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Candy Review: American Heritage Chocolate Sticks

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American Heritage Chocolate

Chocolate’s association with America is nuanced in its origin and evolution. The confection originally developed in Central and South America where the indigenous peoples consumed it as a beverage. It wasn’t until 1847 that the solid chocolate we recognize today was created by Fry and Sons of Bristol, England.

Within America itself, the beverage form of chocolate retained a fascinating role in colonial development. For instance, American pioneers George and Martha Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson were all fond of drinking chocolate. But it wasn’t limited to a few of our country’s greatest citizens. After the Boston Tea Party, colonists replaced their breakfast beverage of tea with chocolate.

These facts and more relating to the American Civil War, the Lewis and Clark expedition, and even the transpacific flight of Amelia Earhart incorporate chocolate in the telling of their histories. How do I know this? Because American Heritage Chocolate, a subsidiary of Mars, has conducted a vast deal of research into the topic, culminating in the upcoming publication of Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage and a corresponding presentation at the Smithsonian.

If you haven’t ever heard of American Heritage Chocolate, they manufacture handmade chocolate that is inspired by a colonial recipe (meaning solid chocolate with flavors akin to the flavors contained in the beverage form from the era).

In order to put my tasting of their products into perspective, Mars kindly sent me some Dove milk and dark chocolate Promises along with their American Heritage Chocolate Sticks.

I have eaten a fair deal of Dove chocolate, and though I think it’s a respectable form of American chocolate, I am not a big fan. The milk chocolate variety is smooth, creamy, but very thick on the pallet when chewed, coupled with deep cocoa notes. As for the dark chocolate pieces, they’re a bit more for my liking with a bitterness of coffee overtones and a chocolate mixture that is not as sweet or thick. I’ll eat either piece if offered, but I refrain from buying them.

The American Heritage Chocolate Stick is about 3 inches long, covered in light cocoa dust, which as a whole resembles the look of a cinnamon stick. The smell is rich with deep cocoa scents, and the piece is very firm.

Taking a bite, the snap is strong and there is no chalky residue, despite its similarity to a piece of chalk. As for taste, it’s completely different from most pieces of chocolate I have ever tried. There is a strong flavor of cinnamon that relents in potency to reveal notes of pepper, anise, orange, and salt. Though their description also lists other ingredients, such as nutmeg and vanilla, they weren’t as readily detectable in the piece.

The chocolate isn’t very sweet compared to the Dove or most modern pieces of chocolate, strongly resembling an old-fashioned cup of spiced hot chocolate. It also falls along the lines of several types of artisan Latin American chocolates I have sampled. Though not labeled as dark chocolate, it bears a distanced taste to milk chocolate, with my tongue wanting to gauge its intensity beginning at least at 70%.

I found this piece to be excellent, but that could be a misleading recommendation. I don’t care much for sweet chocolate and love the presence of spices, herbs, and extracts in my chocolate to give it a savory quality. I understand some people don’t feel the same way, and that’s fine.

Like I said in my Blanxart review, there are times when a particular piece of chocolate is catering to a specific clientele with a penchant for alternative tastes. This is another such brand. If nothing else, I strongly suggest that you at least try these if you ever get the chance for the historical flashback to what chocolate tasted like hundreds of years ago.

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One Response to “Candy Review: American Heritage Chocolate Sticks”

  1. 1
    Connie says:

    That sounds interesting, I’m always looking out for more variety in my daily chocolate consumption. ;)

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