We're big fans of San Francisco chocolatier Michael Recchiuti, so we weren't surprised that we loved their line of chocolate bars—both the four they've had in circulation for awhile, and four newer ones.
What all the bars have in common is how smooth they feel on the tongue; they soften slowly and evenly, melting smoothly, letting you savor with no chewing required. It's an especially nice quality when the bars are studded with little bits— nibs or nuts or bits of fruit. The chocolate melts around them, so that the almond slivers, say, aren't too obvious as first but end up the last bits left behind.
The hazelnut has the pure, toasty flavor of well-integrated roasted hazelnuts, giving you a bar that's what we always hope Nutella will taste like (though it never does). We loved the way the caramel-coated, salty nuts contrasted with the smooth, just a little sweet dark milk chocolate, both there and in the Almond bar—if some parts of our bar were pretty almond-scarce. (I'm also a huge fan of Recchiuti's chocolate-covered almonds; more on that another time.)
The only one we didn't love was the Orchard, almost like a trail mix embedded in chocolate; no problem with the currants, mulberries, and toasted almond pieces on their own, we just didn't really think they came together as a coherent treat. But the Sesame Nougatine Bar was our favorite of all, tiny clusters of toasted sesame seeds with sugar and salt, their distinctive flavor just a nutty, salty background in some bites, the sesame clusters out in full force
Of the originals, we're kicking ourselves for not discovering the Féve earlier. The bar has little bits of cocoa nibs that crunch as you bite in, their characteristic earthy, husky bitterness mellowed out by Recchiuti's bittersweet chocolate (which seems downright sweet in comparison). Bittersweet, Semisweet, and Dark Milk aren't bad bets, either.
At $6 each they're not really afternoon snack material, but as a gift or an occasional treat, we'd heartily endorse them.