Chocolate of the Day
Nicaragua 72% La Dalia Dark Chocolate (bar)
Weight: 1.55 oz. (43 g.) in total bar
Calories: 233 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $7.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Farm Fresh To You (CSA box), add-on item
Welcome to Day #9 of Chocolate and Nicaragua Theme Week.
Today's Nicaragua 72% La Dalia Dark Chocolate (bar) was made by Cru Chocolate (Roseville, CA).
This bar had pleasing true chocolate (fudge brownie, dark hot cocoa*) notes, as well as bittersweet red berry fruit (ripe red currant) and fleeting hints of roasted coffee, nut butter and spice (cinnamon, allspice). Flavors lingered lightly in the finish.
The makers tasting notes read as follows: "Made with cacao from the nation of poets and soulful emotions. This carefully handcrafted Nicaraguan bar expresses the cacao's earthy, bittersweet flavors, spotted with hints of spiced herbs and caramel."
Cacao beans were fermented by Cacao Bisiesto** in Nicaragua, and hand-sorted, roasted cracked, winnowed, stone-ground, conched and aged by Cru Chocolate in the U.S. The chocolate was well-tempered and the texture was almost creamy, smooth--despite the fact that there was no added no cocoa butter (cocoa bean fat that many craft chocolate makers add, especially to cacao beans grown at the Equator that tend to be "leaner," for a creamier mouth feel). Impressive.
Ingredients: cacao beans, organic unrefined cane sugar
*Cru Chocolate also makes drinking chocolate. Something in the aroma of today's Nicaragua bar evoked a hot cacao/drinking chocolate beverage--so much so that I caught myself blowing lightly on the first bite of chocolate before biting into it. While that's not happened in my 14 years of writing about chocolate, chocolates continue to be full of unexpected depth and magic.
** Cacao Bisiesto (Matagalpa, La Dalia) is a small, socially conscious cacao fermentary in the central highlands of Nicaragua. Co-founded by Jose Enrique Herrera (cacao agronomist) and Gifford (Giff) Laube, this outfit has worked with farmers to help improve the quality of fermented cacao. Their good work has benefited artisan/craft chocolate makers and consumers (even though these critical first steps in the chocolate making process taking place in the cacao growing countries, and are largely hidden from consumer view).