Saturday, December 19, 2020

Nuance Chocolate - Costa Rica Hacienda Azul 2017 70% Pure Dark bar - Dec. 19, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Nuance Chocolate Company
Costa Rica Hacienda Azul 2017 70% Pure Dark bar
Good ++
Weight: 1.94 oz. (55 g.) in total bar
Calories: 300 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $8.50 (plus shipping) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Nuance Chocolate, online order  

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Costa Rica Theme Week.

Today's Nuance Chocolate's Costa Rica Hacienda Azul's 2017 70% Pure Dark bar was made by Nuance Chocolate Company (in (Old Town) Fort Collins, CO). 

Nuance offers a variety of flavorful, bean-to-bar, single origin and flavored bars--including some infused with spirits (a variety of whiskeys)--in northern Colorado. Up until the 2000s, chocolatiers across the U.S. had been cranking out smooth, relatively uniform-tasting dark chocolate bars and confections. 

Thankfully--and mirroring a wave of artisan food and beverage providers in recent decades--a growing number of artisan chocolate makers, like Nuance, are providing us with chocolates that possess a unique depth and breadth of flavor, while also using fewer additives, preservatives and blending steps that might obscure these flavors.

Today's Nuance 70% dark bar had an aroma with true chocolate, fruit, and very faint spice and nut notes. The melt and texture were smooth.

The flavor included fruit (red fruit (a mix of red and black currants), dark, ripe cherry, dark berry tart with a flash of mango), raisin cinnamon toast, and a faint sweet herb and balanced earthy bitter-sweetness, fermented fruit and green nut notes--with a gradually diminishing finish. 

This chocolate provided a satisfying, multi-layered flavor ride. All this thanks to cacao beans grown in Costa Rica (Hacienda Azul*), professional fermentation, a thoughtful supply chain, and Nuance's skilled chocolate makers. (Thank you to founders/owners Toby and Alix Gadd.)

"Ingredients: cacao, cane sugar, cocoa butter. All natural and GMO-free."

*Hacienda Azul roughly translates to blue "house" in English. More specifically a hacienda refers to a main/large house on a plantation or estate in a Spanish-speaking country. 

Hacienda Azul is a single estate (cacao grower) is located in central Costa Rica, near Turrialba (the name of a town and an active volcano). The estate grows cacao trees in a biodiverse environment, intermingled with jungle, rather than in a "shaved land" mono-culture farm configuration we might be more familiar with in the U.S. This method of planting can offer several benefits, e.g. a more hospitable environment for the midges (insects) that pollinate cacao flowers.

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