Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Vintage Plantations 90% Dark bar; Valenza Chocolatier Sesamo Milk Bar - Mar. 14, 2017

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

Vintage Plantations
90 percent Dark Chocolate bar
Good +
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 3.2 oz. (90 g.) in total bar
Calories: 159 calories (estimate) in 1/3 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Valenza Chocolatier, Inc.
Sesamo Venezuelan Milk Chocolate Bar
Good +
Weight: 1.03 oz. (30 g.) / 3.1 oz. (90 g.) in total bar
Calories: 155 calories (estimate) in 1/3 bar
Cost: $N/A sample from Valenza (included in a larger order)
Purchased from: (part of a larger order from Valenza Chocolatier, Inc. (Costa Mesa, CA)

Welcome to Chocolate and STUVWXYZ Theme Week. Today we focus on two companies that start with the letter "v": Vintage Plantations and Valenza Chocolatier, Inc.

Both companies have founders with European ties/heritage, who are creative and passionate about origins and quality and who have an appreciation of single origin chocolate.

Both have offered chocolates made from Venezuelan beans (or chocolate), a venerable origin, vraiment, veramente (truly in French and Italian). And both offer a variety of chocolate bars as well as very enticing confections/truffles.

These two companies also exemplify two different approaches to making chocolates: that of a bean-to-bar chocolate maker (Vintage) and a chocolatier (Valenza).

Today's two bars also represented two points along the cocoa content spectrum: Vintage Plantations' 90 percent almost pure Dark Chocolate crafted from scratch, and Valenza Chocolatier's flavorful Sesamo light milk chocolate with sesame seeds. One's a bean-to-bar maker, and the other is a chocolatier who uses premium sourced chocolate. Each is making unique chocolates with well-balanced layers of flavor.

Now, let's taste some chocolate...

Vintage Plantations
The 90 percent Dark Chocolate bar from Vintage Plantations (Costa Mesa, CA) had a sweet cocoa, fruity (fig, goji berries, banana) aroma with very faint green notes. And the first taste was one I'd also associate with a bar with more sweetness (lower cocoa solids and more sugar).

However, like virtually all of my favorite ultra-dark bars, this bar was full of complex flavor. The initial flavor gave way to slightly sharper fruit notes and the sweet flavor transformed into deeper, richer, well-balanced slightly bitter flavor.

I've had a Vintage Plantations 90 percent dark bar before back in 2010, made with a slightly different batch of beans. The previous bar was made with Ecuadorian cacao I believe. (There was no origin or plantation listed for this bar.) Vintage has worked with beans from different origins, including Ecuador, Venezuela and Peru.

As the description on the packaging explains, chocolate makers assess cacao each year, and the chocolate may vary from year to year and from harvest to harvest. This bar was gluten free, vegan and soy lecithin free.

Valenza Chocolatier - Sesamo bar
The Sesamo bar from Valenza Chocolatier, Inc. (Costa Mesa, CA) was made from a blend of two chocolates: a white chocolate (cocoa butter) and a single origin Venezuela milk chocolate "with a slash of 61% dark chocolate."

The resulting bar had a cocoa butter aroma and a creamy, velvety chocolate base that was lighter not only in cocoa solids but also in appearance. (It had a lovely light caramel color.) A generous helping of embedded, roasted sesame seeds provided crunchiness in every bite.

And a touch of Sicilian sea salt tied everything together. It balanced the sweetness as well as the slight seed aftertaste from the sesame seeds in this bar.

*Don't leave this bar (or any chocolate bar) in direct sun. This bar softened very quickly. I offer as proof my fingerprints that I accidentally left on this bar, as I was holding it to take a photo.

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