Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Dandelion - 100% Camino Verde Ecuador bar - July 7, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Dandelion Chocolate
100% Camino Verde Ecuador bar
Good - Good +
Weight: .66 oz. (18.66 g.) / 2 oz. (56 g.) in total bar
Calories: 99 calories (estimate) in 1/3 bar
Cost: $12.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Dandelion Chocolate, San Francisco, CA

Today was Day #3 of Chocolate and Ecuador Theme Week.

A true, one hundred percent cacao bar represent chocolate at its essence. Just cocoa solids and cocoa fat (butter). There is no sugar, or other "fillers" to hide behind.

And, whereas the first bite of a regular, 70% cacao bar may yield a slight warm, lilting rush of flavors and sweetness, the first bite of some 100% bars can be more like jumping into a cold pool. A bit shocking at first, but also a bit thrilling and refreshing.

Today I had a great opportunity to try two very dark bars side by side that were both made with cacao from Camino Verde, Ecuador: a 100% bar and an 85% bar (featured yesterday). Both were from Dandelion Chocolate (San Francisco, CA). Side by side tastings are a great way to learn about chocolate, and to find out what you like best.

Today's 100% Camino Verde Ecuador bar had a sweet, loamy earth aroma. It broke with a hard snap. The first bite yielded a bitterness that quickly settled down and evened out to a uniform bitter earthy flavor with a very faint hint of tobacco or smoke. (It was relatively low in acid or "fruit" notes, that often seem to be enhanced by sugar.)

Both yesterday's 85% Camino Verde Ecuador bar (2014 Harvest, Batch #1) and today's 100% Camino Verde Ecuador bar (2014 Harvest, Batch #1) were fairly smooth and even in taste and texture and had a slight bitterness to them. It was interesting to note that the 100% bar (with no sugar) seemed to smell sweeter than the 85% bar (I didn't expect that), even though the 100% bar had a more bitter flavor (I did expect that).

Dandelion Chocolate produces a line of attractively wrapped, single origin, bean-to-bar chocolate bars. They've built relationships with cacao farmers in countries that have included Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Belize, Papua New Guinea, Liberia and Madagascar. As with other chocolate-makers, they are also constantly evaluating beans from different sources, to help ensure quality over time (harvests and batches do vary), and to investigate new sources. (E.g., they recently made an exploratory trip to Cuba.)

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