Saturday, September 22, 2012

ChocolateBet: September 22, 2012

Chocolate of the Day: 

Dark Chocolate with "Citrus" notes
Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) / 2 oz. (58 g.) total bar
Calories: 145 calories (estimate) in 1 oz. serving
Cost: $3.99 total bar
Purchased from: Whole Foods, in Palo Alto, CA

TCHO (San Francisco, CA), a pioneer in educating the public about the different tastes and origins of cacao, created a "PureNotes" line of bars: Chocolatey, Nutty, Fruity and Citrus bars, so named for characteristic flavor notes. To make this Citrus 67% cacao dark chocolate bar, the company obtained organic beans from the Sambirano Valley of Madagascar, and crafted them into chocolate with light bright citrus notes characteristic of this region.

I had previously tasted a small Citrus 70% cacao version of this square bar in 2009; this 67% bar was a slightly different formulation. It was quite nice for savoring a la carte. However, I decided to melt a bar and used this luscious fondue for a fresh fig brunch plate with Tuscan Ricciarelli (gluten free almond) cookies (with traces of orange and vanilla); chopped almonds; a tiny glass of sherry; and a small cafe latte on the side. It's that time of year, when golden summer gives way to fall, where richer, darker flavors have a stronger appeal.

Today was Day #8 of Madagascar Chocolate Theme Week, and Day #1 of Chocolate Figs and Coffee Theme Week.

ChocolateBet: September 21, 2012

Chocolate of the Day:

Ritual Chocolate
Madagascar 75% cacao bar
Weight: 1.5 oz. (42.5 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 219 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $8.00 for total bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, in Palo Alto, CA

This 2011 harvest dark bar made by Ritual Chocolate (Denver, CO) was perhaps the most subtle but well balanced Madagascar bar I've eaten this week, with both very slight acidic notes and also a faint hint of caramel.

Made with organic cacao beans from the Sambirano Valley in Northern Madagascar, the bar was enveloped in gold foil paper, and wrapped in attractively designed packaging adorned with a lemur.

Warning, tangent about lemurs ahead.... A lemur is a monkey-like marsupial with large eyes and a long, ringed tail, native to this large island nation off the east coast of Africa. I've been told many farmers regard lemurs as pests; and I'm left to wonder whether lemurs like/can eat cacao fruit or not. I somehow remember reading that they might be able to eat cacao without ill effects. (I remember feeding a lemur a banana while in Madagascar in 2005; sadly there was no cacao fruit to see, or taste, on that trip, much less some to feed to lemurs.)

Today was Day #7 of Madagascar Chocolate Theme Week. 
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