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Antidote Chocolate: Mango + Juniper Flavor, 84% Cacao

Aptly named: I would like an antidote for this chocolate.

Actually, the chocolate itself is rich and delicious enough to serve as the antidote for almost anything, except the rest of this bar's ingredients.

I don’t understand what is happening in my mouth.

I want to like Antidote chocolate. I have the mango and juniper flavor. It cost me $8.95, but that was at the Pasta Shop which has a pretty heavy markup on everything. (Example: L’Amourette, my current favorite chocolate brand, is $5.95 there and $4.99 everywhere else.)

The label claims that it uses both raw and roasted cacao, which sounded fun and unusual. Hey, the flavors are fun and unusual too. I passed over the almond and fennel for this because I love mango. I would ABSOLUTELY have gotten the “rose salt and lemon” flavor I’m seeing on the website if they had had it in stock. Or “lavender and red salt”. Lavender is good in chocolate.

Alas. The chocolate part of this bar is very good, actually. It has a slightly rustic texture from the raw cacao. It’s a tiny bit peppery, a little fruity, with an acidic finish that for once I really like – it’s acidic in a grapefruity sort of way, not in a sour way like a lot of acidic chocolates.

But the mango ruins it! I never thought I would say that. Mango should be silky and sweet and perfumey and tangy and beguiling.

This mango has ossified. It’s bony. It’s dry and leathery and hard, like chunks of a dead mango carcass that were found in the desert.

I’m being flamboyant, but seriously, when I first bit into it the hard strands of mango would not let go of the bar. They held on, banging into my teeth, like security guards. Like centurions with spears trying to keep me from biting off another piece of that chocolate.

Don’t worry, I defeated them with my jaws. But they had called for reinforcements. I found hard pieces of mango embedded throughout. Almost rock-hard. Thick, dense, tough chunks.

The juniper berries – or something! – left crunchy pebbles behind that were perfectly edible, but played off the rock-like texture of the mango to remind me of gravel. I think it was berries? There’s another ingredient listed here, moringa leaves, that can’t be it – but I don’t know what it can be.

Let’s google: According to Wikipedia, they’re super-nutritious leaves used like spinach. Moringasource.com (which can hardly be unbiased, but anyway) boasts that “the Moringa tree is the most nutritious in the world… it contains more than 90 nutrients including 40 powerful antioxidants. In fact, practically every part of the plant contains important minerals and are a good source of protein, vitamins, beta-carotene, amino acids, and various phenolics.”

Well, that’s a bonus. The crunch could be coming from finely ground cacao beans, too, I suppose. The label boasts that they use “fine-flavor” cacao so that they need less sugar. It is damn fine-flavored, I will give them that. I considered returning it for a refund during the Battle of the Mango, but the chocolate itself tastes so good that I don’t want to. But wait: if I returned it, I could get one that didn’t require me to eat around chunks of mango!

(Their website shows that it costs a lower-but-still-enormous $6.50 per 2.3-ounce bar, perhaps because they require you to purchase three at one time.)

Great, dark, deep, flavorful chocolate, but studded with evil. Having vanquished it (or at least two small pieces of it. My god, was all of that really from two small pieces? That was an epic battle!) I will seek out a less evil flavor to celebrate with.