Saturday, February 20, 2016

Arete - Madagascar Sambirano Valley 70% bar - Feb. 20, 2016

Chocolate of the Day: 

Arete Fine Chocolate
Madagascar Sambirano Valley 70% Dark Chocolate bar
Very Good
Weight: 1.15 oz. (32.5 g.) / 2.3 oz. (65 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 172.5 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $12.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Madagascar Theme Week.

Arete Fine Chocolate, located in the San Francisco Bay Area (Milpitas, CA), is a relatively recent entrant to the chocolate making world. They "went public" in late 2014, and began taking orders in January 2015.

Founders, David and Leslie Senk, spent time honing their craft before opening. And it shows in their line of single origin bars made with just cocoa beans and (organic) cane sugar. I have yet to taste one that wasn't well executed.

Today's Madagascar Sambirano Valley 70% Dark Chocolate bar had a pleasing aroma and broke with a hard, well-tempered snap. It had a nice melt, and uniformly sweet, well-balanced acidic, light citrus fruit flavor—with hints of dried plum, golden raisin and mild pistachio/nutty notes. The bar had a pleasant, lingering finish.

My advice: take the time to really savor this bar. When I re-tasted this deceptively subtle and flavorful bar, over the course of several minutes, new flavors revealed themselves—all of them good. On the last bite, I got a hit of delicious chocolate brownie batter.

Sadly, like many small batch, bean-to-bar chocolates, Arete Fine Chocolate bars may only be available for limited periods of time. (By the time I wrote this, the Madagascar Sambirano bar was sold out on the Arete website, at least for now.)

Thank you to Sunita at The Chocolate Garage (Palo Alto, CA), and other chocolate specialty retailers who bring us great, curated chocolate like this.

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