El Buen Cacao
80% Raspberry Chocolate Bar
Weight: .875 oz. (25 g.) / 1.75 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 110 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $6.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA
Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Raspberry Theme Week.
Today's Organic 80% Raspberry Chocolate Bar was made by El Buen Cacao (Idyllwild, CA). This small batch, bean-to-bar company was founded by a couple in southern California who, like many artisan chocolate makers, likely started making chocolate in their kitchen and have continued to refine their art and craft.
This chocolate had smooth dark flavor with natural (fully incorporated) organic raspberry (freeze dried particles) and was not too sweet (thank you)! Improved freeze drying techniques have led to some very tasty fruit inclusions (such as Dick Taylor's tasty seasonal raspberry dark bar, topped with a thin layer of bright, intense raspberry "dust") and today's bar where the fruit has become one with the chocolate in a perfectly balanced way.
Tasting chocolate in winter
I tasted this ultra dark bar on a cool, wintery morning. Ambient temperature affects how food tastes. While storing chocolate at 63 degrees F. (17 degrees C.)—my current room temperature as I write this—is OK, warming it up just a little before tasting, can make flavors and texture more approachable/enjoyable.
Cold creates several things to happen. Chocolate becomes firmer, with a slightly different melt. Sometimes the flavors are more locked in (with the crystallized structure of the cocoa fat/butter) making them not as readily accessible. The amount of added cocoa butter (and sugar) can also influence melt, texture and flavor as well. (There was no added cocoa butter. in this or other El Buen Cacao bars from what I could see.)
Today's 80% raspberry bar broke with a nice, well-tempered snap. The melt was initially slow and uniform (almost waxy in the cold). Then, toward the end, the melt peaked with a very faint*, fleeting miniature expansive fullness/pleasant mushiness at the end, due to the berry powder perhaps? and the cold temperature).
When I taste chocolates in the summer (or in a hot room), the melt experience is different. (Just like drinking cold wine is different than sipping warm wine.) The ideal temperature is often in the middle, for me it's about 70 degrees F./approx. 21 degrees C.)
Ingredients: Organic cacao bean(s), organic cane sugar, organic freeze-dried raspberries
*The average person will not notice any of this. Just chocolate tasting weirdos such as myself would comment on a nit like this. This observed experience was not a negative, just interesting.