Sunday, February 28, 2021

Armstrong - Jamaica 70% (bar) - Feb. 28, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

Armstrong Chocolate
Jamaica 70% (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.05 oz. (29.7 g.) / 2.1 oz. (59.4 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 167 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $13.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA 

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Jamaica Theme Week.

Today's Jamaica 70% (bar) was made by Armstrong Chocolate (Chico, CA). Matthew Armstrong produced this bar, and other micro-batch, bean-to-bar, single origin bars as well as chocolates with flavor inclusions.*

This bar was made using cacao grown at Bachelors Hall Estate in Jamaica. The cacao beans used in this bar, and most of the other Jamaica single origin bars featured this week, came from the same estate/farm (and the same farmer)--located in St. Thomas Parish in eastern Jamaica. Armstrong describes the bar's origins this way:

"The beans are ethically sourced from Desmond Jadusingh and his 300 acre cacao estate in Jamaica. With exceptional post-harvest management, Desmond's cacao has gained high praise within the fine chocolate community. These exclusive beans are carefully roasted, refined and tempered for your enjoyment."

There are other examples of sought-after farmers/farms like this in the craft chocolate world. It's nice when makers give them public credit. Makers need great beans to make great chocolates. 

The resulting 70% cacao Armstrong bar offered true chocolate (fudge brownie) and bright, red fruit (red cherry, sweet red banana, lightly fermented cacao fruit/pulp**) aroma and flavor notes. The same balanced, chocolate brownie batter + tart-sweet fruit flavor lingered a bit into the finish.

Ingredients: Organic cacao, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter.

*Unfortunately, it appears that Armstrong paused or ceased production last year (2020). We hope that he decides to return to chocolate-making in the future.

**Cacao fruit (or more accurately pulp) surrounds a core of large cacao seeds (aka the cacao beans) in cacao fruit (pods). Once pods are harvested and split open, the ivory-colored fruit pulp starts to ferment very quickly, making it tough to transport. And so (unless flash frozen on-site) few people will get to taste this lovely fruit with tangy citrus, floral and fruit candy notes. 

I've tasted cacao pulp that was a dead ringer for watermelon Jolly Rancher candy, while other cacao fruit pulp had decidedly milder citrus (tangerine), lighter mango-melon, and/or citrus-floral notes. Flavors vary with cacao variety and origin.

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