Appetizers

You won’t believe the flavors this Auburn-based company is putting in its chocolate bars

Let’s start with just three flavors of Gracias Chocolate and then taste-test the other six.
Let’s start with just three flavors of Gracias Chocolate and then taste-test the other six. apierleoni@sacbee.com

We couldn’t decide if we liked the lavender-honey-almond best, or the sour cherry-pistachio. Or maybe the olive-date-thyme, or perhaps the marriage of truffle oil and black salt. Still, there were five other flavors of small-batch, free-trade artisan Gracias Chocolate to sample, and we were hoping the taste test would last into the night.

The combinations of unusual flavors and ingredients in premium dark chocolate (with cocoa butter) is the signature of the fledgling Auburn-based company, owned and operated by Jessica Osterday of Granite Bay. “Chocolate is such a dynamic experience and offers a wide palate (in which) to experiment and create unique flavor profiles,” Osterday said.

One unique quality of the chocolate itself is its texture. It contains no emulsifiers (such as lecithin), which give most chocolates their characteristic smoothness. Instead, Osterday’s has a drier, slightly crumbly mouth-feel, with no oily residual. Another tweak is the packaging – clear cellophane, so you can actually see what you’re buying.

$5.50 to $7 for 1.4-ounce bars at www.graciaschocolate.com, Taylor’s Market, 2900 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento, 916-443-6881; Sunrise Natural Foods, 1950 Douglas Blvd., Roseville, (916) 789-8591, and farmers markets, among other retailers.

Allen Pierleoni

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