Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Oakland Chocolate Company - Strawberry Cardamom Caramel - May 20, 2020

Chocolate of the Day:

The Oakland Chocolate Company
Strawberry Cardamom Caramel
Good +++
Weight: .4 oz. (11.3 g. ) (estimate) in 1 piece
Calories: 60 calories (estimate) in 1 piece
Cost: $2.50 for 1 piece
Purchased from: The Oakland Chocolate Company (online)

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate, Caramel and Toffee Theme Week.

After eating more industrial versions of chocolate and sugar this week, I really appreciated today's flavorful Strawberry Cardamom Caramel from Nancy Nadel, who is the chief chocolate maker at The Oakland Chocolate Company (Oakland, CA).

Nadel was an early player in the artisan chocolate maker movement that lifted off around the turn of the century (2000). She was also one of the first women making chocolates from scratch in California, starting with cocoa beans rather than blocks of pre-made chocolate.

Nadel's tree to bonbon/bar chocolates, have been crafted using cacao grown in specific areas in one country--originally the Parish of St. Mary in Jamaica via the (now defunct) Jamaican Cocoa Industry Board for 13 years. Cacao beans are now from Bachelors Hall (Parish of St. Thomas) in Jamaica. (And she managed this business and its many moving parts for several years while serving on the Oakland City Council. Impressive.)

Over the years, her chocolates have included an array of flavor inclusions that have incorporated exotic blends and tropical fruits and spices, and today's piece was no exception.

Today's Strawberry Cardamom Caramel was a layering of fresh, authentic flavors. The result was a match made in heaven. Sweet, naturally fruit tart caramel with a very soft chew was surrounded by flavorful dark chocolate. A subtle hint of cardamom added an uplifting spice note. And a tiny piece of strawberry on top contributed a natural berry sparkle.

*Earlier Bay Area chocolate-making pioneers, such as Domingo Ghirardelli (Italy via South America) and Etienne Guittard (France) arrived in the San Francisco area in the 1800s, influenced by the Gold Rush. Ghirardelli Chocolate Company (now in San Leandro, CA) is part of Hershey Chocolate Company; and Guittard Chocolate Company is still family-owned as of this writing.

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