Friday, May 31, 2019

Markham and Fitz - Ooh La Lavender 64% bar - May 31, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Markham and Fitz Chocolate Makers
Ooh La Lavender - Lavender, honey, vanilla, nibs 64% dark chocolate bar
Good +++ - Very Good
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (57 g.) in total bar
Calories: 130 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $11.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate and Flowers Theme Week.

Today's Ooh La Lavender bar was made by Markham and Fitz Chocolate Makers (Bentonville, AK).

This lovely 64% dark chocolate bar contained the aforementioned lavender (lavender oil); Patagonia honey (a floral honey sustainably produced by Patagonia Bee Products); cacao nibs and vanilla.

The single origin chocolate was made using organic cacao that was grown in Oko Caribe, Dominican Republic. (The makers work with importing partners, such as Uncommon Cacao.)

The bar had a great lavender floral aroma—made extra beautiful with honey and an almost invisible but very effective touch of vanilla.

Honey itself can provide a subdued floral note or two. This bar was sweetened with honey and cane sugar. Using honey in this bar added great complementary flavor and, when combined with the DR cacao, the 64% cacao chocolate (that tasted more like a 75% bar), was not too sugary sweet (thank you!).

Why don't more makers choose to work with honey? Not everyone wants floral or honey flavors added to their chocolate, however subtle they may be. And refined cane sugar is considered more "neutral" as well as being less expensive. Honey can be more challenging to work with than cane sugar.*

The texture was smooth and the flavor was the realization of aromas promised, punctuated by crunchy cacao nibs. The chocolate had a bold, smooth dark flavor that the makers balanced very nicely with the other flavors.

This Ooh La Lavender bar had a very pleasant, very light lingering honey and lavender finish that felt both refreshing and calming. Overall it was a very well executed bar, and a well-deserved Good Food Awards** win.

*Unlike cane sugar which is fairly dry, honey is about 20 percent water, and is considered a humectant (meaning it acts to preserve moisture). Chocolate generally reacts poorly to water or moisture and can "seize up" in its melted form (when be made into chocolate bars) if one adds water. Not a great thing to happen in the manufacturing process, which is also why powdered milk (and not fresh milk) is added directly to chocolate in the making of milk chocolate. 

**The Good Food Awards have roots in the slow food and sustainability movements in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City. If you're looking for great chocolates, peruse their list of winners. 

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