Friday, May 22, 2015

Casa de Chocolates - Organic Peruvian Espresso bar - May 22, 2015

Chocolate of the Day:

Casa de Chocolates
Organic Peruvian Espresso bar
Weight: .5 oz. (14.1 g.) / 2.89 oz. (81.7 g.) in total bar
Calories: 75 calories (estimate) in .5 oz. (14.1 g.) of bar
Cost: $8.00 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Casa de Chocolates

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Organic Theme Week. Many chocolatiers and chocolate makers are concerned about sustainable farming practices and manufacturing processes, and choosing organic cacao beans and other ingredients may be part of that philosophy. Today's bar was a good example.

This Organic Peruvian Espresso 61% cacao bar was "hecho a mano" (made by hand) by Casa de Chocolates (Berkeley, CA). The company specializes in sustainable chocolates (many are organic) with Latin American inspired themes and flavor inclusions.

Today's vegan and gluten-free bar had the nicely balanced blend of smooth, sweet dark chocolate and coffee (espresso) flavor and texture (the ground coffee bits were not too gritty). 

The Chocolate Conspiracy - Dark 74% bar - May 21, 2015

Chocolate of the Day:

The Chocolate Conspiracy
Dark Bar - 74% Cacao
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (56 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $8.95 for 1 bar
Purchased from: SweetE Organic, Mill Valley, CA

Today was Day #2 of Chocolate and Organic Theme Week.

Yesterday I kicked off "Organic" Week by featuring a raw, organic bar made with Peruvian cacao.

Today's 74% Cacao Dark Bar from The Chocolate Conspiracy (Salt Lake City, UT) was also a raw, organic chocolate bar, but with some taste and texture differences. This dark bar had a creamy mouth feel and even, smooth chocolate flavor, with relative low acidity. It was sweetened with wildflower honey; and the honey gave the bar a pleasant, lilting sweetness.

According to the packaging, the company sources cacao from different regions -- all raw, organic, fair trade and kosher -- and notes a low microbe count in their cacao (addressing a concern that some people have about raw cacao).

As with other raw cacao vendors, processing times and steps that could raise the temperature of the cacao (fermentation, roasting, conching, etc.) are either kept to a minimum and operated at more controlled, lower/slower levels. Some beans the company sources are either lightly fermented, or non-fermented and air-dried to preserve freshly picked cacao bean flavor.

Certain flavors will be harder to develop with lower temperatures and without fermentation and roasting. However, I continue to enjoy sampling raw and/or raw + lower-glycemic chocolates. Some are very smooth and flavorful, and many raw chocolates also seem to have less of a sugar rush and chocolate flush -- which I like.

SweetE Organic
Thankfully, there are many more places to buy good, organic raw chocolates than when I started this website in 2006.

I bought this chocolate bar at SweetE Organic, north of San Francisco. Elana Turchon, owner of SweetE Organic (Mill Valley, CA), has seen the organic market evolve. She founded SweetE Organic to be inclusive, to offer organic sweets and gifts that would serve everyone in the community, including those with food allergies. She offers organic, raw, gluten-free, nut-free and vegan/dairy-free options in her shop, and now online. 

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