Sunday, March 29, 2015

Franceschi - Ocumare 70% bar - March 28, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Franceschi Chocolate
Ocumare 70% bar
Good ++
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 2.12 oz. (60 g.) in total bar
Calories: 159 calories in 1 bar (1/2 package)
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #7 of Chocolate and Venezuela Theme Week.

Ocumare is another famous cacao-growing area, in the state of Aragua (one of 23 states in the Venezuela).

This Ocumare 70% bar from Franceschi Chocolate (Venezuela) had a light touch of bitterness along with fruit (citrus) notes, but was still an enjoyable, well balanced, single origin bar.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Franceschi - Choroni 70% bar - Mar. 27, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Franceschi Chocolate
Choroni 70% bar
Good ++ - Very Good
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 2.12 oz. (60 g.) in total package of 2 thin bars
Calories: 159 calories (estimate) in 1 bar (1/2 package)
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #6 of Chocolate and Venezuela Theme Week, and I tried a Choroni 70% bar, the first of a trio of bars from family-run Franceschi Chocolate (Venezuela).

What or where is Choroni? It's a beach town in the Aragua State of Venezuela. The nearby valleys of Aragua reach inland and are home to valuable heritage Criollo cacao trees. As part of an overall mission to save fine cacao throughout the country, the Choroni cacao (an ancestral Criollo variety) used in today's 70% bar was "rescued" by Franceschi and others. (The company's Hacienda San Jose is located in El Pilar in Paria, in the Sucre State of Venezuela, with offices in Caracas.)

According to the date on the packaging, the origins of the company date back to 1830. And the Franceschi family name runs throughout the management team. Alberto (Franceschi) is President, Juan de Dios, Vicente, Claudia, Cristina...they're all Franceschis. So one hopes the legacy will continue for many years to come.

Franceschi makes their own bars (tree to tablet), and has supplied beans to chocolate makers (e.g. Escazu Artisan Chocolates and Dandelion Chocolate in the U.S.).

The subtle but complex flavor notes in today's Choroni bar were intriguing: light, floral pipe tobacco, roasted brown sugar, light fruit (ripe peaches). A wonderful, unique bar. This is probably the most delicately sweet and nuanced bar of the Venezuelan bunch I've tried so far this week.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cacao de Origen - Macuare 82% bar - Mar. 26, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Cacao de Origen
Macuare 82% bar
Good ++
Weight: .5 oz. (14.1 g.) / 1.6 oz. (45.28 g.) (estimate) in 1 pouch with 2 bars
Calories: 75 calories (estimate) in .5 oz. (14.1 g.) piece
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Cacao de Origen is bean-to-bar chocolate at its most specific -- created with beans from single region and plantation, these bars are all from Venezuela (and are hard to get in the U.S.).

Chocolate experts at Cacao de Origin + Chloe Doutre-Roussel formulated this slim pair of bars (two in one package/pouch) with two ingredients: 1.) Macuare cacao beans from Arturo Samana, Miranda, Venezuela, and 2.) sugar.

This Macuare 82% dark bar was darker than most single origin bars (less sugar), and was a merry-go-round of interesting flavors. It started with an intriguing aroma -- floral, salty earth, leather. The tasting experience unfolded in a unique, complex, but balanced, way. For example, there were also some slight bitter notes, but all these flavors were somehow kept in balance. There was just the right amount of sugar -- enough to add some brightness, but not enough to interfere with or mask the complex range of dark flavor notes.

Today was Day #5 of Chocolate and Venezuela Theme Week.

Cacao de Origen - Chuao 75% bar - March 25, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Cacao de Origen
Chuao 75% bar
Very Good
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 1.65 oz. (46.6 g.) (estimate) in total pouch of 2 thin bars
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1 oz. (28.3 g.) serving
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

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

Chuao is a small coastal village in Aragua,Venezuela, with a large reputation in the chocolate world. The coastal town has scenic mountains and beaches; and the "sea-locked" Aragua valley that extends back from the Caribbean Sea is known for its cacao plantation(s) and reputation for excellent Criollo cacao beans.

Today's Cacao de Origen Chuao 75% single origin bar was made using cacao beans from Hacienda de Chuao/"Tisano The Cacao Company." This limited edition bar was produced in/by Hacienda La trinidad (Caracas, Venezuela).

This Chuao bar stood out from other Venezuela bars this week; it had a much brighter, citrus fruit flavor profile from the first bite.

