Monday, December 21, 2020

French Broad Chocolates - Costa Rica Dark Chocolate 80% Cacao (bar) - Dec. 20, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

French Broad Chocolates
Costa Rica Dark Chocolate 80% Cacao (bar)
Good ++ - Good +++ 
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) in total bar
Calories: 180 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $4.99 for 1 bar 
Purchased from: Village Market, Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA  

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Costa Rica Theme Week.

Today's artful Costa Rica Dark Chocolate 80% Cacao (bar) (Batch #1065) was from French Broad Chocolates (Asheville, North Carolina). 

This bar's robin's egg blue and shiny gold packaging was beautiful. The French Broad River (that inspired the company's name) is depicted in sinuous gold. I'm intrigued by maps; and any product information that includes a map (and the latitude and longitude coordinates) that honors and conveys a sense of place, for me, is a plus. Like many craft foods and beverages, place(s) are very important for chocolate.

This robust bar had a complex aroma with earthy, savory, smoky/roasted, very light nutty tobacco notes, followed by concentrated fruit (dried apricot, dried plum and dried banana) notes. 

The flavor notes were similar to the aroma notes listed above; although the taste had a slightly more muted quality--likely due to cocoa butter. (Added cocoa butter can help manage/soften acidity and bitterness, and can help create a luscious texture.) This well-tempered, chocolate had a dense, velvety, almost nut butter-like texture.

Artful to the end...this 80% chocolate had a satisfying, relatively light, lingering finish with a faint balanced, bitterness and then (after another minute) a fainter sweeter fruit (berry) note. All this with just two ingredients: cacao and sugar.

French Broad Chocolate founders, Dan and Jael Rattigan, lived in Costa Rica for a time, made connections there, and below is information from them that talks about how this experience continues to contribute to their chocolate making today. (See below for an excerpt.)

French Broad Chocolate maker's notes:

"No chocolate connects us more deeply with our roots than this bar. Dan and Jael lived in the cacao-rich jungles of Costa Rica for two years, where they opened a small café, called Bread and Chocolate.
Daniel South was brought on as a dishwasher, eventually being trained as Head Baker. Now Daniel has returned to his agricultural roots as a cacao processor, cultivating cacao on his farm and buying the seeds from his neighbors. He ferments in wooden boxes made from trees felled on his land, and exports cacao directly to French Broad Chocolates. Building a viable cacao business hasn’t been easy for Daniel, but we are seeing his efforts bear fruit.
This two-ingredient chocolate contains a robust eighty percent cacao with an earthy aroma. The flavor profile begins with chocolate wafer cookie and transforms into tart raspberry."

Ingredients: cacao, organic sugar

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