Thursday, January 28, 2021

Al Nassma - Camel Milk Chocolate 70% with Almonds (bar) - Jan. 27, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

Al Nassma Chocolate
Camel Milk Chocolate 70% Cocoa with Almonds (bar)
Good +
Weight: 1.23 oz. (35 g.) / 2.46 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 212.45 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $10.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and ABCD Theme Week.

Today's Camel's Dark Milk 70% Cocoa with Almonds bar was produced by Al Nassma Chocolate (Dubai, United Arab Emirates). The company was, as far as I know, the first to offer fine Arabian (Dromedary)* camel milk chocolate.

The theme this week is: chocolates with flavor inclusions that begin with the letters A, B, C and D. While there are dozens of flavor inclusions that start with "c" (cardamom, cherry, cinnamon and curry spices, to name a few), camel's milk offered the chance for a little virtual culinary travel. Blend this drome-dairy milk with dark chocolate and almonds?  All the better.

This bar had an aroma with sweet chocolate (dark chocolate cake/frosting, fresh baked cookie) notes; and after taking a bite, the chocolate aroma was joined by faint coconut, almond and brown sugar flavor notes. A hint of floral vanilla flavor--and a very faint malt/oxidized note possibly from the almonds--also helped explain the association with baked goods in the aroma. 

The whole almonds embedded in the dark milk chocolate provided crunchy texture, and the bar's finish had balanced, smooth dark chocolate flavor with a faint whisper of earthy/smokey vanilla. 

What about the camel's milk? Since I have never tasted camel's milk (by itself) it was difficult to detect any unique, or dairy-like, flavor in the small amount that was present (2%) in this chocolate. 

Too much milk and sugar can obscure the underlying cacao flavors in milk chocolate bars (particularly mass produced/large batch offerings). However, the cacao** flavor nuances were able to shine through with this 70% dark milk bar, in large part because there was not too much milk or sugar (and honey); and the makers chose to go with a relatively high percent of cacao (for a milk chocolate bar). Thank you!

It's unusual to find dark milk bars above 68% cacao. There are a few 70%-ers produced by European and U.S. makers. However, generally speaking, milk chocolate bars--even dark milk ones--cater to those with more of a sweet tooth. The best makers learn to harness the alchemy involved with different cacao varieties and milks and sweeteners of different sorts.

Ingredients: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, almonds (15%), camel milk powder (2%), honey, bourbon vanilla

* Of the species of camels alive today, Dromedary camels (Camelus Dromedarius), generally found in the drier areas (deserts) of Saudia Arabian peninsula and Africa, are the most numerous. They have a single hump vs. the Asian Bactrian camels that have two humps. As with cattle, cow camels give milk, bull camels do not. 

Camel milk is an important staple in certain countries, and approximately 3 million tons of camel milk is produced for consumption each year worldwide. (Approximately 600 million metric tons of cattle/cow's milk is produced worldwide.)

**I'm guessing the cacao variety used to make this chocolate bar might have been Forastero or a Trinitario-Forastero blend from Africa.

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