Sunday, October 24, 2021

Latitude Craft Chocolate - Rwenzori 80% Uganda (bar) - Oct. 24, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

Latitude Trade Company Ltd.
(Latitude Craft Chocolate)
Rwenzori 80% Uganda (bar)
Good ++ - Good +++
Weight: 1.23 oz. (35 g.) / 2.47 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 220 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $8.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order (and Latitude via Chocolopolis.com)

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Uganda Theme Week.

Today's Rwenzori 80% (Uganda) (bar) was from Latitude Craft Chocolate / Latitude Trade Company Ltd. (Kampala, Uganda).

The cocoa used to make Latitude chocolate is sourced from several hundred certified organic farmers in Uganda. Latitude purchases cocoa "face-to-face at the farms," often at village collection points in rural areas.

Aroma and flavor were similar and included attractive, true deep, dark chocolate, light/diffuse red fruit (berry) and faint light earth, followed by an isolated, faint, sparkle or two of faint, tropical fruit.*

The melt and texture were fairly thick and creamy. (I was surprised to learn that there was no added cocoa butter--a testament to the fact that some cocoa beans have a naturally-occurring, higher cocoa fat/butter content. Beans with more fat are sometimes found when cacao is grown at higher, cooler altitudes and/or further away from the Equator) 

The (drum) roasting and refining/conching choices seemed thoughtful. Nothing too wild left in the results; but the smooth flavor(s) that were developed (or that remained) added a bit of complexity. 

The overall flavor was quite smooth, sophisticated, almost subdued, for an ultra-dark bar. There were no sharp off-notes. This 80% chocolate contained deep cocoa (brownie) notes in the background; and the finish was fairly clean and subtle. Some of the best flavor qualities of Forastero and Trinitario are evoked here. 

The cacao had a balanced, almost restrained, bitterness and a fair amount of natural sweetness. However, this ultra-dark bar was not too sweet. (Thank you to Latitude for offering this 80% cacao version.)

Maker's notes: "A dark daredevil with a fruity twist...This bolder, older sibling to our (70%) Semuliki bar. This is a darker chocolate with notes of bright fresh fruits."

Ingredients: Organic cocoa beans, cane sugar

Allergen-related information: "Made in a facility that handles tree nuts, wheat, dairy, eggs, peanuts and soy."

*This tropical fruit note was only tasted in a later, re-tasting today, a few hours after I'd enjoyed some pawpaw fruit, so this could have been a prior fruit-influenced sparkle. I'd earlier (yesterday as part of a Chocolopolis.com Latitude remote bar tasting) also picked up a very faint green, molasses note, which did not show up in today's re-samplings. 

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Latitude Craft Chocolate - Bukonzo Coffee Uganda (bar) - Oct. 23, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

Latitude Trade Company Ltd.
Bukonzo Coffee Uganda (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.235 oz. (35 g.) / 2.47 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 160 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $8.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order 

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Uganda Theme Week.

Today's Bukonzo Coffee Uganda (bar) was from Latitude Craft Chocolate (Latitude Trade Company Ltd.) (Kampala, Uganda).*

Uganda is in the geographic sweet spot for growing coffee and cacao, and is perhaps more well-known for the former. The country is the second largest producer of coffee (behind Ethiopia) in Africa; and exports include Arabica as well as Robusta varieties.

Both coffee and cacao can be found growing in the Rwenzori Mountains area of southwestern Uganda (close to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo).

The aroma of today's coffee infused bar was a blend of sweet, dark chocolate and subtle roasted coffee notes. And the melt and texture were creamy and smooth.

This chocolate tasted sweet and bright with balanced acidity; and had a faint, pleasing almost floral (vanilla-hazelnut) upbeat note in the finish. The coffee was present without being overwhelming.

Tasting notes: "A breakfast alternative...Single-origin Ugandan arabica coffee from the Rwenzori Mountains delivers the punch in this pleasantly bitter, bright and nutty bar."

Ingredients: Organic cocoa beans, cocoa butter, cane sugar, roasted coffee

Allergen-related information: "Made in a facility that handles tree nuts, wheat, dairy, eggs, peanuts and soy."

*Latitude is a Certified B Corporation actively involved in direct trade in Africa. The company sources the cocoa in their chocolate bars "from over 1,000 certified organic farmers in Uganda, purchasing face-to-face at the farms." Their supplier program offers "training, a premium price, insurance, and microfinance to support farm households..."

