Sunday, September 18, 2016

Ritual Chocolate - The Nibs Bar 75% cacao - Sept. 18, 2016

Chocolate of the Day:

Ritual Chocolate
"The Nibs Bar" 75% Cacao
Weight: .53 oz. (15 g.) / 2.12 oz. (60 g.) in total bar
Calories: 79 calories (estimate) in 1/4 bar
Cost: $7.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: SweetE Organic, Mill Valley, CA

Welcome to Day #5 of Nibs Theme Week.

Today's dark chocolate bar was made with cacao beans from the Toledo district of Southern Belize. "The Nibs Bar" from Ritual Chocolate (Park City, UT) had a faintly sweet, earthy dark chocolate and coffee aroma, and a fairly strong coffee flavor with a hint of dried and/or citrus fruit.

This two-ingredient bar was made from cacao and organic cane sugar. I knew this, and yet I found myself re-checking the ingredients, to make sure the cacao nibs weren't coffee nibs. If you like coffee, you'll like this bar.

The bar's packaging (and bar) were very well designed. Every side and surface contributed to the company's story, from the mountain peak motif and the sparkly stars above*, to the cacao pod nestled in the middle of a diamond shape.

*The company crafts their chocolate in the mountains at 7,000 feet (2,133 meters). While it can be difficult to make chocolate in a hot climate, making chocolate in the snowy mountains (despite a temperature-controlled inside) must also require some re-calibrations for altitude, relative dryness, and weather. Fortunately, the team at Ritual has had practice. They moved to Park City, UT from Denver, CO.

Creo Chocolate - Ecuador Arriba Nacional Cacao Nibs - Sept. 17, 2016

Chocolate of the Day:

Creo Chocolate
Ecuador Arriba Nacional Cacao Nibs
Good +++ - Very Good
Weight: 2 TB, 1 oz. (28 g.) / 8 oz. (226 g.) in total package
Calories: 125 calories (estimate) for a 2 TB serving
Cost: $10.00 (estimate) for 1 package
Purchased from: Creo Chocolate, Portland, OR

Welcome to Day #13 of Ecuador Chocolate, and Day #4 of Nibs Theme Week.

Sometimes it pays to go back to basics with foods and sweets.

Chocolate is made from fermented and dried cacao (or cocoa) beans. In almost all cases*, these beans are then roasted, winnowed and then ground into smaller pieces called cocoa nibs. And, nibs are the basic component of chocolate that we're focused on this week.

Today, my chocolate of the day is...a handful of Ecuador Arriba Nacional Cacao Nibs from Creo Chocolate (Portland, OR) eaten plain, and over vanilla ice cream and other items.

These nibs were smooth and even, with no off flavors. They had a nice soft crunch with earth, chocolate, fruit, and wine flavor notes.

These were eaten straight out of the bag, over vanilla ice cream and over Nutella brownies. I can highly recommend all three choices. (Thank you to Julie for the tasting help!)

*In some cases, chocolate makers and chocolatiers are using unroasted or partially roasted beans either to make "raw" chocolate or chocolate with a different nutritional/flavor profile.

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