Friday, April 14, 2017

Dandelion Chocolate - Zorzal, Dominican Republic bar - April 14, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Dandelion Chocolate
70% Zorzal, Dominican Republic bar
Very Good
Weight: .66 oz. (18.6 g.) / 2 oz. (56 g.) in total bar
Calories: 99 calories (estimate) in 1/3 bar
Cost: $8.00 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Dandelion Chocolate, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Dominican Republic Theme Week.

Some chocolates are more eagerly anticipated than others. Today's 70% Zorzal Dominican Republic (DR) bar from Dandelion Chocolate (San Francisco, CA) had been squirreled away in the Chocolate Banquet Chocolate Vault until last week—when there were finally seven bars made with cacao from the Dominican Republic ready to go.

This bar, made with cacao harvested in 2015, was eagerly enjoyed and shared throughout the day.

Earlier this week, we featured a Raaka Chocolate DR bar also made from Zorzal cacao. The Zorzal name refers to a cacao growing spot co-located with a wildlife/bird refuge in the Dominican Republic, that serves to preserve habitat for wildlife including an endangered species of songbird.*

The makers used different roasting and flavor profile techniques. Raaka uses un-roasted beans to make their "virgin chocolate" DR bar. And Maverick Watson at Dandelion helped to test and develop the optimal roast/flavor profile for their batch of 2015 Zorzal beans that were made into a bar (first released in early 2016).

A group of different artists painting the same still life will create different finished works of art. Similarly, no two chocolate makers will produce exactly the same chocolate bar, even if the two companies start with the same beans from the same region. That makes life interesting, and tasting fun.

Today's 70 percent bar had a sweet, pleasant aroma, with faint green wood, floral, light tropical fruit-to-sweet banana notes. It had an almost buttery melt with fleeting hints of nuts, fruit, earth and chocolate; and the finish was delicate and lingering. Tasting notes on the Dandelion wrapper read: walnut, caramel and brandied cherry.

The Zorzal Dominican Republic bar tasted sweeter than I expected, compared to 70 percent bars I've been sampling in past few weeks (that contained a longer list of ingredients).

One reason, in addition to the ingredients themselves, for this perceived sweetness: Dandelion bars are made from scratch (bean-to-bar) with just two ingredients: cocoa beans and sugar. No other additives, emulsifiers or stabilizers or inclusions were used that might have muted or altered the bright, more intense cocoa bean and cane sugar flavors.

*Zorzal is Spanish for a type of songbird, a Bicknell's Thrush. The Zorzal de Bicknell Reserve was co-founded by Charles Kerchner, PhD who has developed a relationship with Dandelion Chocolate.

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