Friday, July 10, 2015

Trader Joe's - Ecuador bar - July 11, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Trader Joe's
66% Cacao Dark Chocolate Ecuador bar
Weight: .795 oz. (22.5 g.) / 1.59 oz. (45 g.) in total bar
Calories: 115 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $N/A - part of 8-bar package, cost previously recorded
Purchased from: Trader Joe's, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #7 of Chocolate and Ecuador Theme Week.

This 66% cacao Ecuador bar from Trader Joe's (Monrovia, CA) was part of an 8-bar tasting pack, or "Chocolate Passport" -- with 8 different single origin bars.

This complex little bar had a sweet almost spicy chocolate aroma, and a flavor arc that included caramel, fruit, hazelnut, and ended with very slightly bitter earth. The texture was pleasantly creamy, in terms of mouthfeel and melt.

There wasn't a lot of information as to where the cacao beans came from within Ecuador, i.e. which plantation/farm or province. But if I had to guess I'd say it contained at least some Arriba Nacional fine flavored cacao.

The concept of a Chocolate Passport was great. I love to travel, but I may not be able to get to every chocolate producing country in the world. Eating single origin chocolate bars gives us a way to travel "virtually" to each of the major cacao producing regions and learn about geographic differences in beans, and in some cases the difference in soil and local conditions as well as processing.

Duffy's - Corazon Del Ecuador bar - July 10, 2015

Chocolate of the Day:

Red Star Chocolate Ltd
Duffy's Fine Dark Chocolate
Corazon Del Ecuador - Camino Verde 72% bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2.82 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1 oz. (28.3 g.) piece of bar
Cost: $N/A - part of a larger subscription box
Purchased from: Cocoa Runners, U.K.

Today was Day #6 of Chocolate and Ecuador Theme Week.

Duffy's Corazon Del Ecuador - Camino Verde bar from the U.K. was made from Nacional cacao beans from the Guayas province of Ecuador.

Why is the bean type so important you might be asking? This tasting note printed on the packaging (pasted below) helps explain the sweeter, lighter, floral and fruit flavors that can accompany these fine flavored Nacional beans:

"A floral chocolate with hints of hazelnuts, orange blossom and allspice ..."

Today's 72% dark bar smelled sweet with a light caramel note, and very subtle, uplifting floral scent. The subtle "fruit" (think light, bright citrus + mild strawberry) was detectable as well. It faded to a light chocolate brownie finish.

This chocolate was nothing like the dense, dark earthy bars of the past few days; but then again, I'd been tasting 85% and 100% bars, which don't benefit from the slight sugar sparkle effect that 70% bars do.

Why re-tasting matters...

My only quibble was with the texture of this otherwise smooth bar -- there was a very slight graininess (as you might taste in a marshmallow) as the bar was melting in my mouth. However, when I re-tasted the bar a few hours later, none of this "graininess" was present -- only smooth chocolate. This is why it's important to re-taste during the course of a day. While some of these apparent changes in flavor and texture can occasionally be attributed to an inconsistency within a bar, it's more likely due to shifts in the taster's palette (what they've been eating or drinking in the last few hours before eating the chocolate).

And the temperature of the chocolate can make a difference too. For example, a bar that's too cold may literally have a stiffness to it that makes accessing certain flavors more difficult.

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