Sunday, August 25, 2019

Goodnow Farms Chocolate - Dark Chocolate with Putnam Rye Whiskey 77% bar - Aug. 22, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Goodnow Farms Chocolate
Special Reserve - Single Origin bar
Dark Chocolate with Putnam Rye Whiskey 77% Cacao (Ecuador)
Good +++
Weight: 1.94 oz. (55 g.) in total bar
Calories: 290 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $18.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #13 of Chocolate and Spirits Theme Week, and the first day of Chocolate and Ecuador Theme Week.

In the early 2000s, people were being exposed to new $6.00 (USD) or, gasp, $8.00 (USD) single origin, craft chocolate bars. Was it worth it they asked me? In response, I would set up a blind taste test for friends and family to let them see/taste for themselves.

Most people I spoke to agreed that most of the relatively new, carefully crafted chocolate they experienced was worth the higher price. And once they learned about supply chains and fair prices for cocoa farmers, more came to accept this model.*

Fast forward to almost two decades later...Today's Special Reserve Single Origin Dark Chocolate with Putnam Rye Whiskey bar—from Goodnow Farms Chocolate (located on a beautiful farm in Sudbury, MA)—was $18.00. Times have changed and there is a better understanding of value vs. volume in many craft foods, including chocolate, distilled spirits, coffee, and beer.

This award-winning bar won a Good Food Awards prize in 2019. The Good Food Awards organization has focused on recognizing the best in high-end, small batch artisan foods.

The chocolate for this 77% cacao dark bar,** was made from (Esmeraldas) cacao beans grown in Ecuador. The beans were soaked in Putnam Rye Whiskey. It was creamy and smooth and the bar was thin enough to allow direct palette access to all the rich flavors and textures in this infused bar.

Flavor notes included chocolate with very faint green/floral notes, and balanced and subtle whiskey, light caramel, cream/milk (there was no dairy or milk in this bar**), and mild red berry.

*Similar trends were taking place with coffee, beer, organic farmers market produce, preserves, distilled spirits, etc. Coffee and cacao are also grown farther away from markets in the U.S. and Europe (than, e.g. grapes, hops, fruit and vegetables), so it took some education for people to understand that most cacao growers were small, subsistence farmers in Africa, Central/South America, or Caribbean and Pacific islands and were barely eking out a living. 

In turn, small chocolate makers spent (and continue to spend) more time and money cultivating these relationships with far-away farmers, which meant not every craft chocolate startup succeeds initially without a second income. (Chocolatiers, who buy their chocolate from chocolate makers, have an easier go of it.)

**Ingredients: cacao beans, organic sugar, single origin cocoa butter, whiskey

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