Richart is a shop I just happened to run into while strolling down the Blvd. St. Germain last spring. A lovely, airy shop on a lovely, airy boulevard. I picked up a few "tablettes", and this was one of them (the other I sadly gave away - what was I thinking??). This Santodino bar is a single-origin chocolate from the Dominican Republic. It is smooth and dark with a touch of sprightliness to it. It is a super good pick-me-up on a hot afternoon! If you are a lover of very dark chocolate, this one is for you. While I did not sample the 70% (the one I gave away), I feel confident that it too must be a lovely bar. This is very good quality chocolate and I would recommend this shop to anyone visiting Paris: it's easy to find and has an assortment of different chocolates to choose from. Strangely, it was not included on the chocolate tour, but the Spirits were obviously on my side by placing it right on my route one particular morning. I just love when that happens!
Richart prides itself on being among the first, if not the first, to create single-origin chocolates, a trend which has caught on with all the high-quality chocolate shops. This is a very good thing, as cacao beans used to come in large quantities from all over the place, and all mixed together, including some old and moldy ones! It was up to chocolate houses to figure out what to do with endless shipments of beans that varied so widely in quality. The best chocolate-makers figured it out, the not-so-good chocolate-makers just added more sugar and soybean oil! Yuck. Now, the trend in single-origins has lead to chocolate manufacturers having a great deal of control over the quality of beans as well as the fermenting and roasting process. Of course you pay for this extra quality-control feature, but the price is well worth it! Richart is definitely in the elite category of chocolate. Not only have they made fine chocolate available to us, they are actively encouraging us to learn how to taste chocolate and to compare not only different percentages but different origins. My bar came with a little insert that instructs how to taste and rate chocolate - no kidding! It has categories for you to fill out such as Taste and Flavors (salty, sweet, acidic, bitter); Aroma (balsamic, fruity, herbaceous, floral, spicy; Tactile sensation, or what we usually call "mouth feel" in English (smooth, silky, granulated).
For more information take a peek at their website (English version), here.