Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Theo 3400 Phinney Bars

3400 Phinney Dark Chocolate BarsI tried the Theo Chocolate BonBons earlier this year and have had the bars sitting around for a while. I’m feeling quite pressured to eat them all (though they need to be savored) before Los Angeles gets so hot it bursts into flames (oops, we’re already on fire).

Theo makes chocolate from bean to bar (actually roasting their own beans on site) using fair trade and organic ingredients. Don’t let all that squishy-hippy stuff fool you, this is quality stuff without compromise.

Theo Dark BarEven the wrappers are sassy and fun (designed by KittenChops) instead of making you feel like you did a good deed. Come on! Half the fun is feeling that your chocolate bar is an indulgence ... a wrapper that tells you how many lives you may have saved, how many species will continue to exist because of your support ... all the wonderful skin-clarifying, artery-blasting ingredients that are contained within might be nice (and might get you to buy it) but they aren’t going to get your salivary glands going.

The dark bars contain 65% cocoa solids, so these are dark, but not too intense.

  • Bread & Chocolate Dark Chocolate: An innovative twist on a traditional pairing, featuring dark chocolate with buttery, toasted artisan breadcrumbs and the perfect amount of salt. This is less of a candy bar and more of a savory treat. The dark chocolate is very dark with strong smoke notes and tobacco flavors ... then there is the little crisp, which is the bread part. It’s kind of like buttery Townhouse crackers and rich chocolate. Very creamy, but also kind of dry.

  • Coffee Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate and a robust locally-roasted organic, Fair-Trade-Certified(tm) coffee combine to create a full-bodied flavor. This is a deep dark bar with some serious coffee in it. Though I love coffee and chocolate, this just isn’t for me. The coffee is very strong and kind of acidic ... just overwhelming. If you’re looking for a serious choco-coffee jolt, this might be it.

  • Nib Brittle Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate with organic roasted cocoa nibs in sweet and crunchy brittle.  This was by far my favorite. The dark chocolate supports the deep berry flavors of the nibs and caramelized sugar crunch that coat them. The nibs were smooth and crunchy without a hint of fibery chew or bitterness. Very different from the Scharffen Berger nibby bar, Theo doesn’t have that acidity ... just smooth and with the mellow crunch of the sugared nibs.
  • 3400 Phinney Milk Chocolate BarsThe Theo Chocolate bars are actually called 3400 Phinney Bars, named after the address of the Theo Chocolate Factory in Seattle. Not only are they not afraid of you knowing where they are, they actually welcome visitors and offer tours with tastings, of course, as well as a factory store. I’m hoping to get up there next fall to really dive into their complete chocolate experience.

    The Milk Chocolate bars boast 40% cacao content, so they’re pretty rich.

    Theo Milk Bar

  • Vanilla Milk Chocolate: A harmonious blend of finely ground Madagascar vanilla bean and milk chocolate. A perfectly simple milk chocolate bar with lovely and bold notes of vanilla and hints of tobacco, caramel and woodsy cedar.

  • Chai Milk Chocolate: Milk chocolate with a warming blend of chai spices and black tea. This was a great mellow bar. The spices weren’t too strong, the chocolate creamy and smooth and not too sweet (some real chai is far too sweet for me). A great combination.

  • Coconut Curry Milk Chocolate: Milk chocolate with toasted coconut and savory curry spices. This is a seriously savory curry bar with light little crunchy chips of toasted coconut. It gave my lips quite a burn long after I was done with it.
  • All the bars a welcome change from the ordinary candy bar. The two I would find myself munching on regularly would be the Nib Brittle and Chai Milk Chocolate. They are expensive though, so only for special occasions. I could see tucking these into a special picnic at Pt. Dume or going to the Hollywood Bowl for a concert, but I just can’t buy them every day ... but knowing that the cocoa is grown responsibly (socially & environmentally) would help me pony up the dough.

    You can find the bars online at Theo, Chocosphere and at stores like Whole Foods. The bars are

    not Kosher certified

    now Kosher (as of March 2008).

    Related Candies

    1. 3400 Phinney: Fig, Fennel & Almond and Hazelnut Crunch
    2. Zotter Candy Bars
    3. Theo Confections
    4. Vosges Haut-Chocolate
    Name: 3400 Phinney Bars
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Theo Chocolate
    Place Purchased: samples from Theo
    Price: retail $3.25 each
    Size: 2 ounces
    Calories per ounce: varies
    Categories: Chocolate, Cookie, Coffee, Nibs, Coconut, United States, Theo, Fair Trade, Organic

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:13 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

    1. I tried two of these bars recently - the Chai and Curry. I love Chai flavors, so that one made me happy. The Curry coconut, however, blew me away. In a good way. I didn’t find mine too hot, but the textures and flavors were amazing. I’ve enjoyed other curry-choco combos, but this puts them all to shame. I never thought I’d like curry and choco so much.

