Saturday, April 25, 2015

Whole Foods - Costa Rica 71% dark bar - April 25, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Whole Foods
Costa Rica 71% Cacao Dark Chocolate bar
Good - Good +
Weight: .875 oz. (25 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 153 calories in 1/4 bar (2 squares)
Cost: $ lost information
Purchased from: Whole Foods Market

Today was Day #5 of Chocolate and Central America Theme Week.

This Costa Rica 71% dark chocolate bar was made with cacao beans from Costa Rica that were Rainforest Alliance Certified, and carried the "Whole Trade Guarantee" seal from Whole Foods Market (Austin, TX).

Kim's Chocolates, a large chocolate maker in Belgium, likely made today's bar, as well as yesterday's Hageland* Costa Rica 71% dark chocolate bar. The bars were the same size and molded shape.

Large companies are very good at creating consistent flavor from many small batches of cacao beans, that may vary from season to season. Smaller chocolate makers learn to do this too, but have a bit more freedom to experiment with flavors that (like wine) vary from year to year. And there may even be a bit of the notion: "If you can't fix it, feature it," occasionally. And some customers might appreciate more fruit, or more floral aroma, or other flavor characteristics in a given year, as long as a bar is well balanced.

Today's bar was likely produced under very similar conditions, with similar Rainforest Alliance Certified cacao beans, as yesterday's bar. It had some of the same dark, almost smoky flavor, but it was slightly sweeter and smoother, and less nutty than the Hageland bar.

I also used some previously squirreled away Britt Licor de Cafe (coffee liqueur) from Costa Rica and this chocolate to make a small treat. Que bueno.

*Hageland (a region in Belgium) is a brand that was originally developed by Kim's Chocolates for large chain stores (Walmart) -- likely, at least in part, to help introduce single origin chocolate to a broader audience, at an affordable price point.

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