Wednesday, February 21, 2018

L'Amourette Chocolatier - Criollo Grenada Fine Estate 75% bar - Feb. 21, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

L'Amourette Chocolat LLC
Criollo Single Origin Grenada Fine Estate 75% bar
Good++ - Good+++
Weight: 1.16 oz. (33.3 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 172 calories in 1/3 bar
Cost: $7.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Draeger's, Los Altos, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate, Enchanted Islands and Pirates Theme Week.

Today's Gold Limited Edition Criollo Single Origin Grenada Fine Estate 75% bar was made by Andre V and team at L'Amourette Chocolat LLC (San Francisco, CA).

Criollo cacao beans handled properly offer wonderful delicate, complex flavor notes. This 75% cacao Criollo bar had a lighter, more delicate fruit profile than most 75% chocolate bars. Think peach vs. dark berry fruit notes, with a touch of sweet, creamy coffee au lait.

Today's single origin bar contained just two ingredients: Criollo Grenada cocoa beans and organic sugar. And this chocolate was soy free, gluten free and vegan to boot.





The Grenada Chocolate Co. - 100% Cacao bar - Feb. 20, 2018

Chocolate of the Day:

The Grenada Chocolate Company
100% Cacao bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1/3 bar
Cost: $13.00 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate, Enchanted Islands and Pirates Theme Week.

Today's 100% Cacao bar  from The Grenada Chocolate Company (Grenada) was made in the same country ("in-country" or "on island" in this case) where the cacao was grown. This pioneering tree-to-bar company was found in 1999.

The thick chocolate bar had a slightly graduated melt and texture (thick and creamy, then almost gummy, with a very slightly granular finish).

The dairy free, gluten free, nut free and organic bar had a subtle dark chocolate aroma, and (as one would expect from a 100% cacao bar with no sugar) some bold, dark taste with acidic/tart/sour and bitter notes, and no real "off" notes.







Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Chocolat Bonnat - Ceylan 75% Chocolat Noir bar - Feb. 19, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chocolat Bonnat
Ceylan 75% Chocolat Noir (Dark Chocolate) bar
Good +++ - Very Good
Weight: .7 oz. (20 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 105 calories (estimate) in 1/5 bar
Cost: $13.00 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA
Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate, Enchanted Islands and Pirates Theme Week.

Today's Ceylan 75% Cacao Chocolat Noir (Dark Chocolate) bar was made by Chocolat Bonnat (Voiron, France) and distributed by Custom Source LLC (Worcester, MA).

Every Bonnat dark chocolate bar I recall tasting has had a luscious buttery, creamy texture. This gluten free bar made with cacao beans grown in Ceylan* was no exception. It had a faint sweet leather aroma note, a rich, full chocolatey flavor, a faint sour cherry note and a slightly bittersweet finish. 
Tasting notes described this Ceylan bar has having Asian flavors. Not sure what that meant exactly. I didn't pick up any spice or other notes I associated with SE Asia chocolate or cuisine.

*The name Ceylan (Ceylon) is an island nation located in the Indian Ocean, south of India. 

The people of this island have felt the presence of European nations: first, the Portuguese in the early 1500s and then the Dutch (Dutch India Company), before falling under British rule from 1815 to 1948. 

The British brought a variety of plantation crops to grow on the island, including tea, rubber, coffee and presumably cacao. Ceylon became known for its lush tea plantations under British rule. Were it not for labor practices there, more of the people might have experienced its enchanted isle status. 

Concerns over foreign powers, and pirates in the Indian Ocean, have been a part of the region for some time. In the early 1940s Japan was said to have designs on Ceylon. And occasional incidents of piracy (e.g., raids on commercial/trading ships) in the surrounding seas continue to the present decade.

The country eventually re-gained its independence; and in 1972, it became the Republic of Sri Lanka. Ceylon has continued to be influenced by India, China and other larger trading partners as they participate in the global economy, with exports like tea, textiles, rice and other agricultural products, like cacao.









Sunday, February 18, 2018

Chocolat Bonnat - Dark Chocolate Haiti 75% Cacao bar - Feb. 18, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chocolat Bonnat 
Dark Chocolate Haiti 75% Cacao bar
Very Good
Weight: 1.16 oz. (33.3 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 175 calories in 1/3 bar
Cost: $16.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate, Enchanted Islands and Pirates Theme Week.

Today's Haiti 75% Cacao Dark Chocolate bar from Chocolat Bonnat (Voiron, France). This product of France was distributed by Custom Source LLC (Worcester, MA).


This chocolate had dried fruit and light spice notes. Like other Chocolat Bonnat bars, this three-ingredient (cocoa beans, cocoa butter, sugar) bar had buttery, creamy texture, and a pleasing finish.

Tasting notes on the packaging included this semi-awkwardly translated description: "...this rich and fragrant cocoa offers very chocolate flavors sliding toward a tangy citrus edge."

