Nicaragua 70% Cacao Bisiesto bar
Weight: 1.25 oz. (35.375 g.) / 2.5 oz. (70.75 g.) in total bar
Calories: 188 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $12.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA
Welcome to Day #9 of Chocolate and Nicaragua Theme Week.
Today's Nicaragua 70% Cacao Bisiesto* bar was handcrafted by Somerville Chocolate (Somerville, MA). The company describes itself as a bean-to-bar Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)* operation.
For this bar, swaddled in an outer paper wrapper in the form of an historic map, the makers at Somerville Chocolate partnered with Cacao Bisiesto,** an in-country, cacao company in Nicaragua that plays a valuable role in advising farmers on cacao quality and flavor and connecting these growers with craft chocolate makers.
The aroma of this 70% dark Nicaragua bar had well balanced savory, light earth, dense chocolate aroma, and red/citrus fruit flavor that blossomed with the first bite. It had a lingering, satisfying aftertaste with a very slight astringency.
Nicaragua Flavor Profile?
At this point in a single origin chocolate theme week, it's often easy to draw conclusions about an origin, a terroir-influenced flavor profile that might be found across a series of bars from the same country. This is especially true in countries where chocolate makers are buying cacao beans from just one or two farms or plantations. If so, what does a characteristic Nicaragua cacao taste like?
While there are some similarities, there also have been many differences in flavors this week, in part due to the use of different varieties of cacao being used in Nicaragua. A few of the resulting chocolate bars have been relatively high in fruit acidity, and others have been amazingly complex, hitting on almost every major category on a chocolate tasting wheel. The earthiness found in some of these bars has been very appealing. (Nothing like the mold-tinged dirt bars that can keep people off "earth" notes for the rest of their chocolate-tasting days.) Keep us guessing Nicaragua! All of the bars have been quite good in their own right.
*A CSA often helps support farmers by giving them some renumeration before or during a growing season (in advance of a harvest). And in turn the farmer(s) provide goods/produce to the organization. Community Supported Agriculture also serves as a way to buy local food directly from a farmer.
**Cacao Bisiesto is a small cacao company based in La Dalia, Nicaragua. (The company was founded on leap year (bisiesto) day, February 29.) Founders José Enrique Herrera and Gifford Laube, with backgrounds that include agronomy and agriculture management, have developed respectful relationships with local independent farmers in Central America and have offered assistance to them on fermentation, cacao tree management and other techniques. They help connect these farmers with craft chocolate makers, who in turn are willing to pay farmers a higher price for higher-quality cacao.