Friday, October 22, 2021

Latitude Craft Chocolate - Dark Milk (Uganda) (bar) - Oct. 22, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

Latitude Trade Company Ltd.
Dark Milk Uganda (bar)
Good
Weight: 1.235 oz. (35 g.) / 2.47 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 220 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $8.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order 

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Uganda Theme Week.

Today's Dark Milk Uganda (bar) was from Latitude Craft Chocolate (Latitude Trade Company Ltd.) (Kampala, Uganda).

Aroma notes for this made-at-the-source, organic Dark Milk bar included slightly bittersweet chocolate with very faint, diffuse fruit and nut notes. The melt and texture were smooth and uniform.

The taste was very uniform and fairly sweet. (Admittedly, too sweet for me. But fans of sweet milk chocolate may enjoy its relative mildness.) As with many milk chocolates, it had a muted flavor profile due to the sugar and milk. (Organic cane sugar was the number one ingredient.) There were no "off" flavors in this bar. However, it was lower in flavor depth and complexity.* 

The bean-to-bar makers may have been playing it safe and homogenizing flavors across a wide spread of cacao sources to ensure consistency. Which they have every right to do; and arriving at a consistent flavor profile is not as easy as it sounds, especially if one is making chocolate in-country, or in an area that may still be developing a uniformly sophisticated utility, temperature-controlled manufacturing and transportation infrastructure.**

 This small-batch milk chocolate is still more fragrant, and will be more interesting to try, than most commercial, high-volume chocolates sold around the globe. 

And it has a good story behind it. (See inside of wrapper for details.) The company signs long-term contracts with cacao farmers to grow organic cacao; and in turn pays them a "premium price." Over 50 percent of their contracted farmers are women. (Farmers typically have 1-3 acre farms.) Latitude's supplier program also offers access to training, "insurance and microfinance to support farm households."

Maker's notes: "A warm brownie paired with a cold glass of milk."

Ingredients: Cane sugar, organic cocoa beans, cocoa butter, whole milk

Allergen-related information: "Made in a facility that handles tree nuts, wheat, dairy, eggs, peanuts and soy.  

* I could not find a cacao percentage for this chocolate on the label. I'm guessing it may have been in the 40-50% cacao solids range.

**Note: Kampala, the headquarters for Latitude Trade Company, is Uganda's capital, and largest city, with over 1 million residents, and a modern skyline. Outside the larger cities, many people in rural areas are feeding themselves and making a living by being subsistence farmers.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Raaka - Maple Dark Unroasted Dark Chocolate (75% Cacao Baking Chocolate) - Oct. 21, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

Raaka Chocolate
Maple Dark Unroasted Dark Chocolate 75% Cacao Baking Chocolate (pieces)
Good ++ - Good +++
Weight: 1/8 cup (15 g.) / 8 oz. (226.4 g.) in total package
Calories: 71 calories in 1/8 cup serving
Cost: $15.00 for 1 package 
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Uganda Theme Week.

Today's Maple Dark, Unroasted Dark Chocolate, 75% Cacao Baking Chocolate (pieces) were made by Raaka Chocolate in Brooklyn, New York.

These dark chocolate baking pieces were made with cacao sourced from Uganda (Semuliki Forest). Raaka practices "transparent trade," and pays farmers (farmer-owned co-ops and grower-centered organizations in cacao growing countries) "transparent, stable premiums above Fair Trade prices."

The rich dark chocolate aroma and flavor were similar and included: dark, almost tart/tangy sweet molasses/brown or maple sugar; dried fruits (prunes and a few dark, dried cherries with a tiny splash of apple brandy and light cider vinegar with warm spice); clean and clear green, and balanced, diffuse forest/earth notes.

There was a very slight astringency in the taste (a slight throat tickle), but overall the melt and mouthfeel were smooth and even. 

The relatively thin (wafer thickness) of these ebony-colored, flat, heptagonal (seven-sided) polygons yielded quick access to rich dark chocolate flavors, and made these pieces well-suited (easy to melt and stir evenly) for baking, cooking or fondue-ing. 

These balanced, bold and bittersweet pieces will add extra depth to tortes, brownies, couverture, homemade snack mix, or any other item you create. And they'd make a flavorful addition to a fruit. dessert or chocolate tasting plate. 

Maker's notes: Raaka's description of this chocolate read as follows: "Our maple sugar sweetened, single origin take on the classic bittersweet baking chocolate is fruity, bright, and rich, with just the right amount of complexity to give your baked goods that extra oomph." 

(Postscript: I found myself repeatedly returning to snack on this flavorful 75% chocolate later in the week, and upped my rating (from a "Good ++" to a "Good ++ - Good +++") based on this desire for more.)

