Saturday, April 16, 2016

SOMA chocolatemaker - Cacao Crunch - Apr. 16, 2016

Chocolate of the Day: 

SOMA chocolatemaker
Cacao Crunch - Chocolate twig
Very Good
Weight: 3.5 oz. (100 g.) (estimate) in total package
Calories: 525 calories (estimate) in 1 package
Cost: $18.00 (estimate) for 1 package (member price)
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and Seeds Theme Week.

What's a "Cacao Crunch?" It could be the crunchy sound being made as a happy, satisfied person consumes today's "Chocolate twig with roasted pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs and hemp seeds."

This sliceable confection from SOMA chocolatemaker (Toronto, ON, Canada) was substantially greater in size and substance than what I imagine when I think of a twig. It was both soft and crunchy, a delicious branch growing off a growing SOMA chocolate tree.

It was also delicious. The sweetness of high-quality milk chocolate was layered and made more complex with crunchy seeds and nibs. I thought I picked up a hint of hazelnut flavor, although it likely came from almonds and butter instead.

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Woodblock Chocolate Manufactory - Toasted Sesame bar - April 15, 2016

Chocolate of the Day: 

Woodblock Chocolate Manufactory
Toasted Sesame bar (Batch 17)
Good +
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 132 calories (estimate)
Cost: $4.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: French Broad Chocolates, Asheville, NC

Welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate and Seeds Theme Week.

And Happy April 15 -- the big annual tax due date in the U.S. (Canadians have until April 30). May all your financial affairs go smoothly and may you always have some pocket money for good chocolate.

Technically, any theme week on could be a chocolate and seeds theme week, as chocolate is made from cacao seeds. We call them cacao or cocoa beans, but they're really seeds that, for the most part, are fermented, roasted and processed into chocolate.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to these seeds, the farmers who grow cacao, and all the people who contribute to the making of great chocolate, including smaller craft chocolate makers.

Today's Toasted Sesame bar was crafted by the team at Woodblock Chocolate Manufactory (Portland, OR), a family-run, bean-to-bar chocolate company.

There was a lot of flavor packed into this small, compact bar. The top of this Woodblock bar looked like...well, a wood block, with a stylized woodgrain pattern—a nice, design touch.

The three ingredient (cacao, sugar and sesame seeds) 70% cacao bar had a dark, complex aroma, and a dark, roasted, acidic and almost smoky flavor (think espresso).

The boldness of the flavor made it difficult to detect any lighter fruit, floral or berry notes. And perhaps there were none to speak of to begin with. Different cacao seeds (beans) have different flavor profiles from the start.

The flavor of toasted sesame seeds was very faint, but I'm guessing the seeds did help mellow the dark roasted, acidic flavor profile in some way that I was unable to account for (without having a non-seeded bar as a tasting control group). For all its boldness, it was fairly well balanced. I did not find this bar bitter or astringent.

A very even sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds—which can be surprisingly hard to achieve when sprinkling by hand, so hats off there—were lightly pressed into the underside of this dark bar.

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