Sunday, March 8, 2020

Nirvana Belgian Chocolates - Organic Belgian Dark Chocolate candied ginger (bar) - March 7, 2020

Chocolate(s) of the Day:

Nirvana Belgian Chocolates
(Made in Belgium for Belgium's Chocolate Source)
Organic Belgian Dark Chocolate - candied ginger
Weight: 1.5 oz. (42.5 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g.) in total bar
Calories: 230 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and West Africa Theme Week.

How do I know the chocolate in this Organic Belgian Dark Chocolate bar with candied ginger came from cacao grown in West Africa? I don't, but since there was no origin listed for this bar on the packaging (or to be found on the company website), I will assume there is a 75% - 80% chance that most of the cocoa beans used to make this bar came from either Ivory Coast, Ghana or Nigeria.*

After cocoa was brought from the New World to Africa for cultivation, European chocolate sellers were closer to the ingredients they needed for chocolate beverages (and later for bars and confections). As part of their colonial presence in Africa (Belgian Congo), Belgium became involved in West and Central African commodities centuries ago, including growing and importing cacao as well as rubber and other goods for profit.

Things have evolved in the past century since Belgium stepped out of their colonial position in 1960, and Belgium is still quite well-known for fine chocolate. And today, many Belgian chocolate makers (including Nirvana) sport a fair trade logo to convince chocolate buyers that farmers are receiving a fair price for their crops and that cocoa is "traded in compliance with Fairtrade Standards."

Yes, you may be thinking, but, how did today's bar taste?

Smooth, organic fair trade dark chocolate provided a solid, silent, natural partner for the bits of candied ginger which added a balanced sparkle and bit of sweet spiciness. This chocolate was made with fat-reduced cocoa powder. (Adding (lower acidity) cocoa powder can sometimes serve to mellow or even out chocolate flavors.) This attractively packaged bar was made in Belgium for Belgium's Chocolate Source (Milton, MA).

Claudio Corallo - Ubric Uvas ("drunk" grapes/raisins) in dark chocolate
I also re-tasted a unique, wonderful and flavorful "boozy" tasting chocolate from Claudio Corallo (Sao Tome and Principe) that I'd first sampled at Alegio Chocolate (at their Berkeley, CA location) back in 2014. This pricey chocolate was quite special. The chocolate, in bar form, was made using grapes/raisins and fermented cacao fruit distillate. I'd stored a bar of it back in the chocolate vault, and it had stayed perfectly fresh in a sealed foil package. (Corallo is also fond of chocolate with ginger.)

*According to a Statistica report (2020), titled "Cocoa beans: supplier companies to Belgium 2017" 64.6% of cocoa imported into Belgium in 2017 for chocolate making came from Ivory Coast, followed by 10.1% from Ghana, and 6.1% from Nigeria.* (Smaller percentages are listed for South American countries (Peru, Ecuador) and the Dominican Republic.)

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