Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Amano Cardamom Black Pepper bar - Jan. 5, 2016

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

Amano Chocolate Company

Cardamom Black Pepper bar
Very Good
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g.) total bar
Calories: 140 calories (estimate) in 1/3 bar
Purchased from: Amano Chocolate Company

Dos Rios bar
Good ++ - Very Good
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g.) total bar
Calories: 142 calories (estimate) in 1/3 bar
Purchased from: Amano Chocolate Company

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

Amano Chocolate Company (Orem, UT) makes two bars that seem to possess remarkable floral flavor notes. They brightened up a dark, dreary winter day outside. (Even today's midday photos were sunlight-starved and in need of a pick me up.)

Both the Dos Rios and Cardamom Black Pepper bars were crafted from cacao beans from Guayas, in the Dominican Republic.

Like many bean-to-bar chocolate makers, Art Pollard at Amano has a relatively close working relationship with farmers that produce their preferred cacao beans. And rather than go with a fair trade certification logo, a note on the packaging states: "Fairly Traded with the Farmer." I'd covet that direct relationship too if it guaranteed me continued access to magic beans like this.

Amano tasting notes for the Dos Rios chocolate mention bergamot orange and lavender. It was so floral, it was hard to believe the base 70% cocoa Dos Rios bar didn't have any added flavors. I remember having the same reaction, when I first tasted the Amano Dos Rios bar a few years ago. Since I love floral flavors, I was delighted.*

The Cardamom and Black Pepper bar takes this same Dos Rios bergamot orange, heady floral-citrus flavor (think Earl Grey tea), and kicks it up a few notches. I also tasted light green fig, cardamom, almond blossom, green tea, and finally got a little lavender after a a few bites. Embedded sugar crystals enhanced the sparkle factor and gave the bar some crunchy texture. The single estate black pepper flavoring captured the pepper's floral notes, and not its heat.

The Amano Cardamom Black Pepper bar was a relatively recent addition—part of a group of bars with new packaging and with flavor inclusions. Previously the company offered a cardamom and black pepper truffle; this was a bar version of that award-winning confection.

*I readily admit my biases. I like chocolate with all sorts of complex flavors: chocolatey, nutty, citrus, etc. I love floral and umami notes and flavor inclusions. They may not be everyone's cup of tea.


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