Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Fu Wan Chocolate - Taiwan Magao (Wild Pepper) Chocolate (bar) - Dec. 15, 2020

Chocolate of the Day

Fu Wan Chocolate
Taiwan Magao (Wild Pepper) Chocolate 62% dark (bar)
Good ++
Weight: .795 oz. (22.5 g.) / 1.59 oz. (45 g.) in total bar 
Calories: 135 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Spices Theme Week(s). We're moving from chocolate and spice offerings created in northern Europe to featuring a chocolate from a slightly warmer place, Taiwan, that is also closer to the spice hub that is southeast Asia.

Today's Taiwan Magao (Wild Pepper) Chocolate 62% dark (bar) was made from "tree to bar" by Fu Wan Chocolate (Taiwan, ROC). "Crafted in the Island of Formosa," this bar contained Magao pepper. Old world pepper varieties have served as prized spices for centuries. Most people are familiar with black pepper, but there are many other "pepper" varieties out there from other plants, seeds and berries.

Magao pepper (Litsea cubeba), also known as a "mountain pepper," grows on evergreen trees native to Taiwan. Its seeds have been harvested and used as a spice/flavoring and a natural medicine by indigenous tribes (Atayal people) in Taiwan for centuries. It's used as an ingredient in traditional Magao pineapple cakes. And it's being explored by culinary explorers looking for unique taste experiences. It is closer to black pepper in flavor; and is not a chili or capsicum pepper. 

This spice gave the chocolate bar a very unique aroma. The bar's aroma had an earth meets water (lagoon/bay/grassy) note followed by fruit (goji berry tea, earthy tropical fruit), and black pepper sweet tea and faint graham cracker notes.

The melt and mouthfeel was very light and creamy (almost a whipped chocolate/cocoa butter feel). The sweet flavor had notes of ginger and lemongrass and faint oolong tea leaf notes, followed by a mild, balanced tea astringency. 

I was so busy enjoying and ferreting out the complex, Taiwan Magao wild pepper flavors that I had to re-taste it again for chocolate (cacao) nuances I might have missed. The relatively mild, sweet 62% dark chocolate base complemented the wild pepper, but it was hard to tell what spice, fruit, nut or earth notes the cacao contributed (apart from the pepper). The cacao (bean and butter) could have even mellowed the pepper flavors. More research is needed.

"Tasting Notes: Lemongrass, Ginger, Citrus, Nuts"

Ingredients: Cacao bean, sugar, cacao butter, Magao (Wild Pepper).

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