Like yesterday's Cacao de Origen Agua Fria dark bar (from the state of Sucre), this Chuao bar was made with just cacao beans and sugar. Nothing else. So, the flavors shone through more clearly, for better or for worse. (In this case, better.) There were no additives, emulsifiers or extra sweeteners to hide behind.




Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cacao de Origen - Agua Fria 75% bar - March 24, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Cacao de Origen
Agua Fria 75% bar
Good ++ - Very Good
Weight: 1.85 oz. (52.3 g.) in total package (2 thin bars)
Calories: 278 calories (estimate) in 1 package
Cost: $ missing info
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #3 of Chocolate and Venezuela Theme Week.

Cacao de Origin is as much co-op project and heart, as it is company or business. The organization seeks to create awareness around the fine traditions of Venezuelan cacao, formulate bars, and create better lives for others involved in cacao growing and making. Each bar has an origin story.

Venezuela is known for half a dozen famous cacao-growing regions, such as Chuao, Sur de Lago or Rio Caribe. The Agua Fria area is in the State of Sucre, east of Caracas, where the Caribbean Sea starts to mingle with the Atlantic ocean.

Today's Limited Edition Cacao de Origin Agua Fria 75% cacao bar (from Hacienda La Trinidad, Caracas, Venezuela), had some of the same dark, brooding, slightly bitter yet smooth notes as the two Venezuelan chocolates featured earlier this week. However, this was a bit less dense and uniform, with a few more sparkles of fruit/acid and other flavor notes.

This dark bar seemed less dense in part due to the thinness of the chocolate (two thin bars were packaged in a single, sealed silver pouch). Thin (greater surface to mass ratio and all that) enables ready access to flavor notes. No need to be patient and wait for a thicker piece to yield its secrets to your palette. The melt is already underway from the first nibble.

Not only was this a single origin bar, but the beans could be traced to one name/plantation. The semillas (seeds), what we call cacao beans, were from cacao producer Calixto Lopez.

I was fortunate to be able to pick up a few different Cacao de Origen bars (made bean-to-bar in Venezuela) from the company representatives while they were making a stop at The Chocolate Garage in Palo Alto, CA as part of a trip in the U.S.

After 3,000+ chocolates, I've enjoyed several bars made from 100% Venezuelan cacao. However, this was my first chocolate made from scratch in Venezuela by a Venezuelan company/organization. Something to celebrate. And I did. I savored both bars.




Monday, March 23, 2015

Lillie Belle Farms - Purple Haze bar - March 23, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Lillie Belle Farms
Purple Haze bar
Good - Good ++
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2.75 oz. (77 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1 oz. (28.3 g.) of bar
Cost: $8.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Lillie Belle Farms, Central Point, OR

Today was the second day of Chocolate and Venezuela Theme Week.

Lillie Belle Farms (Central Point, OR) blended cacao beans from the Sur de Lago region of Venezuela to make this Purple Haze dark chocolate bar.

According to website description, this 75% cocoa content bar is "strong, yet smooth with a dark earthy note, that finishes mellow." I would agree. It had fairly strong, dark flavor, not much sugar, and a hint of bitterness -- that was neither harsh nor unpleasant.

The Purple Haze bar was also vegan and gluten free.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cello Chocolate - Venezuela 70% Cacao bar - March 22, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Cello Chocolate
Venezuela 70% Cacao bar
Good ++
Weight: 1.2 oz. (34.2 g.) / 2 oz. (57 g.) in total bar
Calories: 180 calories in 3/5 bar
Cost: $ N/A - part of a larger order
Purchased from: Cello Chocolate, online order

Venezuela is a country with many cacao-growing regions and an abundance of fine flavor cacao (from Criollo, Trinitario and other cacao beans). Some of the finest dark chocolates are produced from Venezuelan cacao.

Today's single origin Venezuela 70% Cacao bar from Cello Chocolate (Nevada City, CA) had deep yet smooth dark flavor, with floral/vanilla notes and a slightly bitter finish (without the rough edge).

Cello Chocolate maker, Ned Russell (who has extensive chocolate making background, and also plays the cello), specializes in hand-crafting small batch, bean-to-bar, single origin chocolate bars -- made with cocoa beans*, sugar and cocoa butter.

Today was Day #1 of Chocolate and Venezuela Theme Week.

*Cacao beans were "ethically and sustainably traded."
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...