Thursday, July 9, 2015

Chchukululu - Chukudamia 65% Dark with Macadamia bar - July 9, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chukudamia - 65% Dark Chocolate with Amazonian Macadamia bar
Good - Good +
Weight: .704 oz. (20 g.) / 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 100 calories in 2/5 bar
Cost: $7.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: SweetE Organic, Mill Valley, CA

Today was Day #5 of Chocolate and Ecuador Theme Week.

I met Lourdes Delgado, president of Chchukululu (Ecuador), when she was at the Winter Fancy Food Show (in San Francisco) last January. I enjoyed her passion for educating people about Ecuador and Arriba Nacional cacao, and hearing about her Ecuadorian chocolate bars.

The company name, Chchukululu, is slightly easier to comprehend if you imagine the word's origin. Roughly translated from Kichwa-Aymara, it means "singing bird."

Chchukululu bars, including today's 65% Dark Chocolate with Amazonian Macadamia (nut bits), are made from "Cacao Nacional that grows along the Arriba Zone, comprising the provinces of Manabi, Guayas, and Los Rios."

Arriba Nacional is considered "fine flavored" cacao* and is characterized by a sweet floral, light fruit aroma.  I did experience a lighter, sweeter complex aroma and flavor in the first few bites of this bar, that was different than non-100% Nacional Arriba bars this week.

Delicate Flavors "vs." Hybrid Vigor

It would be great to preserve more of these "heritage" fine flavors in cacao beans. However, I'm guessing as we make plants more uninviting to insects (and diseases) by increasing bitter components and making them tougher, delicate aromas might be at risk. (The roses in my yard that were bred to be the hardiest seem to have lost some of their lovely smell over time.)

*Only a small percent of the world's chocolate is made with these fine flavored Arriba Nacional beans, so called because of their floral and fruit aroma and flavor notes. An increasingly small percent of chocolate in Ecuador is made with these beans, due to adoption of more vigorous hybrids such as CCN-51 -- that may be more productive and disease-resistant, but may lack some of these pleasant aromas. One can hope that work is still underway on hybrids that retain more of these precious flavors. 

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