Friday, October 2, 2020

Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate - Hazelnut Milk Chocolate 55% (bar) - Oct. 2, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate
Hazelnut Milk Chocolate 55% with Alexandre Family Farm A2/A2 Milk
Good ++
Weight: 2 oz. (57 g.) in total bar
Calories: 300 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $9.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #12 of Chocolate, Nuts and Something More Theme Week.

Today's Hazelnut Milk Chocolate 55% cacao (bar) with A2/A2 milk from Alexandre Family Farm (Crescent City, CA) was handcrafted from bean to bar by Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate (Eureka, CA). 

Lightly roasted Oregon hazelnut bits flavored this 55% milk chocolate. The cacao used to make the base chocolate was from Brazil. Any subtleties in the cacao flavor were muted by the rich milk, the overall blend was a very harmonious one. A slight touch of vanilla added subtle warmth to the bar.

The milk really did play a starring role. A2/A2 milk comes from cows that carry A2 casein protein (rather than the more prevalent A1 casein protein milk found on most supermarket shelves). A2 milk is thought to be easier to digest and is more similar to goat's milk.

This nutty, milk chocolate bar had a soft creaminess to it. Taking a bite was like relaxing into a favorite plush sofa. It was sweet, to be sure, but the peppering of small hazelnut bits helped balance out the sweetness and added some contrasting texture.

Ingredients: Cacao, cane sugar, A2/A2 whole milk powder, cocoa butter, vanilla bean, hazelnuts.

Cacao Crudo - Nocciolato Hazelnut Crunch (Nougat aux Noisettes) (bar) - Oct. 1, 2020 (part 2/2)

Chocolate of the Day

Cacao Crudo S.r.l.
Nocciolato Hazelnut Crunch (Nougat aux Noisettes) (bar)
Good ++ - Good +++
Weight: 1.76 oz. (50 g.) / 7.065 oz. (200 g.) in total bar
Calories: 328.5 calories in 1.76 oz. (50 g.) of bar
Cost: $ N/A - sample 
Purchased from: N/A - sample from Cacao Crudo

Welcome to Day #11 of Chocolate, Nuts and More Theme Week.

Today's Nocciolato Hazelnut Crunch (Nougat aux Noisettes) (bar) was from Cacao Crudo S.r.l. (Rome, Italy).

The company produces a variety of chocolate bars. Their body of work demonstrates how far we've come in the last 20 years with unroasted cacao and raw chocolate products. The company focus is on blending high quality ingredients, such as unroasted, high-quality (Criollo) cacao with a smooth, wonderful chocolate flavor, with some wonderful, authentic-tasting flavor inclusions.

Arguably, the best hazelnuts in Europe, come from northern and central Italy. And this large, slice-able bar was packed with 71% "Tonda Gentile Romana"* hazelnuts, known for their rich, nutty and slightly sweet flavor. 

So, while the high nut content made it more difficult to pick out cacao flavor nuances, one could really enjoy both crunchy nut pieces and smooth chocolate-hazelnut base--in part because (like other Cacao Crudo bars) this one was sweetened with the perfect amount of coconut flower sap--adding a satisfying, but not overwhelming sugar buzz.

Each piece of this very creamy, soft, satisfying slab of chocolate with crunchy embedded hazelnut pieces was extra-rich and delicious, but also a bit lighter in texture than expected. (Tip: If enjoyed during the warmer months, I would chill this bar slightly before serving, to make it slightly firmer for slicing.)

*"Tonda Gentile Romano" is a hazelnut cultivar grown in the Viterbo Province of Central Italy. Here, near the mountains and blessed with rich, volcanic soil, some delicious nuts in grow in a goldilocks zone (not too cold, not too hot) for hazelnuts. 

**Today's Cacao Crudo Nougat aux Noissettes (organic, unroasted, vegan, gluten free) bar reminded me of the much sought after Francois Pralus (France) Barre Infernale (nut nougat/praline) chocolate bars, introduced in the U.S. around 2005. Both of these large nougat bars can be carved into individual servings, and are great for sharing with friends and family or bringing to a party.

Ingredients: "(not roasted) "Tonda Gentile Romana" organic hazelnut paste (43%), (not roasted "Tonda Gentile Romana" organic chopped hazelnuts (28%), not roasted, organic cacao Criollo beans paste, organic concentrated coconut flower sap, organic cacao Criollo butter from not roasted beans."

Cacao Crudo - Gianduja (Nocciole non tostate) Dark Chocolate (bar) - Oct. 1, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Cacao Crudo 
Gianduja Nocciole non tostate) Cioccolato Fondente Bio 
Gianduja (unroasted hazelnuts) Organic Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good ++
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) / 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar|
Calories: 153.5 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: N/A - sample from Cacao Crudo
Purchased from: N/A - sample from Cacao Crudo

Welcome to Day #11 of Chocolate, Nuts and More Theme Week.

Today's Gianduja Nocciole non tostate (unroasted hazelnuts) Cioccolato Fondente Bio (Organic Dark Chocolate) (bar) from Cacao Crudo (Roma, Italy) had a clean, green aroma with a date/raisin-like sweetness and very faint tangy, sweet green banana (fruit) cacao notes. 

This organic, dark chocolate was delightfully creamy--and fairly pliable, so do store in a cool place, out of direct sun. It had a thick, very smooth chocolate hazelnut spread-like consistency, only much better (in my opinion). It wasn't overwhelmed by sugar(s), and contained no oils or other additives you might find in a jar of most chocolate and nut spreads.

The unroasted, ground hazelnut paste contributed a very mild nutty flavor (as did the 50% unroasted cacao from Peru). The fully integrated nut + cacao flavor blend was subtle and pleasing. 

Cacao Crudo has continued to prove that unroasted cacao can be rich, enjoyable and interesting. And with the right cacao, raw chocolate can achieve a subtle complexity just as wonderful as bolder roasted varieties. 

Based on tasting their chocolate, the makers have a deep understanding of flavor preservation. If you choose a beautiful heritage (Criollo) cacao, brimming with gentle fruit and cream flavors, the last thing you'd want to do would be to over-roast or over-process this cacao, as you'd lose these prized, subtle flavor notes. 

The "more" today is a bonus entry that will follow this one...another great chocolate and hazelnut bar from this same chocolate maker.

Ingredients: "Organic, not roasted cacao Criollo beans paste (50%), not roasted Tonda Gentile Romana hazelnut(s) paste (30%), organic, concentrated coconut flower sap."


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