Friday, May 22, 2020

Dick Taylor - Fleur de Sel (Sea Salt) Belize Chocolate Caramels - May 22, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Dick Taylor
Fleur de Sel (Sea Salt) Caramels - Belize
Good ++ - Good +++
Weight: 2 oz. (58 g.) / 4 oz. (116 g.) (per label) in total box of 8 pieces/caramels
Calories: 310 calories (estimate) in 4 pieces/caramels
Cost: $20.00 for 1 box of 8 pieces/caramels
Purchased from: Dick Taylor, online order

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate and Caramel Theme Week and Day #1 of Chocolate and Maya Empire  Theme Week.

Today's Fleur de Sel Caramels coated in single origin 70% Belize Dark Chocolate were from Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate (Eureka, CA).

I braced myself for a mouthful of sugar spun into soft caramel. While that was coming, how refreshing it was to first enjoy the aroma and flavor of 70% Belize dark chocolate with small flecks of sea salt (from Bitterman's Salt Co. (Portland, OR)). Could I taste the nuances of Belize cacao? Yes. Do ingredients* matter? Yes, they do.

These chocolate covered confections had a lightly spicy rich dark chocolate aroma and flavor with a fleeting, faint fruit-floral note. A balanced and subtle bitterness in the chocolate complemented a sweet caramel filling. And sea salt helped balance out the cooked sugar content of the caramel, which yielded a buttery sweet clean finish. 

A word about Belize, Guatemala and the Maya
Today kicks off the first day of a Chocolate and Maya themed week. The Maya people once occupied present day Guatemala, Belize and corners of other countries (southern Mexico, western Honduras). Cacao was an integral part of their culture for centuries. While technically the Maya empire may have fizzled out in 900 A.D., that's only partly true.

Their descendants are still here. I met some Maya people, farmers and others, several years ago in Belize, when I also visited the modest Maya Mountain Cacao co-op and fermentation facility in the Toledo district (in southern) Belize. This operation, that was helping farmers and up-leveling cacao for export, had started to become popular with a handful of artisan, small-batch chocolate makers in the U.S. 

No surprise, partners Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor (who together are Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate and who put the craft in craft chocolate) were early to recognize this organization's strengths as well, and they describe their sourcing relationship in Belize here.

*Ingredients: Caramel (organic sugar, organic evaporated milk, organic rice syrup, heavy cream, organic butter, organic vanilla bean, salt); dark chocolate (organic cacao, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, organic sunflower lecithin).




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