Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Cacao de Origen - Sur del Lago 75 percent bar - Sept. 9, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Cacao de Origen
Sur del Lago 75 percent bar
Very Good - Very Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 1.94 oz. (55 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1 oz. of bar
Cost: $14.00 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #8 of Chocolate and Venezuela Theme Week.

Cacao de Origin is, according to the company's website, "an idea, a project, a dream, a reality." It's also a collaboration, laboratory and store where farmers and chocolate makers (and chefs) interact and where some great chocolate is made.

Maria Fernanda Di Giacobbe and Bernardo Machado at Cacao De Origen are passionate about making great chocolate from Venezuelan cacao and bringing the industry back to prominence. (The Venezuelan cacao industry was overshadowed back in the 1930s when oil was discovered in the country.)

Chloe Doutre-Roussel, based in France, has supported chocolate makers in several countries. She visited the Bay Area in 2014, with Maria Fernanda and Bernardo. And I was fortunate to meet all three there. Here is a link to a presentation they made at The Chocolate Garage (in Palo Alto, CA) about another Cacao De Origen bar made from Venezuelan cacao -- a  Macuare origin bar.

Today's Sur del Lago ("South of the Lake*") 75% cacao bar (actually two thin bars that I broke into pieces to share) was excellent -- a well-balanced bar uniformly full of tart red fruit, light leather, deep cocoa flavors, with no off-notes. It was made with cacao from Merida, Venezuela, as a Cacao de Origen limited edition bar (at Hacienda La Trinidad, Caracas, Venezuela).

*Refers to a cacao growing region south of Lake Maracaibo in Western Venezuela. It may be hard to see, but the Sur del Lago area is highlighted on today's bar (appearing as a small field of green dots on the front of the label).

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