Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Chocolate Momotombo - Pre-Colombian Feast - Mar. 15, 2016

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

Fabrica de Chocolate Momotombo (Momotombo Chocolate Factory)
(tour and Pre-Colombian feast)
Very Good
Weight: unknown feast weight
Calories: unknown feast calories
Cost: $ N/A - part of a larger trip package
Purchased from: N/A - part of a larger trip package

Today the Chocolate Banquet Nicaragua Series continues with the second of two chocolate write-ups from this Central American country*. This evening I was fortunate to be part of a small group of people that visited the Momotombo Chocolate Factory in Managua, Nicaragua.

After seeing, smelling and tasting chocolates as part of a tour of the Momotombo Chocolate Factory, our group sat down to a pre-Colombian inspired dinner, under a giant lantern-lit mango tree (in the factory's back yard). The food was fresh, and amazingly good.

The chocolates and the entire feast was planned out and executed by Momotombo owner and founder, Carlos Mann. More about Carlos later this week. His factory turns out fresh (stovetop-cooked) chocolates, filled chocolate confections and bars.

Feast menu items this evening included: fresh corn tortillas with guacamole (avocado flavored with passion fruit), chicken mole, tamales, and many other dishes; and it was topped off by a fantastic fresh fruit plate. (I've never tasted sapote or pineapple like this where I live.)

Bravo Carlos, and thank you to Sunita and team at the Chocolate Garage for setting up this tour.

*Nicaragua is a cacao "origin" country, i.e. one of the Central American countries where cacao grew and was cultivated--dating back thousands of years, to the Olmec civilization.

The content and images in this post belong to ChocolateBanquet.com.

El Castillo del Cacao - Coffee and Cashew bar - Mar. 15, 2016

Chocolate of the Day: 

El Castillo del Cacao
Coffee and Cashew (Cafe y Maranon) bar
Good - Good +
Weight: .7 oz. (20 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 105 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: 24.00 Cordobas (Nicaragua) or approx. $0.88 (USD)
Purchased from: Hotel San Jose, Matagalpa, Nicaragua

This week I've launched a Nicaragua Edition Series of chocolates, that reflects real-time travel through this Central American country of cacao origin.

I'll be featuring multiple chocolates per day, which may be a bit confusing. Basically this week/trip will entail sampling at least seven+ local chocolates, some of which will be surprise discoveries, like today's bar.

El Castillo del Cacao (cocoa castle) is a local chocolatemaker in the Matagalpa, Nicaragua area. Today's Cafe y Maranon (Coffee and Cashew) bar was one of two El Castillo bars I purchased at our hotel--Hotel San Jose (in downtown Matagalpa).

This chocolate bar was made from local (Nicaraguan), organic cacao. It had a touch of well-balanced coffee flavor, a slightly gritty (stoneground sugar and cacao) texture, and was marked with what looked to be an embossed bike symbol across the top.

Stoneground or lightly conched bars (made in a traditional manner that pre-dates large manufacturing facilities filled with stainless steel equipment) may lack the buttery smooth texture that some European-made bars have from hours or days of grinding down cacao bean pieces into micro-particle sized velvety bits; however, this rustic style with more substantial flavor and almost crunchy texture has its virtues and fans too.

*Apologies for the blurry photos, taken on a moving bus.

The content and images in this post belong to ChocolateBanquet.com.

Kiss Me - Helado con un trago de ron - Mar. 14, 2016

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

Kiss Me
Chocolate helado (con almendras y malvaviscos) con un trago de ron
Very Good
Weight: unknown
Calories: unknown (estimate about 300 calories for amount I had)
Cost: $4.00 (estimate) for 1 serving of ice cream + rum
Purchased from: Kiss Me, Matagalpa, Nicaragua

Hola (hello). Astute readers may have noticed that this ice cream was the second "Chocolate of the Day."

We were strolling around a new town, intending to eat a real dinner, but ran into this great ice cream store, which delayed dinner, and created an opportunity for a Nicaraguan (second) chocolate of the day.

This evening's chocolate ice cream with almond and marshmallow pieces was from Kiss Me (Matagalpa, Nicaragua). The ice cream was scooped into a large brandy snifter (glass) and served with a generous shot of Nicaraguan Flor de Cana rum on the side. Both were served on a small, hardwood, cutting board, rustic style.

This evening's treat also marked the beginning of an accelerated series of chocolates from Nicaragua over the next few days.

When traveling through a new country, it's good to be flexible and open to surprises like this pink and white corner store in downtown Matagalpa. They had some great flavors.

Try a scoop of Kiss Me's passion fruit (Maracuya) yogurt on top of a scoop of the shop's caramel ice cream if you have chocolate fatigue.

Note: Thanks very much to Olga who very kindly provided the photos for this post!

The content and images in this post belong to ChocolateBanquet.com.

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