Monday, March 21, 2016

Chocolate Quetzalcoatl - Soppexcca Chocolate - Mar. 20, 2016

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

Fabrica de Chocolate Quetzalcoatl
Soppexcca Chocolate - Puro bar
Good - Good +
Weight: .939 oz. (26.6 g.) in 4 squares / 4.24 oz. (120 g.) in total (18-square) bar 
Calories: calories unknown
Cost: $5.00 USD (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Vendor at Augusto C. Sandino Airport, Managua, Nicaragua

Today was the last day of Nicaragua chocolate field trip week, and a continuation of Chocolate and Coconut Theme Week. Back to "just" one chocolate a day after this.

Chocolate Quetzalcoatl (Jinotega, Nicaragua) was a chocolate maker that I missed while on a chocolate field trip in Nicaragua.

However, the beauty of airports is that you can occasionally find local chocolates for sale that you might have missed otherwise.

The packaging on today's bar bore the Soppexcca name—loosely translated, it stands for the Society of Small Exporters of Quality Coffee. It's a network of agricultural coffee co-operatives in Jinotega, with a plant near Matagalpa, Nicaragua. Interestingly this coffee is cited as having cacao flavor notes.

Quetzalcoatl is an Aztec god (of air, wind, and learning/wisdom), depicted as a plumed serpent and sometimes credited for gifting cacao (or cacao seeds) to earth's people. Legends vary; it's also been suggested that eating/drinking cacao could give one greater powers of learning. (Don't quote me on any of this. More research is needed.)

Today's bar was a dark chocolate "Puro" bar, with three ingredients: cacao, sugar, and soy lecithin.

This chocolate had an intriguing, complex aroma. I picked up a small piece and smelled it three times during a five-minute period. It had different aromas each time: a not unpleasant, lightly bitter, roasted cereal aroma; a faint, almost coffee-like note; and a slightly bitter, earthy, green (spice, herb, young plant stalks), dark chocolate note. It was consistently interesting throughout.

The texture was in the traditional stoneground, rustic style common in Mexico and many Latin American countries. But, less grinding and processing can result in more flavor, and I think this bar exemplified this fact. (If you want to a buttery smooth bar, buy chocolate that's been ground down (conched*) in a big stainless steel machine for days.)

A Welcome Home Beverage

And, when I got home, to celebrate getting home safe and sound, I made a tiny cup of drinking chocolate with two squares of grated from this bar—melted, mixed with some coconut palm sugar, hot water and a splash of milk...and stir. The coconut palm sugar added some spice and coconut molasses flavor to the mix.

Now matter how wonderful the field trip, it's always great to be home.

*Quetzalcoatl also is often seen wearing a "wind breastplate jewel" made in the shape of a modified conch shell. 

On a quasi-related note, a conching machine used in chocolate-making is called that because of its similar shape to a conch shell (that goes round and round inside a large stainless pot until the particle size is smaller and the mixture is smoother).

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