Into Shelley’s Belly: Bark Chocolate by Katy Priore

Bark goodies (left); Secret Stachio (right) photos by Matthew Shelley

Little brown bags (nostalgic images of childhood frivolity and happy lunchtime indulgence) arrived at the D offices yesterday from a charmingly peaceful young woman. Katy Priore runs Bark Chocolate, and her philosophy and method of cooking is as enchanting as the chocolate is delicious. “It’s made with love, and that’s the most important ingredient… the fundamental importance of cooking with intention.” She delighted a few of us with samples of seven different chocolate barks, each unique and definitive in its flavor profile. Her chocolate coupling calls to mind the ethereal pairing of Zeus and lightning, Elizabeth Taylor and diamonds, Ryan Gosling and eyesight. Let the listing begin.

1. Gummy Love 2. Minty Moon 3. I am Healthy 4. No Name 5. Cosmic Cocoa 6. Tesuque Toffee
  1. Gummy Love – 38% milk chocolate with mini gummy bears and love, love, love. I don’t eat gummy bears because of how chewy they are and how much they stick to my teeth. This was not the case here. It was a surprising balance of sweet and rich textures and as Carol said, “I really like the colors.”
  2. Minty Moon – This is where Katy started her chocolate making endeavor. It’s 72% dark chocolate swirled with 31% white chocolate, topped with crushed peppermint candy. It was brightly refreshing and wonderful to chomp on. I can see why she launched from this little beauty.
  3. I am Healthy – Though it may seem counterintuitive, this one is actually good for you in more ways than just the calming beauty of mind that comes with fine chocolate. With 72% dark chocolate, dried goji berries, dried blueberries, hemp seeds, and chia seeds, this bad boy packs a punch. Be at ease and know you’re doing a little good for yourself. It was balanced and crunchy, and I loved it.
  4. No Name – This really isn’t its “ironic” name. Katy hasn’t named this cinnamon-flavored Valentine beauty, but allow me to take a bite at it. How about Delicious Dalliance? I want royalties. Either way, it’s a zesty, sweet cinnamon candy dancer that gives all of itself to your mouth. Be gentle and be sure to leave some flowers behind for this one.
  5. Cosmic Cocoa – This is a fitful blend of dark chocolate, organic shredded coconut, cocoa nibs and almonds. Lesley missed out on this due to her almond allergy (which was apparently caused by Carol), but nonetheless, it’s another fantastic bite of chocolate that continues the ineffable love and care that these little treats carry through all your chakras.
  6. Tesuque Toffee – This was surely the favorite. It was devoured in seconds from anyone within reach. Katy makes the honey toffee with smoked sea salt all on her own and I’ve never had a fresher and smoother bite of toffee. As Bradford pointed out, “sometimes toffee is too hard, but this was not.” It chewed easily with legitimate attitude and presence, and the coupling with the chocolate was unshakable. As we all reconnected our jaws and put our claws away, we were left without fear and lifted beyond the afternoons clouds. Sunshine fluttered we descended into cocoons of silken pillows and euphoric smoke filled joy.
  7. Secret Stachio – No, this is not the code name for a British jewelry dealer who’s also a rogue investigator for the SIS, it’s a marvelously mild and nutty chocolate bark. Made with pistachios and dried cranberries, Secret Stachio coalesces with a variety of mouth banging abilities and subtlety. Take it from Nancy. “That’s so nasty good…I would crumble it on top of ice cream.”

Thank you to Katy and the unending love of her Bark Chocolate. Though I can’t speak now, I am in a pitch of perfect spiritual resplendence, which is most certainly the sugar rushing through my blood, but I like to believe that the love and patience that created this lovely chocolate will sustain me. As Katy says, “I will never make chocolate if I am not in a good mood. It’s all infused with miracles and love.” Believe me, you should get some of this good stuff. Right now you can find Katy’s chocolate at Carbone’s, and hopefully all over the city before too long. One final note: she also makes one with bacon and another with cinnamon toast crunch and marshmallows. Let your brain chew on that for a while.