Sunday, September 27, 2020

Cacao Crudo - Raw Organic Chocolate Unroasted Criollo Cacao, Hazelnuts 65% (bar) - Sept. 27, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Cacao Crudo 
Raw Organic Chocolate Unroasted Criollo Cacao, Granella Nocciole (Hazelnuts) 65% (bar)
Good ++ - Good +++
Weight: 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 280 calories (estimated) in 1 bar
Cost: $6.49 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Rainbow Grocery, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate, Nuts and Something More Theme Week.

Today's Raw Organic 65% Cacao Granella Nocciole (Hazelnut) bar from Cacao Crudo (Italy) was made from fine, non tostado (unroasted) criollo cacao from the Peruvian* Amazon and Italian hazelnuts.

My first impression: unroasted, delicate Criollo cacao with clean, green aroma and flavor, and low bitterness and acidity and a very slight, dry (green tea) astringency. Cacao Crudo bars offer a different way to enjoy chocolate, in the same way that a fine oolong tea is different than a fine black tea. I felt transported to eating chocolate by a pool, surrounded by green bamboo forest.

The texture was chocolatey with slight courseness due to a generous helping of chopped Italian hazelnuts (Tonda Gentile Romana, an Italian hazelnut cultivar, with trees usually found in Central Italy).

I could taste the slightly fibrous, flavorful essence of each unroasted hazelnut, because the entire bar was unencumbered by extra roasting and sugar. Much as I love the smell and flavor of toasted nuts and cacao, conventional chocolate bars often suffer from over-roasted ingredients (with an accompanying loss in subtle flavors and natural textures) and are drowning in sweetness. (This chocolate was sweetened with touch of coconut flower sap.)

The finish had light, lingering green and very faint, clean floral notes and a subtle (tea/tannic) astringency.

Today's chocolate was a welcome change of pace, offering a high-quality, raw chocolate tasting experience. I've described this 65% cacao chocolate bar as "light," but it also felt very satisfying--possibly because unroasted elements retain a higher percentage of their antioxidants or because the coconut sugar (lower on the glycemic index than processed cane sugar) did not spike my blood sugar. 

If you prefer a strong espresso and like to get a buzz from plant alkaloids like caffeine and theobromine, go for a conventional 70% cacao (roasted) bar with plenty of sugar. If you feel like a high-quality alternative, try Cacao Crudo's line of bars.

Ingredients: Organic unroasted Criollo cacao (beans) paste, organic "Tondo Gentile Romana" chopped hazelnuts (18%) criollo cacao, and organic concentrated coconut flower sap.

*Cacao Crudo is a project by Daniele Dell'Orco, a food "anthropologist and researcher" in Italy who wanted to improve on other raw/unroasted cacao offerings. In so doing, he created one of the first raw cacao manufacturing companies in Italy. The cacao used to craft this bar (and others) comes from the Junin Region (mountainous Central Highlands, westernmost area of the Peruvian Amazon), in Satipo Province, in Peru. This cacao is cultivated at high altitudes (600-1,200 meters) by small producers (native Ashanika people). The coconut palm sugar came from a co-op of Indonesian women. The hazelnuts came from the Latium plain area (of west-central Italy). 

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