Raising the Bar

Oregon’s chocolatiers find inspiration in unconventional ingredients

Woodblock Toasted Sesame

Inspired by a trip to Japan, Woodblock owners Jessica and Charley Wheelock honored their vacation back in Portland by adding toasted sesame seeds to the tops of double-origin blended chocolate bars for an eclectic yet sophisticated taste. 70-percent cacao. $4 (0.88 ounces) www.woodblockchocolate.com

Lille Belle Farms Whiskey in the Bar

After many years of trial and error, owner Jeff Shepherd discovered how to age chocolate in used whiskey barrels in his Central Point kitchen. The distinctive flavor captures the nuance of the charred oak and lush richness of the distilled grain. 65-percent cacao. $8 (2.75 ounces) www.lilliebellefarms.com

Xocolatl de David Foie Gras

Portlander David Briggs’ foie gras chocolate bar caught our attention as well as that of Andrew Zimmern, the TV host of “Bizarre Foods America.” Other fun flavors include Sourdough & Olive Oil, Almond & Pimentón, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Hazelnut & Black Truffle and others. 68-percent cacao. $9 (2.2 ounces) www.xocolatldedavid.com

Cocanú Holy Wood

Cocanú founder Sebastián Cisneros crafts chocolate with a decidedly international flair. For example, Holy Wood is a dark chocolate bar made in Portland with wild cacao from the Bolivian Amazon and infused in unusually aromatic Palo Santo wood found in Ecuador. 70-percent cacao. $5 (0.8 ounces) www.cocanu.com

Moonstruck Dark Chocolate Strawberry & Basil Sugar

Designed to look like masterpieces, Moonstruck’s specialty barks are culinary works of art topped with surprising ingredients like freeze-dried summer berries and “basil sugar.” Made in Portland, other dark chocolate barks include Candied Orange & Hibiscus, Raspberry & Fennel and Praline Pecan & Ginger. $9 (3.1 ounces) www.moonstruckchocolate.com

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