Sunday, September 13, 2015

Lillie Belle Farms - The Wild Thing Bolivia bar - Sept. 13, 2015

Chocolate of the Day:

Lillie Belle Farms
The Wild Thing Bolivia bar
Good++ - Very Good
Weight: 2.5 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 375 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $8.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Lillie Belle Farms, Central Point, OR

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

There were several wild things about The Wild Thing 68% Bolivia bar artfully crafted by Jeff Sheperd at Lillie Belle Farms (Central Point, OR).

First, it must have been an honor to work with this special* batch of wild, Criollo cacao harvested from the rainforests of Bolivia.

Second, great bars made from Bolivian cacao sound wildly contradictory when I try to describe them. Bold or robust, but smooth. Acidic, but not. Earthy, but not "dirt" bars. Vexingly subtle flavors that appear halfway through that (if not squashed in the making process) can be difficult to identify.

For example, today's thick, 68% dark chocolate bar had a rich, cocoa, mild earthy aroma. And behind the robustness and mild/balanced acidity were some remarkable and fleeting subtler flavors that I couldn't quite identify. (And the wild thing was I ate the whole darn bar trying to figure them out.)

This was a thick bar. A case can be made for thin (quick access to flavors) or thick (patience yields a slower reveal of flavors). Thickness gave this bar a slow, creamy melt and did seem to reveal flavors more slowly.

Part of the wild thing about Criollo (fine flavor, heritage) cacao beans is that they are subtle and yet full of interesting flavor. However, they can be more delicate, more disease prone when subject to denser, human-cultivated planting areas, and the trees often bear smaller pods (fruit). I hope these great beans are kept alive and unadulterated as long as is possible, so we don't have to say, the wildest thing of all is that these heritage strains still exist at all.

*Note: Unfortunately, The Wild Thing bar may no longer be available; it was not listed on the Lillie Belle Farms website when I wrote this review.

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