      Theo’s BonBons are at the top of my favorites list - and I have tried a lot of high end chocolates.

      I adore your blog, but it makes me a bit sad that these and the Guittard Quetzalcoatl bars rate the same as the Hubba Bubba Sour Gummi Tape, which you did not seem that enthusiastic about….

      Comment by Kate on 5/09/07 at 10:34 am #
    2. I will admit to being very skeptical about the Coconut Curry bar but after trying it was sold completely.  A very interesting pairing (my first curry and chocolate encounter) and one I am looking forward to again.  Also had the Bread and Chocolate and was less enthusiastic about that one.

      And all of these from their 25 year old head chocolatier.  I hoping for many years of new creations from this woman.

      Comment by Hooby on 5/09/07 at 5:30 pm #
    3. I think I have to track some of these down. Especially the curry milk chocolate for my roommate. She’ll be indebted to me forever if I get her one of those.

      Comment by g on 5/11/07 at 5:26 am #
    4. wow, those are some seriously handsome chocolate bars

      Comment by Adam on 5/11/07 at 6:20 am #
    5. Cybele's avatar

      Kate - candies are rated based on how good they are at what they’re attempting and their price. So some mockolate that’s 25 cents could get the same number rating as a single origin bonbon that costs $2.50 each. Part of it is based simply on expectations.

      The Theo Confections are definitely way up there because of the wonderful fresh flavors that are well worth the price.

      Hooby - definitely keep your eye on this company. I tried some other BonBons from them back in January at a party (infused wtih tea) that were also fantabulous.

      g - always good to curry favor with your roommates (haahahahahahahah!)

      adam - thanks, they’re fun to photograph and eat.

      Comment by Cybele on 5/11/07 at 1:03 pm #
    6. I have 3 of those bars in my chocolate ‘queue’, that I’m trying to get through as well before the melt-down of summer.
      Unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, people keep bringing me more and more chocolate bars. I’ve got a stack of Green & Black and another of Richard Donnelly’s that just arrived this week.


      Comment by David on 5/15/07 at 9:23 am #
    7. I saw these today at my local co-op, and remembered reading a review here, but of course I couldn’t remember the details of the review! [what, it’s only been 9 or 10 months?] Anyway, I bought the nib brittle bar. I’m enjoying it, but the chocolate doesn’t quite have the complexity of some bars. I came this >< close to buying the curry one, but decided I would check your review first. I’ll definitely pick one up next time I’m there!

      Comment by Tricia on 3/20/08 at 9:00 am #
    8. If you haven’t made it up to Seattle to come here you have got to…!

      I haven’t gone on the factory tour yet but inside the shop, they let you taste ANYTHING that they’re selling and don’t care how much of them you eat!

      They even sell the cocoa nibs by the pound… half pound ... whatever!! so if you really enjoy that part, one time when I was there someone said that they put it in their morning oatmeal for that crunchy not quite chocolate… taste.

      I love the bread and chocolate one… and I love taste testing all of the dark chocolates in the Theo line. They’re fantastic.

      Comment by Mione on 3/21/08 at 7:57 pm #
    9. Thanks for the love guys!!

      Wanted to let you know that our bars and nibs are now Kosher certified. (Kosher Dairy)

      Also, we have two great new phinney flavors out this year so seek them out if you haven’t yet! Hazelnut Crunch Milk Chocolate (or hazelnut crack - it is that addictive) and Fig, Fennel & Almond Dark Chocolate (another vegan friendly number!)

      All the best,

      Comment by Kiki Kane on 6/06/08 at 6:50 am #
    10. Cybele's avatar

      Thanks Kiki - I did review the two new bars and announce the Kosher certification back in March. (But I’ve updated this post with the Kosher info.)

      Comment by Cybele on 6/06/08 at 9:43 am #
    11. Kiki- I’ve been searching and searching for the new bars, to no avail. I’m in Northern California. Will they show up at Whole Foods?

      Comment by KateC on 6/06/08 at 9:59 am #
    12. The Hawthorne Fred Meyer in Portland now carries some of the Theo line, including the oddly enticing Bread & Chocolate bar. Yay Freddy’s!

      Comment by Liz/pdx on 9/11/08 at 7:08 pm #
    13. It’s interesting, I like all three of the flavored dark bars very much.  The Bread & Chocolate flavor is actually my favorite.  The one thing you don’t mention in your tasting notes is that it is salty.  That seems to make a huge difference in the taste for me, reminding me a chocolate version of salted caramels.

      Comment by K on 9/17/08 at 4:18 pm #
    14. The bread & chocolate one has a slight taste of potting soil to it. Not bad, just a little unexpected.

      Comment by celly on 1/14/10 at 10:24 am #
    15. I iam interested with your candys products,I would like to try selling in my country by reatill,if you dont mind can ,I get some samples where I can selection then I rty to make order

      Comment by yudhi renhas on 9/30/11 at 11:17 am #
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