Panama 80% bar
Weight: 1.16 oz. (33.3 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 174 calories in 1/3 bar
Cost: $4.59 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA
Today was Day #6 of Chocolate and Central America Theme Week; and I'm featuring the Panama 80% dark chocolate bar from Equal Exchange (W. Bridgewater, MA).
Today's Panama 80% bar had a very similar flavor as yesterday's Panama 80% bar. Both looked the same (same molds) and both were made in Switzerland -- likely by the same Swiss chocolate manufacturer.*
Two Costa Rica bars (one sold at Whole Foods) featured earlier this week also looked very similar, and both were made by Kim's Chocolates in Belgium. There were, however, a few, very subtle flavor and color differences in the Costa Rica bars.
Today's Panama bars tasted like they could have come from the same batch in the same factory. (Both were made with cacao beans from the COCABO Cooperative in Panama.) And the bar color was the same as well.
Today's bar smelled and tasted of rich, hot chocolate with a slight hint of raspberry fruit, and the texture was creamy, almost buttery. As I commented on yesterday's bar, the flavor profile was very smooth for an 80% bar. Both bars were quite good.
Transparency in the manufacturing supply chain process is helpful, not just for the odd blogger such as myself, who is seeking to eat a "different" kind of chocolate every day.
It's also important for those who would like to understand where their chocolate comes from, and how it's made. Equal Exchange includes quite a bit of of information about farmers and the origins of cacao on their packaging (see inside of wrapper), and their website. And their commitment to fair trade is admirable.
Outsourcing of Manufacturing
It would be nice if the company who owns the "brand" and is selling the chocolate also mentioned where the chocolate was made. (Felchlin, Durig and others offer organic and fair trade chocolate in Switzerland.) Why should we care? While the Swiss are known for fine, creamy smooth chocolate; labeling regulations are different in the EU than in the U.S. Outsourcing manufacturing overseas might actually result in better product, but more transparency would be great.