Claudio's peel-riddled slabs.

Claudio's peel-riddled slabs.

Chocolate With a Peel

Which confection's citrus hits the spot?

The Dish: We don’t have to tell you—but will anyway—that Seattle is far from lacking artisan coffee or chocolate. It’s no coincidence that coffee beans and cacao beans are roasted and harvested similarly and can be transformed into a delicate, palatable luxury consumable—also known as “a necessity” for many of us. For this week’s Versus, we chose two artisan chocolates with a twist—orange, to be exact. Which one gave us a zest for life?

The Rivals: Claudio Corallo, 2122 Westlake Ave., 859-3534. SOUTH LAKE UNION. Claudio’s laranja chocolate (about $7) is a complementary combination of 75 percent chocolate, crystallized orange peel, cocoa, sugar, and cocoa butter. The taste is smoky with hints of tobacco. Chunks of orange peel give the chocolate a nice sweetness, but the sticky bits will certainly get stuck in your teeth, like little pieces of jellybean. The chocolate, while dark, isn’t very intense, which creates a broader appeal. What is nice about this chocolate is that you get two distinct flavors: chocolate and orange. Only when you bite directly into a piece of the orange peel do you get a burst of orange flavor. It’s nowhere near as overwhelming as we had imagined after seeing the peel-riddled slabs of chocolate.

Theo Chocolate, 3400 Phinney Ave. N., 632-5100, FREMONT. Unlike Claudio Corallo, Theo blends orange oil and zest with cacao, sugar, cocoa butter, and ground vanilla beans to create its orange bar (around $4). The flavor is quite a bit darker than Corallo’s chocolate, slightly bitter, and very smooth. We were easily able to detect the orange flavor, even though it was quite a bit subtler than Corallo’s. We just wish we could have tasted more citrus.

The Champ: This is a tough call. We found different aspects of each chocolate outstanding. We prefer the texture of Theo’s and the orange flavor of Corallo’s. If we could combine them, we’d have the perfect orange chocolate bar. But until we can find the skill and time to make our own, we are calling Claudio Corallo the winner of this challenge.

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