Sunday, May 3, 2015

Charm School - Coconut Milk Maple Pecan bar - May 3, 2015

Chocolate of the Day:

Charm School Chocolate
Coconut Chocolate with Maple Candied Pecans bar
Good +
Weight: 2.1 oz. (60 g.) in total bar
Calories: 315 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $11.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

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

Joshua Rosen, owner and chocolate maker at Charm School Chocolate (Baltimore, MD) crafts non-dairy chocolate bars from scratch. And the bars I've tried have all been made with cacao from Belize. The beans are "stone ground in small batches from single origin cacao," according to information on the company's website.

Today's 49% cacao Coconut Milk Chocolate Maple Candied Pecans bar was made with cacao beans from Maya Mountain Cacao (in the Toledo district of Southern Belize), Georgia pecans, and maple syrup. Subtle hints of sea salt, cinnamon and grains of paradise* help round out the flavor profile. Crispy, crunchy and flavorfully sweet nutty texture harmonized with smooth underlying coconut milk chocolate.

Coconut milk takes the place of cream and/or milk -- and if you didn't know this fact, you could be easily fooled. There is no strong coconut taste to these bars.

Charm School Chocolate bars are soy free, certified vegan and made with organic ingredients.

*Grains of Paradise (Aframomum melegueta) is the name of a spice, related to ginger (with flavor notes often likened to black pepper and/or cardamom), native to West Africa but also found in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Taza Chocolate - Belize bar - May 2, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Taza Chocolate
Factory Limited Belize Bar
Good +
Weight: .75 oz. (21.25 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 115 calories in 1/4 bar
Cost: $6.95 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: SweetE Organic, Mill Valley, CA

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

This Factory Limited Belize dark bar was crafted from the first batch of cacao beans that Taza Chocolate (Somerville, MA) obtained from Maya Mountain Cacao (MMC), located in the Toledo District of Southern Belize). MMC sources beans from local farmers in the region and helps supply the beans to premium chocolate makers like Taza.

Taza Chocolate is known for flavorful stoneground chocolate -- disc-like rounds with break-apart wedges used for drinking chocolate in the rustic Mexican style.

Taza continued in the stoneground tradition with this bar. Rather than buttery smoothness made possible by particles ground (for days) into a tiny size for smoothness, each bite of this Belize bar sparkled with intact cocoa and sugar flavors and semi-granular textures.

Dick Taylor - 72% Belize bar - May 1, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Dick Taylor Chocolate
72% Belize bar
Good - Good ++
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (56.6 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA
Today was Day #3 of Chocolate and Belize Theme Week.

This award*-winning 72% cacao Belize bar was crafted by Dick Taylor Chocolate (Eureka, CA), using beans from Maya Mountain Cacao, in the Toledo district in Southern Belize.

The flavors were rich, robust and well balanced.

The two Northern California chocolate makers behind these bars -- Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor -- eschew vanilla, emulsifiers and added cocoa butter to focus on creating the best bar possible. Successful execution requires precise attention to many tasks and details, and the ability to coax the optimal flavors from a batch of cacao beans that may vary from year to year.

The company's award-winning packaging illustrations are done by Dustin's brother, graphic designer Garrett Taylor (who is also an illustrator at Pixar).

*Northwest Chocolate Festival (Seattle), Bronze - 2013; Good Food Awards (San Francisco) winner - 2014; Academy of Chocolate Awards (London), Bronze - 2015

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