Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Smooth Chocolator - 70% Vietnam Tien Giang bar - Mar. 28, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

The Smooth Chocolator
70% Cacao Vietnam Tien Giang bar
Good ++
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 2.12 oz. (60 g.) total bar
Calories: 144.3 calories (604 kJ per label) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $10.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Vietnam Theme Week.

What a pleasure to sample chocolate created half-way around the globe. Today's Vietnam Tien Giang 70 percent bar was from small batch, bean-to-bar maker The Smooth Chocolator (Geelong, Australia; SE of Melbourne on Port Phillip Bay).

The cacao beans used to make this bar traveled over 6,437 km (4,000+ miles) from southern Vietnam to Geelong, Australia (to be crafted into chocolate). They then traveled (in finished form) an additional 12,176 km or 7,901 miles to Palo Alto, CA. Amazing.

Tasting chocolates made in other countries can be a wonderful form of virtual travel and education. My appreciation has only grown for the chocolate makers, their craft, and the abundance of good things in the world.

Speaking of people, Yoon Kim, a pastry chef and chocolatier, founded The Smooth Chocolator in 2015, after taking a course in bean-to-bar chocolate making. Her husband, an engineer, provides valuable technical design and support. In 2016, the company won an International Chocolate Award for one of their bars.

Recently, (early 2017) renowned chocolate expert and judge Sunita de Tourreill was impressed with Kim's efforts and began to offer her bars to customers at the exclusive The Chocolate Garage (Palo Alto, CA)—where I bought today's bar.

How did this well-traveled bar in the simple, elegant, black and tan, sealed package taste? The bar, like the packaging, focused on important basics and was well-executed. The three-ingredient bar (cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter) had a dried fruit (figs, dark raisins and goji berries) aroma with a faint roasted coffee note; and the chocolate had uniform, bright, sweet and concentrated fruit flavor.

The thin bar, with an attractive botanical design, yielded a quick and even melt and allowed ready access to unfolding flavor. There were no off notes; however, there was a very slight graininess in one bite. The finish was pleasant and clean.

The maker's notes printed on the package included: "Tasting Note: Honey, brown dried fruits" (i.e. brown fruits such as sultanas, currants).

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