Ingredients: Organic cacao beans, organic maple sugar, organic cacao butter

Allergen-related information: "Certified Organic and Kosher by NFC" "Vegan, Gluten Free, Nut Free"




Puchero - 55% Uganda Butter (Mountains of the Moon) - Oct. 20, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

Puchero 
55% Uganda Butter (Mountains of the Moon) (bar)
Good ++ - Good +++
Weight: 1.235 oz. (35 g.) / 2.47 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 207.9 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $10.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Uganda Theme Week.

Today's 55% Uganda Butter (Mountains of the Moon) (bar) was from/made by Puchero (Tostarix S.L.) (Valladolid, Spain).

This bean-to-bar chocolate made in Spain featured pasiega* cow butter. Aroma notes included: dairy butter and faint, integrated sweet chocolate. This butter was luscious and decadent although it did mute some of the single origin (Uganda) cacao nuances. 

Texture: soft melt and very buttery mouthfeel and texture.

Flavor: Truly buttery chocolate. What high quality whipped butter with chocolate might taste like.

What a unique treat. And it was not too sweet. (Thank you!)

Maker's notes: "The chocolate combines the Ugandan cacao fruity smoothness with creamy Cantabrian cow butter."

Ingredients: cacao, sugar, butter, milk, salt; Cacao 55% minimum

Allergen-related information: "May contain traces of nuts, milk and gluten"

*Pasiega refers to a breed of red cattle found in the autonomous community of Cantabria in northern Spain. Their milk is used to make cheese and/or butter (usually without extra preservatives or coloring). Pasiega milk also used in quesada pasiega, a regional (Cantabria) cake (similar to a thick pudding or cheesecake) that is often flavored with lemon and cinnamon.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Tosier Chocolatemaker - Semuliki Forest, Uganda 70% (bar) - Oct. 19, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

Tosier Chocolatemaker
Semuliki Forest, Uganda 70% Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.05 oz. (30 g.) / 2.1 oz. (60 g.) in total bar
Calories: 163 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $10.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order 

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and Uganda Theme Week.

Today's Semuliki Forest, Uganda 70% Dark Chocolate (bar) was made by Tosier Chocolatemaker (Gipping Valley, Suffolk, U.K.).

The cacao was from the Semuliki Forest (in the Bundibugyo district in remote, western Uganda). And post-harvest, it was centrally fermented in wooden boxes and certified organic at origin. The Tosier maker(s) crafted this chocolate using a light roast profile, and ground the cacao "in (a) stone melanger with refiner."  

Aroma notes included: dark chocolate, sweet diffuse fruit, and very faint bread and butter notes.

The melt was even, and the texture had a slight graininess/astringency. 

Flavor notes included: dark chocolate cake/torte, and diffuse fruit (peaches with faint cinnamon and warm spices). A subtle dark chocolate truffle note lingered in a polite finish.

Tasting notes: "chocolate ganache and red bean paste"

Ingredients: "Cocoa beans, organic unrefined cane sugar, ethically sourced cocoa butter"

Allergen-related information: "May contain traces of nuts." "Additives free, gluten free, dairy free, palm oil free, plant-based"



La Feverie (Hasnaa Chocolats) - Rwenzori Forest, Uganda 75% (bar) - Oct. 18, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

La Feverie
(Hasnaa Chocolats Grands Crus)
Rwenzori Forest, Uganda 75% (2020 Harvest) (bar)
Good ++ - Good +++
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (56.6 g.) in total bar
Calories: 163 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order

Welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate and Uganda Theme Week.

Today's Rwenzori Forest, Uganda 75% (2020 Harvest) bar was produced by La Feverie (Bordeaux, France).

Rich, dark, complex aroma and flavor notes included: concentrated, almost earthy, dried fruit (roasted green banana), honey, roasted figs and cherries, faint dried apricot--and a very faint, fleeting white floral note far into the finish.

The balanced ultra-dark flavor(s) were neither too bitter nor too acidic. And the 75% cacao choice (vs. the standard 70%) was quite nice. This Hasnaa offering could have passed for 80% cacao chocolate, and was more interesting (and less sweet) than most 70% bars.

Hasnaa Chocolats (maker's) tasting notes: "Fresh and tangy tannin, blooming in a fleshy and enveloping sweetness with slightly smoky notes of cherry, apricot, and liquorice."

Ingredients: Organic cacao beans and organic cane sugar

Allergen-related information: (None listed on package.)


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