Monday, August 10, 2020

Laboratorio Artigianale - Raw Organic Chocolate - Pink Himalayan Salt and Cacao Nibs (bar) - Aug. 9, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Cacao Crudo S.r.l. 
Raw Organic, Artisan Chocolate
Pink Himalayan Salt and Cacao Nibs (bar)
Good + - Good ++
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) / 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 160 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $6.49 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Rainbow Grocery, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Cocoa Nibs Theme Week.

Today's Raw Organic Chocolate Pink Himalayan Salt and Cacao Nibs bar was made in Italy by Cacao Crudo S.r.l.* (Roma (Rome), Italy) and imported to the U.S. by Ritrovo Italian Regional Foods (Seattle, WA).

This 75% cocoa raw chocolate bar was made using ground Criollo cacao, a heritage variety of cacao famous for its delicate, varied flavors (with notes of stone fruits like peach, fresh plum, and caramel, cream). True to its description, this bar had a friendly dark chocolate aroma and a subtle complexity with light green and light concentrated/fermented fruit-floral notes (Ecuador Arriba cacao like but with something more).

 Criollo cacao manages to be at once light and delicate and rich and complex. And not roasting these Criollo beans helped to preserve some of these more delicate flavors.

The sweet (concentrated coconut flower sap) and salt (Himalayan pink rose salt) flavors were nicely balanced and restrained, allowing the natural Criollo cacao flavors to shine through. (There were only 5 grams of total sugars in 1/2 bar.) The use of Criollo cacao nibs (that added bits of texture) and Criollo cocoa butter** helped reinforce this flavor profile.

*Prodotto In Laboratorio Artigianale; Lavorato A Freddo in Tutte Le Fasi

** Cocoa beans are about half fat, and can be separated into ivory colored cocoa fat (aka cocoa butter) and darker cocoa solids. Some cocoa beans are "leaner" than others, and may benefit from added fat to give it a creamier mouthfeel and melt. In fact, many makers do add cocoa butter for creamier texture (and occasionally to muffle stronger, rougher flavor elements). But if they have a small bean batch size, they may need to obtain additional cocoa butter from a another source.

Cocoa butter has a milder flavor profile than the darker cocoa solids, but it can influence the overall taste (and texture) of finished chocolate--which is one reason why cocoa butter sourcing and processing also matters. 

Some intrepid makers press their own cocoa butter from the same batch of cocoa beans used for cocoa solids/mass to ensure they have a uniform, undiluted single origin flavor profile. And when you have really great cocoa beans, great cocoa butter enhances the goodness.

Ingredients: Organic unroasted cacao Criollo beans paste, organic concentrated coconut flower sap, organic cacao Criollo butter from not roasted beans, organic not roasted cacao Criollo nibs (5%), Himalayan rose pink salt (1.5%).

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