70% Dark Chocolate Almonds with Sea Salt bar
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1/3 bar
Cost: $10.00 for 1 bar (plus shipping)
Purchased from: Oodaalolly Chocolate (online order)
Welcome to Day #13 of Chocolate and Island Nations Theme Week.
Today's 70% Dark Chocolate Almonds with Sea Salt bar was made in small batches, from bean-to-bar, by Oodaalolly Chocolate, using cacao grown in the Philippines.
This bar had an appealing malty, nutty aroma (and ground nut (almond) flavor and texture). A generous helping of almond bits resulted in a milder chocolate flavor. The touch of sea salt was evenly dispersed and nicely balanced. And this bar was not too sweet (thank you!).
Island Nations and Cacao Conclusions
Can island nations featured this past week (The Philippines and Fiji in the Pacific Ocean, and Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Cuba and other islands in the Atlantic Ocean) produce great chocolate? A few chocolate makers in each of these countries are making an admirable go of it. Bean-to-bar craft chocolate making can be a complex technical business, not for the faint of heart. Their future success will depend on many factors.
The good news is that these island nations are located geographically in the cacao growing sweet spot, a belt (20 degrees above or below the Equator). And chocolate makers worldwide are interested in making and selling single origin chocolates from cacao grown in exotic countries covered with temperate rainforests and volcanic soils, with unique terroir-based flavor(s).
Island infrastructure can create challenges for those growing or trying to make chocolate "in country" (power outages, high costs for air conditioned/temperature and humidity controlled facilities). And there are often other hurdles on the growing side of the cacao supply chain: storm damage, disease, droughts, poor harvests, and other factors beyond one's control. There are many steps between cacao fruit (that contains the seeds or beans) and finished chocolate.
If you're a new maker starting out with a limited budget, you might be tempted to stick with established, known sources for beans or nibs, or just become a chocolatier and buy blocks of chocolate from someone else doing the hard work of making it from scratch.
The proper support of local governments can sometimes be helpful. The Philippine government in 2018* set a very ambitious target for cacao production (100,000 metric tons of cacao by 2022). Many farmers and craft chocolate makers, however, seem to want to focus on value (and higher profit margins) rather than volume, which suits us just fine.
No matter who you are, starting with great cacao/beans is a must, and chocolate makers must execute the many steps required make chocolate flawlessly to achieve true critical recognition and success. Hats off to all craft makers for jumping through hoops, reviving traditions, and allowing a new generation to enjoy better food and beverages than we knew were possible.
*The source of this information: a tweet that accompanied a May 30, 2018, Forbes article by Carol Ramoran-Malasig