B.T. McElrath, Minneapolis, MN.
I used to sell B.T. McElrath products while working for Formaggio Kitchen a few years ago. I haven't seen their products in a while so it was nice stumbling upon them at Beacon Hill Chocolates. The Salty Dog sounded like just right thing too. Butter Toffee pieces in dark chocolate with with salt. God bless sweet and salty products.
This is a really cute about page they have set up on their website.
A beautiful innocent 19 year-old server caught the eye of the chef de cuisine at a country inn on the Mississippi River. So he tossed a few peas and carrots at her. Stunned, she retaliated with ice cubes. Duly impressed by her quick response and sure aim, the chef married her. And together, they started a thriving artisanal chocolate company in 1996.
Meet Christine: Wife, Partner, Visual Designer, and Chief Taster.
“Brian opened my eyes to the world of cuisine, and fine chocolates. He’s a true artist in every sense of the word. From the freshest whole ingredients, he blends and balances flavors and colors with natural finesse.”
Meet Brian: Meticulous Artisan Chocolatier, Visionary, (still impishly young and doesn’t care about age; a Libra through and through, balance is his watchword in taste and in Life). A graduate of the California Culinary Academy, Brian worked fastidiously as a chef for 18 years at nationally recognized restaurants, bistros, hotels and clubs in the Midwest including the Nicollet Island Inn and Interlachen Country Club.
Read more about them here.
At first when looking up their products, there wasn't much listed on the product pages about the chocolate being use. But luckily they have a pretty good FAQ page.
Are B.T. McElrath Chocolatier products organic?
Cacao trees, grown only in the tropical rainforests, are part of a wide variety of plants, animals, and insects which provide a complex, natural pest-management system. On family farms, pesticides are expensive to buy and difficult to apply to cacao trees, making most cacao farms inherently organic.
While organic certification verifies farming practices, it does not ensure the quality of the cacao and/or the fermentation of the beans, two factors that fundamentally affect the flavor of chocolate. We are ensured of the quality of our chocolate ingredients through the well established relationships with our trusted suppliers, which go back for generations.
What kind of chocolate do you use?
Our chocolate products are sourced from premier chocolate makers in the U.S., Europe, and South America.
Our proprietary 70% dark chocolate blend is made exclusively for B.T. McElrath Chocolatier by Guittard Chocolate Company of Burlingame, California, under their E. Guittard family of products. We find this relationship forwards our mutual commitment to innovation, tradition, and a sustainable global community.
Our proprietary 40% milk chocolate blend is created in our kitchens with chocolate sourced from Wilbur Chocolate Company of Lititz, PA, one of America’s oldest manufacturers of fine chocolate, as well as several European manufacturers.
What is your policy regarding socially responsible sourcing?
Our commitment to quality extends to supporting global efforts towards sustainability and partnering with suppliers who are pioneers of socially responsible business practices which match those of B.T. McElrath Chocolatier.
Our chocolate suppliers are members of the World Chocolate Foundation (WCF), Cocoa Livelihoods Program (CLP), UTZ certified, Rainforest Alliance, and are licensed by Fairtrade Labeling Organization.
Our suppliers are actively involved at origin and purchase through agents selected by the farmers and in some cases bought through direct relationships with the farmers. A premium price well over market value is paid. These are long standing relationships and we are proud to be a part of that global supply chain.
Salty Dog Chocolate Bar
Type: Bittersweet, 70% filled.
Ingredients: Dark Chocolate (chocolate liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin), toffee (pure cane sugar, butter, soy lecithin, bicarbonate of soda, salt, natural flavor), sea salt.
Sample Size: 3oz or 85g.
Big chocolate-y aroma of almonds, butter, smoke, berries, tobacco and hints of nuts. Nice deep dark brown chocolate color, shiny surface on a simple molded tablet with fat tabs. Simple monogrammed molding with some minor scratches on the surface.
Salty and rich dark chocolate. Smoky flavors on the chocolate with a little bit of char, pen ink, and berries, that comes through even with the salt. Virtually no toffee to speak of, however. Pretty disappointed with that since that sweet and salty combo was what I was really looking for. Small, skimpy specks of it scattered throughout the bar.
I was hoping for that crunch factor with the toffee, but it came from the waxy chocolate. While it was smooth chocolate once it sat on the tongue and began to open, it was way too hard to bite into. The molding has everything to do with that leaving overly large and fat tabs. The salt lent for some nice crunch for a second until it dissolves on the tongue.
Despite the disappointing lack of toffee bits, the chocolates flavor and aroma was good and strong. Lot's of good flavor characters in it and a good balance with the salt. The only issue here is lack of toffee and a hard texture.
This could have been so much more had the Toffee been actually present. The chocolate was good and rich, and the salt was a good balance. I really need chocolate makers to start putting put products that are what they say they are on the packaging. If it's toffee, then there needs to be significant toffee in it. This is my main issue with Vosges skimping people on the bacon in their bacon products. You don't put it in there, or you go really skimpy on it, then you get a low score for misrepresentation.
I've never had this problem before with B.T. McElrath. I don't know what's changed. Hopefully this was just a fluke. It's been known to happen. But for now, C-.