Perhaps the Republic of Haiti was once an enchanted isle in the distant past. It's easy to forget slavery and the violent side of piracy. Privateer Henry Morgan and other pirates once plied the waters and Morgan worked with the French. Ultimately, one positive historic development that grew out of that era was that the French brought cacao to Haiti in the early 1700s.

And, a few hundred year later, we are enjoying chocolate made from cacao raised and harvested by Haitian cacao farmers. Hurricane Matthew (2016) notwithstanding, the cacao production has been growing in recent years. Today's bar is a positive sign of what might be.

*Haiti is the western half of larger island that is Hispaniola. The eastern half is the Dominican Republic. Haitian cacao represents a fraction of the total cacao production from the total island that is Haiti and the Dominican Republic; but this may grow in the future with organizations like PISA (See yesterday's entry for more on PISA.)






Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Smooth Chocolator - 70% Cacao Haiti bar - Feb. 17, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

The Smooth Chocolator
70% Cacao Haiti bar 
Good ++ - Good +++
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 2.12 oz. (60 g.) in total bar
Calories: 159 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $11.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate, Enchanted Islands and Pirates Theme Week.

Pirates of many ilk have sailed the seas around many island nations, including Australia and Haiti (formerly Tortuga). These two islands (OK one is an island continent) are also linked to today's chocolate.

Cocoa was planted in Haiti about 300 years ago, and may or may not have been part of pirate plunder; but it is a valuable crop in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic. While not a lot of cacao grows in Australia, there are a handful of great chocolate makers there.

Today's dark, single origin 70% Cacao Haiti bar was made by The Smooth Chocolator, a small batch craft chocolate company in Geelong, Australia—using cocoa beans from PISA* in North Haiti.

This dark bar had dried fruit, chocolate, light spice/licorice and citrus notes. Tasting notes on the package read: "Grapefruit, Tobacco, Licorice."

The chocolate had a smooth even melt, and a very slightly granular texture. The finish was light and relatively fresh and attenuated fairly quickly.

*Produits Des Iles SA (PISA) is a relatively new cacao processor and exporter in North Haiti. The organization works with hundreds of cacao farmers, and has pledged to improve post harvest handling practices, which will produce higher quality cacao and, one hopes, a better market for farmers as well.




Friday, February 16, 2018

Pirate Brands - Chocolate Granola Fruit Coins - Feb. 16, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Pirate Brands, LLC
Chocolate Granola Fruit Coins
Good 
Weight: .8 oz. (23 g.) / 4 oz. (115 g.) in total box of 5 bags
Calories: 80 calories in 1 bag 
Cost: $1.99 for 1 box of 5 bags
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA 
Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate, Enchanted Islands and Pirates Theme Week.

These pirate-themed Chocolate Granola Fruit Coins—made in Canada and distributed by Pirate Brands, LLC (Parsippany, NJ)—were small compressed disks made of dates, raisins, oats, chocolate chips, dried coconut and quinoa. Each coin had a denomination (number) stamped on it. (Date doubloons?)

"Thar be chewy!" the pirate on the label advised. Aye, indeed they were, in a good way. The oats and quinoa helped give these snack pieces shape, and balanced out the sweetness from the dates and raisins. And the chocolate chips lent a rich flavor that tied together fruit and grain ingredients.

These fruit granola snack pieces contained "no artificial colors, preservatives or flavorings."

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Go Max Go - Thumbs Up Candy Bar - Feb. 15, 2018

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

Go Max Go Foods LLC

Thumbs Up candy bar
Good
Weight: 1.3 oz. (37 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 160 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $2.39 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Buccaneer candy bar
Good
Weight: 2.0 oz. (57 g.) in total bar
Calories: 230 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $2.39 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to the first day of Chocolate, Enchanted Islands and Pirates Theme Week.

Today's "Thumbs Up" and "Buccaneer" candy bars were distributed by Go Max Go Foods LLC (Santa Fe, NM).

First, a quick digression. A big Thumbs Up to all the athletes competing in this week's Winter Olympics in Korea this week.

The gluten free, vegan Thumbs Up candy bar was reminiscent of a Nestle Butterfinger bar, with a crunchy, "peanut buttery" center. Though similar, this bar had a slightly simpler ingredient list, and claimed to be made with "nothing artificial."

The second, Buccaneer, candy bar was featured on ChocolateBanquet.com (this site) a few years ago, but it was too pirate-like not to include again this week alongside its candy bar sibling. It had a creamy, almost fluffy, gooey-sweet nougat filling. (Think Mars Milky Way or 3 Musketeers bar.)

Both Go Max Go bars had a "chocolatey" coating which did contain cocoa powder, if you're wondering. The Buccaneer was bit too sweet for me, but pirates with a sweet tooth may enjoy this bar.




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