Monday, November 21, 2016

Vanini - Dark Chocolate 86% bar - Nov. 21, 2016

Chocolate of the Day: 

Dark Chocolate 86% cocoa bar
Good+ - Good++
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 240 calories in 4/10 of bar (4 squares)
Cost: $3.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Piazza's Fine Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Bienvenidos (Welcome) to Day #6 of Chocolate and Peru Theme Week.

Today's single origin Vanini Dark Chocolate 86% cocoa bar was manufactured by ICAM SpA (Orsenigo (CO), Italy) and made with Peruvian cacao.

This bittersweet bar smelled quite sweet. And it took me a few seconds to remember I was biting into an ultra-dark 86% cocoa chocolate.

The texture was thick and almost creamy with a slow melt. (The house, and therefore the bar, was cold this morning, and the cold makes bars firmer.) However, there also seemed to be a lot of added cocoa butter that seemed to muffle the dark flavor profile a bit—although cold temperatures could have influenced this perception too. (Cocoa butter is relatively solid until it warms up to body temperature.)

The GMO-free, gluten-free bar had very dark and even flavor, with a steady, mild undercurrent of roasted coffee and very mild wood or tobacco. The hint of sweetness was more plant-like, closer to green banana than ripe fruit. Eating the bar felt like gliding in an ebony canoe on a very still, dark river, through thick, dark woods.

The tasting notes (printed on the bar's packaging) also mentioned "persistent tannins.*" I braced myself for a good tooth-coating, but any tannins in this bar seemed relatively mild and friendly.

*Relatively high levels of tannins are naturally found in tea, red wine, berries and cocoa—foods known for mild astringency and the presence of desirable polyphenols. 

Higher levels of tannic acid, found in trees and plants, helps to protect against predation (insects) and harmful bacteria. And in the case of redwood tree bark, tannic acid can even help protect the trees against fire apparently.

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