Monday, April 29, 2013

Cotton Tree Chocolate bars - April 29, 2013

Chocolate(s) of the Day:

Cotton Tree Chocolate
Dark Chocolate with Black Pepper (bar)
Good + - Very Good
Weight: 1.15 oz. (32.5 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 167 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: (May vary according to location)
Purchased from: Cotton Tree Chocolate, Punta Gorda, Belize

While in Punta Gorda (Belize), I enjoyed the free chocolate tour at Cotton Tree Chocolate, where chocolate bars, cocoa mixes and teas, and other cacao-related items can also be purchased.

Trivia question: Why was Cotton Tree Chocolate store manager (Juli Puryear) holding a hair dryer? All the better to winnow (the thin, light, chaff-like skins that come off cocoa beans after roasting).

I enjoyed Cotton Tree's Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa) with Black Pepper, gluten-free bar -- with almost delicate floral, spicy black pepper notes. This bar was made with organic cocoa beans and organic cocoa butter from the Toledo District of southern Belize, an area known for pockets of fine cacao.

And I believe the pepper in today's bar was Malabar (black) pepper from the Spice Farm up the road. (Peppercorns look like strands of tiny green pearls when plucked from the vine.)

I also enjoyed a bite of a Cotton Tree (seasonal) sweet milk chocolate Cocoa Mint Crunch bar with nibs that tasted very refreshing (think high-quality, peppermint ice cream) on a warm day. Sugar was the first ingredient listed; so, the nibs pressed onto the back of the bar imparted the crunchy, earthy cacao flavor that balanced the sweet mint base.

Cotton Trees, Cotton Tree Lodge
The Cotton Tree Lodge (a sister company to Cotton Tree Chocolate) lies further inland, provides lodging, and also offers chocolate related activities. (Maya Mountain Cacao is also located adjacent to the Lodge.)

Both are represented in spirit, by the Ceiba tree, also known as the Cotton Tree. (A silhouette of this tree is shown on the Cotton Tree Chocolate's logo and packaging.)

This large majestic tree is known as the Cotton Tree in part because of the downy fluff it sheds. (Jaguars are said to raise their cubs in the folds of the cotton tree's elaborate root system.)

Today was Day #8 of Chocolate and Latin America Theme Week.

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