I was totally disappointed with Cacao Sampaka. When I was first browsing through the store checking out the different products, reading the list of ingredients,... I don't know, it's just one of those places where you don't need to try the stuff to know it's all about the marketing. I was not impressed at all. But things could have changed by now, so, you should check it out.
You should definitely check out Xavier Mor (www.xaviermor.com), he might be what you're looking for. I dind't know about him when I was visiting Barcelona, so I never tried his stuff. His factory is in Belgium and his research and development lab is in Barcelona. The last time I read about the chocolate he was using (this was more than 3 years ago) he said the criollo from Chuao. I think he sells chocolate all over the world, you may have tried his stuff already. I hear he's more focused on the product than on the packaging.
Sorry if this info is outdated. Let me know if I can help with anything else. Enjoy your trip!
If you're interested at all in checking them out, I really liked Enric Rovira (www.enricrovira.com). Barcelona is a contrast of very old traditions and very modern ones. You find this in the architecture and you see it in the chocolate. So it might not necessarily be of much interest to you.
I appreciated what he was doing because he broke from the tradition of generations of Spanish chocolatiers and he is one of the few doing something different and creative (he does a lot of pan coating, some with old fashioned ingredients and some with more risky combos). His showpieces are gorgeous, very simple, modern and minimalist and he uses some interesting techniques.
He also has different single origin bars, I tried a few I liked. He's got a factory, I can't remember anymore, I think outside Barcelona and a store in the city. He's got his shop right next to his dad's (he's a second generation chocolatier) and you can see how he wasn't interested at all in the conventional stuff he grew up with. Waking into his dad's shop and then into his own is an interesting contrast, it shows you a lot about how Spain is changing. His style is really visual, so he's also pretty obsessed with packaging.
I'm not really up to date with chocolate as I used to in the past. In any case, my work had always been more focused on moulding, enrobing, and afterwards on showpieces, rather than the bean to bar field. In Barcelona I know of a bunch of chocolatiers/pastry chefs that you might want to check out such as Oriol Balaguer (shop in Barcelona), Enric Rovira (shop in B), Ramon Morato (co-founder of Cacao Sampaka), Jordi Butron, Baixas (shop in B) and the Escriba family (several shops in B).
When I visited to check all these guys out, I have to say I was very disappointed with what I found, the level in general was pretty mediocre compared to the stuff I had done in New York. Spain is big in gastronomy, but when it comes to pastry and chocolate I feel it's pretty behind other countries such as France, Italy and many many places in the US.
I was glad that you came to the store to visit and to be able to taste new chocolates. We all have our different talents in our passion for chocolates and it's always good being able to talk to you for you are a very nice person and down to earth!!!!!!!!!!!
Brady Hi, I would like to ask your permission to use one of your photos. I'm building a website about cacao and chocolate. It is going to be very visual, i.e. large photos and little text. Among your pictures are a few that are simply stunning! If you are not against it, please write to my email email@example.com Many thanks, Ivica
Aloha, we are a small company, this year we are only making chocolate for Kauai, we have over 4000 tree starts that will hopefully get in the ground soon, when these trees mature in 3 to 4 years will have enough chocolate for export.
I have 2 lines of bars. There are 9 bars in the Escazu line, which have various flavors, and are 3.5 oz. The Ocumare bar that you have is one that I make from the bean under the EZCA line. Currently I am only selling those bars online, in my shop, and at Fog City News in San Francisco. How did you come across the bar? I hope that you enjoyed it.
Thank you so very much for clarifying the matter. I certainly didn't want to be accused of "Pulp Fiction." I don't recall if I offered to send you my Excel sheet of bars I've collected. If you want it, then perhaps you can point out some that I've overlooked? Just need your email - jay @ diecast.org.