Saturday, November 14, 2020

Cacaosuyo - 70% Cacao Lakuna Dark Chocolate (bar) - Nov. 13, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

(Produced by Theobroma Inversiones SAC)
70% Cacao Lakuna Dark Chocolate (bar) 
Good +++ - Very Good 
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $4.25 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Peru Theme Weeks.

Today's Cacaosuyo 70% Cacao Lakuna Dark Chocolate (bar) was produced by Theobroma Inversiones SAC (Lima, Peru). 

The company is dedicated to making chocolate using cacao fruit/beans grown in the land of the "Four Suyos"* of Peru, a term that refers back to the Inca Empire. The Incas consumed cacao "as a source of energy and power" and today the peoples of Peru are linked to a rich cacao heritage and traditions that stretch from past to present.

Today's 70% cacao dark bar is the third of four conveniently sized (single-serving) different Cacaosuyo bars featured this week, and was made with cacao beans grown in the Amazon region in northern Peru (Amazonas).

I would advise opening the inner packet that contains this bar and you might sample the aroma, but then let it breathe for a few minutes. (The aroma will shift and mellow a bit.) This chocolate had a unique aroma with rich, concentrated dark sweetness, dried fruit (prunes, lightly rum-soaked dark raisins) and faint licorice spice and herbal spirits notes. 

The bar was relatively thin, allowing great access to the texture and flavor. The bar's true dark chocolate, and natural dark sweetness bloomed (like you'd find in fennel, licorice or other naturally sweet plants) with the first bite. Don't worry if you're not a licorice fan, you won't need to be to enjoy this experience. The melt was almost creamy, and the texture was smooth but with a very light astringency mid-way to finish.

Chocolate flavor notes were similar to the dried fruit aroma and sweet herbal notes listed above. There was also a very slight green/bright earth note that was faint and harmonized with the overall cacao profile. A minute or two after the last bite, I experienced floral notes (that included saffron (Crocus sativus), an expensive floral spice derived from the bright orange stamens springing from the center of purple saffron crocus flowers). What an intriguing bar.

The maker's tasting notes read as follows: "Our passion to explore the Amazon and chocolate brings us a wonderful cacao that is hidden in the rich jungle of Peru, to transform into an exquisite dark sweetness, full of floral notes that intimately combine with fruits make this a new experience for those of us who dream of deliciously different flavors. We call it Lakuna."**

Ingredients: Cacao paste (Theobroma cacao L) and sugar

*The Four Suyos refers to Inca empire Tawantinsuyu's Four Suyos (similar to counties or regions) that surrounded Cuzco: Antisuyo (east, forest/wild area), Chinchaysuyo (northwest), Contisuyo (west) and Collasuyo (south). The Empire at its heydey occupied most of Peru, and parts of what is now Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and Argentina. 

**Lakuna, or lacuna in English, has a nuanced (temptingly metaphorical) series of definitions. It can mean an interval or gap; a missing page from a book, manuscript or logical argument; or (in a medical context) a cavity or depression in a bone. In Botany, lacunae are air spaces in cellular plant tissues. 

But, rather than a deficiency, a gap can also have great value. (Note: Without lacunae or nasal cavities we could not smell and taste.)

How might this definition apply to today's chocolate? 

Music is created by a variety of notes, some strong, some soft. But, there is also depth and power in the pauses between notes. This 70% Amazonas bar has bold flavors, but in the intervals between what seem to be strong notes, complex green/herbal and floral notes emerge, resulting in a wonderful whole. So, rather than what might be emptier gaps in some chocolates, the "holes" are filled with music. A "w" is added to "whole" here. 

Great chocolates that I've had the pleasure to try are created by chocolate makers and maestros--along every step of the process from bean-to-bar--and seem to evoke a distinct sense of their own music when you taste them. I chalk this experience up to multi-layered crafting skills, chemistry magic in the "gaps" and around the edges, and perhaps a touch of chocolate-tasting synesthesia (where senses of smell and taste might merge in the brain with auditory senses and experience memories.)

A solid, perfectly uniform block of anything can be powerful and skillfully executed, but there is less to "hear" and write about. Which is why I'm attracted to the interesting and varied facets and forms of science, nature and people...and complex foods like chocolate.

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