Saturday, May 23, 2020

Nuance Chocolate - Moho Valley Belize (2015) 70% bar - May 23, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Nuance Chocolate
Moho Valley Belize (2015) 70% bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.94 oz. (55 g.) in total bar
Calories: 293 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $8.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Nuance Chocolate, online order

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and Maya Empire Theme Week.

Today's Moho Valley Belize (2015) 70% cacao bar was made by Nuance Chocolate (Fort Collins, CO).

The bean-to-bar makers at Nuance chose a rare criollo/trinitario cacao grown near the Moho River that runs from eastern Guatemala to/through the Toledo District of southern Belize (eventually emptying out to the Caribbean Sea/Atlantic side of Central America). The river runs through what once was part of the Maya Empire. This area is rich in cacao history; and Maya people, farmers, still grow cacao here.

Today's attractive, thin, dark bar had a true chocolate (hot cocoa), nutty, and roasted aroma and flavor. If held up to light at just the right angle, one might see a flicker of reddish color.

The thinness* (which I like in bars) yielded ready access to texture and flavor, and contributed to the chocolate's relatively rapid (slightly creamy) melt.

This relatively sweet three-ingredient chocolate's complex flavor notes included wood, tart fruit (pink grapefruit) and fleeting nut (peanut, walnut) notes, and a roasted coffee-like acidity. About five seconds in, fruit acidity gave way to astringency--notably without the tannic** bitterness that often accompanies this drying sensation in one's mouth.

This astringency and a roasted coffee note lingered in the finish with a light throat tickle farewell.

Ingredients: cacao, cane sugar, cocoa butter

*Whisper thin tasting wafers melt like snowflakes on one's tongue offering a quick, relatively uniform hit of flavor, whereas thicker pieces offer a more gradual reveal, as different facets of the piece reach a melting point at different times. Try sampling both thin and thick versions of the same chocolate and see how/if it alters the tasting experience for you. 

Just paying attention will slow you down, and open up your senses. Taking a contemplative stroll through a neighborhood vs. an athletic sprint creates an opportunity to see/hear a bird in a tree and appreciate its colors, to notice a child's chalk drawing on a sidewalk, to smell oncoming rain. It's the same with chocolate. If you choose the slower path, imagine kayaking down the Moho River with a Maya guide who will point out to you a crocodile on the bank, a howler monkey in the trees (the source of the loud, low whooping calls in the treetops) and a rare bird flying overhead.

**Tannins (tannic acid), are water-soluble polyphenols, with astringent properties, produced by plants and trees, found in coffee, tea, wine, grapes, chocolate and many other fruits, nuts, food and spices we consume. In the wild, they help protect plants against bacteria and fungi infections, and may deter animal and insect predators.

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