Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Zotter - Labooko Bolivia 90% dark chocolate (bar) - Sept. 1, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Labooko Bolivia 90% dark chocolate (bar)
Good +++
Weight: 1.145 oz. (32.5 g.) / 2.29 oz. (65 g.) in total bar
Calories: 175 calories (estimate) in 1 bar (of 2)
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information (San Francisco, CA)

Welcome to Day #10 of Bolivia and Chocolate Theme Week.

Today's Labooko Bolivia 90% dark chocolate (bar) was made by Zotter in Riegersburg, Austria, using Nacional cacao (bean variety) from "Bolivian Cooperative El Ceibo." 

Zotter's Labooko line of bars is "pure chocolate," and includes single origin bars. (They also offer hand-scooped/carefully layered and filled bars with different flavor inclusions, and drinking chocolate.)

Today's ultra-dark 90% dark bar came with instructions. Do (as the small card insert instructs) savor this chocolate slowly. Tiptoe through this deep, dark forest of a bar at a pace where you can detect flavors that shift with each bite.

This package contained two gold-foil wrapped, ebony-colored bars that were just the right thickness for tasting. That is, they was relatively thin--making it easier to access and appreciate the complex and evolving flavors of the Bolivian cacao beans (from the El Ceibo Cooperative) used to make this bar.

The aroma was much subtler than I expected very faint dark chocolate, nut and forest notes. And the melt and texture were creamy, smooth (conching time was 22 hours**) with a flicker of very creamy nut butter-like consistency. So far, no scary beasts in the forest that would scare fainter hearts and palettes.

The flavors shifted over the course of eating this bar. Faint nut (pine nut) and faint dark fruit (prune, forest berry), balanced bitterness, then a bit earthy in one or two small bites. Also detected: fleeting fresh baked bread/sweet yeast/buckwheat pancake notes, nut butter, light woodsy notes. The finish was satisfying deep, dark chocolate notes.

This was a balanced, enjoyable "pure chocolate" experience, relatively low in acidity with balanced bitterness with only a light shake of sugar. (See tasting notes below for references to fine black licorice and black coffee. These also make sense to me. Whisps of the dark notes without the heartburn.)

Ingredients: Fair trade, organic cocoa mass and fair trade organic cane sugar

The maker's tasting notes read as follows: "Fragrance notes: sublte notes of wood and fruit (hints of grape); Taste notes: nuts, (caramelized wood, lots of cream, a hint of liquorice, mild touch of coffee, lingonberries, woody finish, mildly astringent with a little bit of fructose."

*Conching time (where cacao beans/nibs are ground into a paste) varies with the cacao variety/origin, the qualities of the cacao beans, flavor profile preferences and other considerations. Longer conche times (up to a few days) might allow for smoother, creamier texture and flavor, but some flavor elements might also be lost. That may be OK if one is trying to eliminate unruly or undesirable flavors; however, with fine cacao, you don't want to lose some of what makes the bean's origins truly unique and desirable.) The conche time selected with today's bar seems to have been quite successful.

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