Soma Bachelors Hall, Jamaica 70% is a winner, literally. Desmond Jadusingh, the owner of Bachelors Hall Estates, where the beautiful Trinitario beans for this bar were grown, is apparently a bit of a character. Soma chocolate makers describe him as a “farmer-philosopher-madman” and they claim that those traits are exactly what render him spectacularly qualified to grow amazing cacao. This farm, fed by two fresh water springs, has been in Desmond’s family for several generations. It lies in a fertile valley between the spiritual and majestic Blue and John Crow Mountains. The cacao that grows naturally in this valley, without the use of fertilizers and surrounded by coconut palms, can be traced back to seedlings that were introduced to the area from Trinidad in the 1800s.
What Soma does with this cacao is magical. In this special, super velvety bar, decadent notes of cashew, cherry, honey, wood, cocoa and rum reveal themselves in a palate-pleasing arc.
- International Chocolate Awards Americas Silver 2017
Husband and wife team, David Castellan and Cynthia Leung turned their hobby and passion into a business in 2003 and are now considered among the best chocolate makers in the world.
Their delicious and beautiful micro-batch bars regularly win top prizes at the International Chocolate Awards, and my teacher, Dr. Maricel Presilla, co-founder and Americas Director of the International Chocolate Awards is their fan not only because they produce superior craft chocolate, but also because when they don't receive an award they are genuinely interested in learning what they need to do to improve their next batch of bars. Cynthia and David listen and take criticism with appreciation and a desire to do their absolute best, implementing the advice of experts with dedication and humility.
In their former careers, David was pulling late nights as a pastry chef and Cynthia worked long days at an architecture firm. They draw upon their rarefied skills to do their beautiful work creating all things chocolate at SOMA, with a long list of high-quality, tasty confections, as well as single origin bars made from the most exclusive of beans. These treats are available in their two specialty shops and Cocoa Bean Lab in Toronto, or you can find several of their amazing bars and treats right here, at Barometer Chocolate!
I was drawn to Soma Chocolate not only because it is mind-blowing, but also because of the name. You see, as a proud resident of the South Orange / Maplewood, New Jersey community, also referred to as "Soma," I feel it is my civic duty to carry this stellar brand. Cynthia and David chose to name their dreamy company "Soma" as a nod to the drink used in ancient India as part of the Vedic culture. It was likely a juice made from a hallucinogenic mountain plant that was considered a sacred drink, similar to ambrosia. In fact, it was regarded as a drink of the gods. In Aldous Huxley's book Brave New World, Soma represents a way to escape pain, discomfort, embarrassment, sadness and anger, all while enhancing joy, arousal and an overall sense of well being. I'll raise my square of Soma Chocolate to that!
The craft chocolate industry has exploded since Cynthia and Dan started Soma in 2003. I love and admire their approach to artisanal chocolate making. When asked if Soma has visions of expansion in a 2018 interview, Cynthia said, "I never thought there would be so many opportunities to grow big, and I never thought that's what we'd be trying to avoid, but we just want to stay small - and great." Amen to that.
- Ingredients: Cacao Nibs, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Cocoa Butter
- Net Weight: 65 g. / 2.3 oz.
- Country of Origin: Canada