would observe before giving up their senses on the endless theobroma shades is certainly the packaging. Even more so, as chocolate blogger Sharon Terenzi commented upon on her blog post “Chocolate Bar Design: the Opening Act”, the opening part of the chocolate case is a kind of ritual passage. As such, some chocolate makers understand better than others the great attention to detail their true chocoholics dedicate to the moment just before the tasting.
From this perspective, Maverick Chocolate hit the spot. Not only do the elegant black and red chocolate cases illustrate eye-catching vintage drawings of aviation subjects (reminding of Paul Picton’s background as an aviation engineer), but the side opening packaging resembles that of a lady’s purse. Thus killing two birds with one stone: to entice both the male interest in aviation representations and the female one in the classy act of opening a small purse.
My tasting included four chocolate bars:
63% Morropon Dark Chocolate
Ingredients: organic cocoa beans, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter.
A single-origin dark chocolate bar made with Piura White Criollo Cacao.
Tasting notes: sweet, nutty aroma with ripe red berry flavors. Very smooth, as only a typical Criollo chocolate bar can be, with intense flavor notes of caramel and molasses.
82% Tumbes Dark Chocolate
Ingredients: organic cocoa beans and organic cane sugar.
A single-origin dark chocolate bar made with cacao from another Peruvian location.
Tasting notes: deep, rich flavor of intense cocoa with hints of molasses and fruit. The flavor of molasses was less intense than the 62% Morropon chocolate bar.
65% Espresso Dark Chocolate
Ingredients: organic cocoa beans, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, organic coffee beans.
A dark chocolate bar made with espresso coffee beans from Deeper Roots Coffee and a blend of cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic* and Peru.
Tasting notes: a perfect balance between the earthier cacao flavors and the gently roasted coffee, releasing a moderate to low sweetness, and a silky mouth-feel.
60% Dark Milk Chocolate
Ingredients: organic cocoa beans, organic cane sugar, whole milk powder, organic cocoa butter, whole Madagascar vanilla beans.
A dark milk chocolate bar made from the robust Dominican Republic* cacao, lightly sweetened with whole milk powder, organic cane sugar, and a touch of Madagascar vanilla beans.
Tasting notes: solid, earthy dark chocolate with notes of citrus and black tea.
* = Maverick Chocolate sources its Dominican Republic cacao beans from the nearly 200-year-old plantation Hacienda Elvesia.
All in all, Maverick Chocolate is something to go for seconds. A non-secondary sensory detail that chocoholics would love about these bars is the thickness fulfilling the most craving cocoa palate.
Waiting for new tastings of this fine chocolate brand, my attention for the next time goes to their white chocolate.
Where to find Maverick Chocolate
- Visit the factory: http://maverickchocolate.com/visit/
- Online shop (only within the US): http://maverickchocolate.com/shop-square/
- List of American retailers: http://maverickchocolate.com/retailers/
- Bespoke Post shop (shipping only to US, Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada): https://www.bespokepost.com/products/brands/mavericks-chocolate