Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Manoa - 85% Costa Esmeraldas, Ecuador bar - Nov. 8, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Manoa Chocolate Hawaii
(Grass Shack Industries LLC)
Single Estate 85% Cacao Costa Esmeraldas, Ecuador bar
Good ++ - Very Good
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (56.7 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #18 of South American Chocolate Theme Weeks.

What a treat. A third ultra-dark bar this week, made by Manoa Chocolate Hawaii, from cacao grown in Costa Esmeraldas, Ecuador. When there are this many 85% - 100% cacao bars from the same region, estate or plantation, it says something about the beans, the farmer(s) and the makers.

To make bars from one ingredient (cacao beans)—or even two ingredients (cacao beans and sugar)—it says cacao beans from this place must be special. The post-harvest fermentation must have been handled well. The flavor profile is right, and other ingredients aren't needed to amend or dull certain flavors.

Today's bar was made with "Neo Nacional" cacao from a single estate (reclaimed cattle pasture land about 10 miles inland from the Pacific Coast); and these beans were harvested in early 2016.

The bar's aroma was quite bold with traces of sour bitter sweet fruit and dark chocolate. The texture and melt were uniformly smooth and creamy (due in part to added organic cocoa butter). And the flavor (as with other bars from the same origin this week) was much tamer and more pleasant than expected, with faint, fleeting sweet, green, almost floral notes often found in Ecuador bars.

Today's attractively designed and packaged Costa Esmeraldas bar was made bean-to-bar in Hawaii. Manoa Chocolate Hawaii's chocolate factory is located in Kailua, Oahu. And Manoa* founder and chocolate maker Dylan Butterbaugh has been producing chocolate from scratch since 2010, including craft chocolate bars made with Hawaiian-grown cacao and other local ingredients.

Suggested wine and beer pairings with this bar: Cabernet Sauvignon and Kriek lambics.

*Manoa means solid, vast, depth, thick in Hawaiian.

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