GranBlend Montezuma 75% with nibs
Weight: .53 oz. (15 g.) for 2 squares (.265 oz. (7.5 g.) in 1 square)
Calories: 79.5 calories (estimate) in 2 squares
Cost: $2.40 for 2 squares ($1.20 for each)
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com, online order
Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and Cacao Nibs Theme Week.
Today's GranBlend Montezuma 75% with nibs (squares) were from Venchi S.p.A. (Castelletto Stura, Cuneo, Piedmont, Italy).
These two small, thin chocolate squares had flavor to savor. Cocoa nibs contain more unprocessed cacao bean flavor. And eating these chocolates with nibs more slowly yielded a more interesting tasting experience.
Together, the two squares had aroma and flavor notes that included balanced chocolate nut brownie, earth, light leather. The second one had more faint sweet fruit and green notes. Cocoa nibs added a soft crunchy texture in both cases (slightly softer and nuttier in the first square). Some of the very subtle flavor differences between the two came from the nibs. (Different batches of beans/nibs or origins perhaps.)
How does one handle "unpredictable" nibs?
Both of today's squares with nibs were good with no "off" flavors. But, all it takes is one funky piece of coca bean (nib) to throw flavors off. Most artisan chocolate makers sort their beans and nibs very carefully to avoid this.
The other strategy, employed by many high-volume chocolate producers is to increase processing and homogenize batches of cocoa nibs/beans so thoroughly (and grind/conche them for so long--sometimes many days) that any "off" flavors will be greatly reduced or attenuated, even if some desirable or more delicate flavors disappear as well. This leads to a consistent, more predicable flavor over time, but one that can be much less exciting, and one where subtle varietal, harvest and origin flavors can be lost.