Monday, January 11, 2021

Theo and Philo Chocolate - Dark Chocolate with Black Sesame and Nuts bar - Jan. 11, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

Theo and Philo Chocolate Factory
Dark Chocolate with Black Sesame and Nuts bar
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.5 oz. (45 g.) in total bar
Calories: 220 calories (per label) in 1 bar
Cost: $7.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and the Philippines Theme Week.

Today's Dark Chocolate with Black Sesame and Nuts bar was from Theo and Philo Chocolate Factory (Manila, Philippines).

The relatively soft, sweet dark 65% cacao chocolate provided a great foil for the crunchy fiesta of black sesame seed praline, cashew and glazed pili* nut bits embedded throughout the bar. This satisfying blend yielded layered roasted nut and seed and true smooth chocolate flavors, with a very faint malt note in the finish.

Ingredients: "Cacao beans, sugar, glazed pili nuts (pili, sugar, oil), cashew, cocoa butter, black sesame"

*Today's bar was made using a blend of ingredients from the Philippines; although many of these ingredients likely originated from different parts of the world centuries ago. Cacao originated in Central and South America and was spread primarily by the Spanish (and other Europeans) to overseas colonies with similar tropical climates.

Pili nuts (Canarium ovatum) grow on trees that are native to Northern Australia and nearby islands (Papua New Guinea and "maritime" Southeast Asia). They've also been cultivated in the Philippines for some time. Technically a seed, these nuts can also be found in many Pacific island nations. Their shape is somewhere between an almond and a sheathed pine cone seed that is more pointed at one end. 

Pili nuts are surrounded by a tough shell, probably similar to Macadamia nuts. (Many years ago, I remember seeing tourists driving their car over Mac nuts in Hawaii to crack them--an incident that helped explain their inherent toughness, and high cost.)

Black sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum) are native to Asia and have been cultivated for thousands of years. Like cacao seeds (aka cacao "beans"), sesame seeds grow in a fruit pod. 

Cashews (cashew apples) are native to NE Brazil and can be found growing in Central and South America--as well as other tropical climates, including the Philippines. (Nigeria, Vietnam and India are currently the largest producers of cashews.)

Every day I feel fortunate to be able to savor the results of all this botanical migration, in the form of single origin chocolates and/or chocolates with creative flavor inclusions. Chocolate is almost a "universal" food. It's one of those foods (like lemon, breads, certain herbs, nuts) that can successfully be part of sweet or savory offerings, or both at the same time.


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