Thursday, January 17, 2019

Marana Craft Chocolate - San Martin Peru 80% Dark Chocolate bar - Jan. 17, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Marana Craft Chocolate
San Martin Peru 80% Dark Chocolate bar
Good
Weight: 1.25 oz. (35 g.) / 2.5 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 225 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $6.70 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com (online order)

Welcome to Day #14 of Chocolate and Peru Theme Week.

Today's Marana Craft Chocolate San Martin Peru 80% Dark Chocolate bar was made "in country" by Cacao Valley E.I.R.L. (Lima, Peru).

San Martin, located in north central Peru is one of 10 major cacao-growing regions in the country. This chocolate was made using the "Amazonica" variety of cacao beans from Tarapoto.

The bar had a pleasant aroma with green and fruit notes. The first bite yielded a bloom of flavor with more fruit acidity—and a slightly astringent (drying, almost granular) mouthfeel. The flavor was complex, fruity with faint green, sour milk and coconut notes.





Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Marana Craft Chocolate - 70% Piura Peru bar - Jan. 16, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Marana Craft Chocolate
70% Piura Peru bar
Good
Weight: 1.25 oz. (35 g.) / 2.5 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 213.15 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $6.70 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com (online order)

Welcome to Day #13 of Chocolate and Peru Theme Week.

Today's organic, Marana Craft Chocolate 70% Piura Peru bar was produced by Cacao Valley E.R.L. in Lima, Peru.

The company's Piura "collection is made from the finest variety of "blanco" cacao beans, grown in the fertile valleys of Alta Piura." These beans yielded a great fruity tasting 80% Piura Peru bar yesterday, and a similar, slightly sweeter 70% Piura Peru sibling today with balanced red fruit (cherry) and citrus (tangelo-to-tangerine) notes.

Tasting notes on the package read: "This chocolate boasts a huge personality, offering an...experience dominated by fruity citrus notes."

Ingredients: Organic cacao mass, organic sugar and organic cacao butter



Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Marana Craft Chocolate - 80% Piura Peru bar - Jan. 15, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Marana Craft Chocolate
80% Piura Peru bar
Good +
Weight: 1.25 oz. (35 g.) / 2.5 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 225.4 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $7.85 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com (online order)

Welcome to Day #12 of Chocolate and Peru Theme Week(s).

Today's attractively packaged, 80% Piura Peru bar from Marana Craft Chocolate was made in Peru (produced by Cacao Valley E.I.R.L.).

Bars labeled as 80% cacao or over are generally more bold and deep dark in flavor. However, today's 80% Piura Peru bar was relatively cheerful for an 80%-er. This chocolate was fruit-sweet (red fruit, cherry), with a very faint (balanced) red fruit-acetic acid (vinegar) note.

*Piura is a city, region and province in northwestern Peru, approximately 5 degrees south of the Equator. Piura is also one of of the top 10 cacao growing regions in this South American country. 

Marana Craft Chocolate offers bars made with Cusco from at least three of these ten regions: Cusco, Piura and San Martin.




Monday, January 14, 2019

Spencer Chocolate - 70% Dark Chocolate bar - Jan. 14, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Spencer Chocolate
70% Dark Chocolate Peru Bean to Bar
Good
Weight: 1.05 oz. (29.5 g.) / 2.1 oz. (59 g.) in total bar
Calories: 160 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $7.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com (online order)

Welcome to Day #10 of Chocolate and Peru Theme Week.

Today's 70% Dark Chocolate Peru Spencer Chocolate bar was manufactured by Annie's Goodies...Naturally, LLC (Portland, OR).

The company is a small, family-owned operation and was, at last check, producing at least four single origin bars (containing cacao from a unique country), including this bar made with Peruvian cacao. (They also feature their dog, Spencer, on the packaging.)

The well-tempered, three ingredient* bar had faint notes of dried fruit (cherry), and a slight astringency.

*Ingredients: cacao, sugar, cocoa butter

Chocolate Always - 85% Cacao Dark Chocolate Bar - Jan. 13, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chocolate Always
85% Cacao Dark Chocolate Bar Health Lover's Affair bar
Good
Weight: .875 oz. (25 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories in 1/4 bar
Cost: $0.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #10 of Chocolate and Peru Theme Week.

Today's 85% Cacao Dark Chocolate ("Health Lover's Affair"), Bean to Bar at The Source bar was made in Peru for Chocolate Always (Weston, FL) and had relatively even, dark chocolate flavor.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Chocolate Always - 70% Cacao with Raisins & Almonds Organic Dark Chocolate Bar - Jan. 12, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chocolate Always
70% Cacao with Raisins and Almonds Organic Dark Chocolate Bar
Good - Good +
Weight: .875 oz. (25 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories in 1/4 bar
Cost: $ missing information 
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #9 of Chocolate and Peru Theme Week.

Today's 70% Cacao with Raisins and Almonds Organic Dark Chocolate Bar was made in Peru for Chocolate Always (Weston, FL).

This dark chocolate bar contained bits of roasted almonds and organic raisins that added pleasing crunchy texture and dried fruit notes to a smooth dark base.

Bloom gloom
Apologies for the photo of the bar. I hesitate showing any bar that has some slight white discoloration or "bloom" on it. People work hard to make bean-to-bar (or any) chocolate and to deliver chocolate to consumers, but temperature fluctuations in transit can wreak havoc on appearances.

This discoloration did not really affect the flavor. And if you buy chocolate, it is inevitable that you'll open bars that have experienced a momentary encounter that caused separation of ingredients (or change in cacao butter crystal structure) after sitting in the bright sunlight on a loading dock or in a truck or storage area. This can happen anywhere in the 1,000+ mile journey a bar might have traveled to get to a store near me. (Expiration date was in May 2019, so age was not a factor.)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Venchi - 85% Organic Lamas - Sisa bar - Jan. 11, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Venchi S.p.A
85% Organic Lamas - Sisa bar
Good 
Weight: 1.23 oz. (35 g.) / 2.46 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 226.1 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $8.95 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com (online order)

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate and Peru Theme Week.

Today's 85% Organic Lamas - Sisa bar was from Venchi S.p.A (Castelletto Stura, Cuneo (CN), Italy) was made with cacao grown in the Lamas District, Lamas Province, in the San Martin Region, in northern Peru.

This Venchi bar came with two easy-to-decipher visual scores printed on the packaging. It showed us that this bar was rated a 2 on a scale of 5 for Intensity, and 3 out of 4 on a scale for Aromaticity.*

This rating system might be helpful to buyers, but without knowing what other chocolate bars they are comparing this to, it loses some of its utility. For example, this bar was way more intense than a blander commercially popular bar and still was fairly bold and acidic. (I wondered what a 5 would be like on this scale.)

The organic and gluten free deep, dark, slightly acidic bar had a slightly reddish color. It had an even, deep roast "feeling," a smooth cocoa butter** melt and texture and an even, dark flavor.

There was, surprisingly, a fleeting floral note. (The maker's tasting notes read as follows: "Note(s) of white flower, dried fruit and honey.") The floral note was surprising because, generally, smooth dark flavor and texture in an ultra-dark bar like this comes from longer conching/grinding times and the addition of lots of cocoa butter, meaning that more volatile floral notes are usually lost or masked in the process.

*Aromaticity is a term that refers to the properties of an organic compound that gives off an aroma. More specifically, this term is used in organic chemistry to describe certain molecules that have a "ring of resonance bonds" that exhibit more stability than found in other configurations.

**Ingredients: organic cocoa mass (from Peru), organic cocoa butter, organic cane sugar

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