Monday, October 21, 2019

Moka Origins - Blueberry Brazil 72% Cacao bar - Oct. 20, 2019

Chocolate of the Day:

Moka Origins
Blueberry Brazil Cacao 72% bar
Good ++
Weight: 1.2 oz. (34 g.) / 2.4 oz. (68 g.) in total bar
Calories: 180 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $11.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #10 of Chocolate and Brazil Theme Week, and Day #1 of Chocolate and Blueberry Theme Week.

Blueberries add a touch of rich, dark berry fruit and a light earthiness to chocolate. Some chocolates would seem more well-suited to this partnership than others. For example, cacaos with natural nutty, fudgey, berry or citrus flavor notes may complement this fruit nicely, or not. We'll see.

Today's Blueberry Brazil Cacao 72% bar was crafted by small batch bean-to-bar maker(s) from Moka Origins (Honesdale, PA) and was Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO. The company also has roots in coffee, and grows crops on a plantation in Cameroon. Their connections with farmers, community and partners help enable good product and ethical sourcing. (Sadly their Cameroon bar was sold out this week, but they offer several other single origin bars.)

This thick, soft fudgey and relatively mild* dark chocolate (made with organic Brazilian cacao) had small bursts of moist, dark berry flavor from organic dried blueberries, and the pairing was sweet, rich and harmonious.

The fact that blueberries + chocolate offerings are numerous (it was easy to find several bars for this theme week) speaks to cacao's natural pairing with fruits and berries, as well as the reputed health properties and antioxidant content found in cacao and blueberries.**

*The blueberry fruit may have masked some of the other finer chocolate flavor nuances, but it seemed like good, high-quality, balanced dark chocolate.

ORAC Scores - Blueberries and Cacao

**Blueberries have been shown to contain high levels of antioxidants.

Polyphenols found in berries (and other whole fruits and vegetables) have been proven to be beneficial for human health in several studies. Polyphenols are antioxidants believed to reduce the oxidative stress that takes place naturally over time in humans and other animals. 

In the 1990s, certain fruits (and vegetables) started being evaluated on their ability to reduce oxygen free radicals (and by inference their damage) using the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale. 

Cultivated blueberries scored very high (prunes and raisins scored even higher) on this scale. Wild fruits have performed well, if not better. (Wild blueberries scored close to 9,000 according to one report). And these inky purple-blue berries have been the subject of many health studies in the past 20 years. Results reported have included, e.g., positive effects on memory, mobility and heart health in older individuals. 

No disrespect to blueberries, but reports of ORAC score for 100 grams (about 3.5 oz.) of cacao nibs went as high as 62,100; and the score for (processed) cocoa powder was 26,000 in the results I could find online. (Scores for cacao varied quite a bit, in part due to the degree of processing that had occurred.)

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