Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Chocolate Naive - Kilimamwenza Congo Dark Chocolate 70% (bar) - March 10, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

Chocolate Naive
Kilimamwenza Congo 70% Nano_Lot Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good ++ - Good +++
Weight: 2 oz. (57 g.) in total bar
Calories: 366 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $15.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: missing information 

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and JKLM Theme Week, where chocolate flavor inclusions-- or in today's case, origins--that begin with the letters J,K,L and/or are featured. 

Today's Kilimamwenza Congo Dark Chocolate 70% (bar) was crafted by Domantus Uzpalis at Chocolate Naive (Zietelos, Lithuania).*

African cacao cannot be easily summarized. But when people hear African cacao, what comes to mind is typically bold, deep, dark forastero cacao beans grown in a few countries in West Africa and chocolate made using a relatively heavy roast profile. 

Today's award-winning dark chocolate was a relatively eloquent, soft-spoken entree, made with a lighter Trinitario-Forastero hybrid variety of cacao grown on Kilimamwenza farm in Mambasa, Ituri province, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in central, sub-Saharan Africa.

This chocolate had a smooth but relatively complex dark chocolate aroma--with light, balanced, fermentation and umami (leather), and very faint fruit and green-floral notes.

The melt and initial texture were fairy uniform and creamy. A mild astringency in the finish led to a mouthfeel with a slight dryness/graininess. This astringency comes from polyphenols and tannins (as in unripe fruits (bananas, persimmons, olives, avocado), tea or red wine). 

While polyphenols have health benefits they also need to be balanced for a positive tasting experience. Heating/roasting/processing tends to diminish their presence.

The lightly roasted (110 degrees C./230 degrees F.) dark chocolate flavor was smooth, with a touch of honey-like sweetness, and a light, lingering finish with delicate green-floral, honey and fruit notes. (A lighter roast helps preserve lighter, more volatile flavor compounds (e.g. floral notes) as well as the polyphenols mentioned above.)

Ingredients: cacao, cane sugar, pure cacao butter

**Sometimes a chocolate maker has a rare, time-limited opportunity to purchase a small amount (a micro-lot) of cacao beans from a certain farm, origin and/or harvest year. This Chocolate Naive Kilimamwenza nano-lot, micro-batch bar was born from such an opportunity. 

Often there are small cacao fermenteries and co-ops involved in small, high-quality batches of bean output as well. This is not dissimilar to coffee projects and co-ops (usually not far from where cacao grows) in equatorial regions. (Chocolate Naive's chief chocolate maker does mention he was inspired by an individual(s) who helped local coffee co-ops export beans and to break into the specialty coffee market.) Who knows how many other pockets of great cacao in the massive continent of Africa are out there, waiting to be discovered?

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