Monday, December 9, 2013

Lonohana Estate - Nene bar with sea salt - Dec. 9, 2013

Chocolate of the Day: 

Lonohana Estate Chocolate, LLC
The Nene Milk with sea salt bar
Very Good
Weight: 1.15 oz. (32.5 g.) / 2.3 oz. (65 g.) in total bar
Calories: 173 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $14.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #2 of Chocolate and Salt Theme Week.

Most great chocolate bars contain five ingredients or less. Today's bar was no exception. The Nene Milk with sea salt bar from Lonohana Estate Chocolate (Honolulu, HI) ingredient list read as follows: 1.) Lonohana Estate grown cacao; 2.) cocoa butter; 3.) organic whole milk powder; 4.) Maui cane sugar; and 5.) Alaea sea salt.

This Nene milk chocolate bar possessed wonderful caramel notes, without being overly sweet, and just the right, light touch of sea salt.

Lonohana Estate Chocolate, LLC, is the product of two families' efforts to both grow their own cacao fruit/trees in Hawaii and to make their own chocolate from the cacao beans. They planted their first tree back in 2009, and have started selling small production runs of bars (through a club system) within the last year.

Classified as a tree-to-bar company, this maker has more control over the complete process (raising the probability of making a great chocolate bar). However, the many steps involved, from propagating cacao seedlings to tempering and molding finished chocolate bars, also present more complex challenges (and opportunities for things to go wrong). For these reasons, the maker(s) at Lonohana are to be congratulated.* (Thank you Seneca, and Sunita.)

*Note: If the greatest alchemy is to turn fear into strength, the second greatest feat may be to turn cacao beans into great chocolate. There are more than 20 steps involved. The process rivals wine-making and any other complex craft food-making that I've encountered.

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