Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Madre Chocolate - Coffee and Cardamom Lachua Guatemala dark (bar) + Horchata bar - Dec. 9, 2020

Chocolate(s) of the Day

Madre Chocolate
Coffee and Cardamom Lachua Guatemala dark chocolate (bar)
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.5 oz. (43 g.) in total bar
Calories: 228 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $8.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Madre Chocolate, online order

Welcome to Day #18 of Chocolate and Hawaii Theme Weeks, and Day #1 of Chocolate and Spices Theme Week. What better confluence of these two themes than these two bars featured today from Madre Chocolate (Honolulu, HI).

Madre's Chocolate Flavormeister, Dr. Nat Bletter, strikes one as a one part explorer and life-time learner, one part botanical mad scientist-genius (in the best possible meaning of this term); and, thankfully, he loves sharing information* (and chocolate) with all the rest of us. 

He has researched, cacao, fruits and other botanical ingredients in Hawaii (and around the world) for possible inclusion in Madre chocolate offerings. I'm sure he spent time researching and gathering each of the ingredients in these two bars.

This Coffee and Cardamom chocolate (bar #1 of 2 featured today) was a study in contrasts that held my interest. A creamy velvet, medium sweet but robust 60% dark chocolate base co-existed with crunchy, coarse-ground organic Chiapas coffee bean pieces. 

The relatively "whole" inclusions (coffee, vanilla and perhaps the cardamom) created layers of bold, unique flavors. And this layering tended to hold my attention more than having everything finely ground and homogenized. For example, the whole vanilla here did not taste like manufactured vanilla extract. And while it harmonized well with the other flavors, it also had its own distinct, floral, earthy notes. 

This was a meeting of big, authentic flavors and each deserved a turn in the spotlight. A good "wake up" bar.

Ingredients for Coffee and Cardamom bar: Cacao, organic sugar, organic cocoa butter, coffee, whole vanilla, organic cardamom.

Madre Chocolate
Horchata golden chocolate (bar) 
Good +
Weight: 1.5 oz. (43 g.) in total bar
Calories: 230 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $6.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Madre Chocolate, online order

This Horchata golden chocolate bar was "inspired by the popular Spanish and Mexican drink, horchata, made from rice milk, almonds, cinnamon, and vanilla."

Madre has fused these traditional horchata flavors with coconut--a taste I associate with Hawaii and, in recent years, with dairy-free bars. The aroma of this bar had coconut, spices, (cinnamon, chai), roasted, nutty and cocoa butter notes.

The bar's base had a smooth, rich melt and texture. This complemented the soft, chewy, quiet riot of flavorful bits on (and in) the bar that yielded a "white" chocolate with its own suave personality. 

Actually this bar was not "white." It was a lovely golden brown color. White chocolate is a name given to bars and confections made with cocoa butter (the creamy ivory-colored fat from cocoa beans), but without cocoa solids (that add much of the flavor and dark brown color to chocolate). But, it's not always that, well, black and white. As today's golden chocolate shows. There can be interesting shades in between.

Shout out to the perfectly roasted rice. This added an excellent flavor note that elevated the overall blend of  coconut and almond bits, and vanilla, cinnamon, and other ingredients.

Ingredients for Horchata bar: Organic Dominican cocoa butter, organic coconut, organic sugar, roasted rice, almonds, organic cinnamon, Mexican whole vanilla. 

Note: Madre makes chocolate bars in relatively small batches. Their bars may sell out; and they may or may not be available currently. Check their website (online) store for the current line-up.

*There are more cacao farm and chocolate tour options available in Hawaii now than when I started Chocolate Banquet many years ago. If you are visiting Hawaii, you might consider looking into one of Nat's cacao farm/botanical tours--and other farm tours that are now available. You'll gain a unique appreciation of how plants/cacao grow, how plants are made into offerings like chocolate, and why chocolates/foods taste the way they do. Not to mention all the love and hard work that go into these processes.


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