Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Pump Street Chocolate - 100% Hacienda Limon Ecuador bar - Aug. 27, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Pump Street Chocolate
100% Hacienda Limon, Los Rios Province, Ecuador bar
Good +++
Weight: 1.235 oz. (35 g.) / 2.47 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 174.3 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.95 for 1 bar
Purchased from: SweetE Organic, Strawberry Village, Mill Valley, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Ecuador Theme Week.

Today's 100% Hacienda Limon, Los Rios Province, Ecuador bar (Batch #9404) was made by Pump Street Chocolate, a company known for its baked goods* as well as its bean-to-bar chocolate. The company is located in the village of Orford in Suffolk, England.

When biting into a 100% cacao bar, one's brain is expecting chocolate with some sugar, and is sometimes ill-prepared for a chocolate wholly without sugar unless it's made the new association with fine, un-sweetened chocolate.

After tasting many 100% bars, my brain no longer suffers from this fleeting disconnect about sugar vs. no sugar. But when trying a new 100%er, I still find myself bracing for some strong, overpowering flavors.

I needn't have been concerned about today's bar. It was quite smooth and delicious. The chocolate had a slightly green, aroma and flavor (characteristic of many Ecuador bars).** It had bold, balanced and smooth, deep chocolate flavor with a faint, uniform earthy undertone.

*Pump Street chocolate bar flavors include sourdough and sea salt, rye crumb, hot cross bun(s). Unfortunately, we're unable to try these bars due to gluten restrictions; but they sound delicious.

**Green and floral notes are characteristic of many Ecuador bars. This particular bar was made using a long conche time for the cacao, giving it a "subtle earthiness and a low acidity." 

When cacao is conched for a longer time, the particle size grows smaller, cocoa butter and solids are more thoroughly incorporated, and particles are "polished," giving a bar a smoother, creamier mouthfeel. The longer conche time can also result in the loss of volatile or stronger flavor elements. The flavor is smoother. There may be fewer objectionable flavor spikes. However, any floral or more fragile flavors may also be lost, so there are some trade-offs to be made.

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