Monday, April 12, 2021

Ritual Chocolate - Pine Nut Chocolate 55% Cacao (bar) - Apr. 11, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

Ritual Chocolate
Pine Nut Chocolate 55% Cacao (bar) 
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 2.12 oz. (60 g.) in total bar
Calories: 165 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $13.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate, Trees and Bees Theme Week.

Today's Pine Nut Chocolate (Ground Pine Nuts and Dark Chocolate) 55% Cacao (bar) was made by Ritual Chocolate (Park City, UT). The company crafts a variety of chocolate bars high in the mountains (7,000 feet/2,134 meters altitude).

Pinyon pine trees in pine and juniper forests in Utah and the Great Basin area of the U.S. are wonderful to look at and offer many benefits. They're also a source of pine nuts.* These ivory-colored seeds are delicate and buttery and have served as a food source for many animals, including humans for a very long time.

Ritual makers have created a great blend of pine nuts and dark chocolate. This bar had a relatively subtle dark chocolate aroma with chocolate cookie and faint nut (cashew shortbread cookie) notes. If you really focus, you can sense a bit of woodsy, pine/oak forest.

The texture was heavenly, with a rapid creamy, velvety melt and mouthfeel, made possible by finely ground pine nuts, added cocoa butter, and what seemed like the perfect amount of conching (cocoa mass grinding) time.

This 55% chocolate tasted bolder, richer and less sweet (thank you!) than most other 55% bars. And yet, the more delicate (and easily eclipsed) pine nuts still contributed an important role in texture and flavor. 

This ebony-colored bar had some deep dark, grounded, forest flavor--that in less skilled hands (and without finely ground pine nuts) might have headed more toward earthy/tannic or very slightly bitter.

Instead, this result was almost perfectly balanced smooth, rich, luxurious chocolate flavor (with faint forest, nut and fruit acidity); a suave, dark, roasted green nut and cocoa finish; and an almost undetectable, fleeting, astringency tickle at the back of the throat after the first few bites.

This pine nut chocolate was wonderful by itself. I'm guessing it would also make a great addition to a chocolate tasting flight or dessert plate; and/or the basis for a dark chocolate pot de creme or dark chocolate gelato. 

Ritual Chocolate tasting notes read as follows: "Nutty, pine-y, earthy"

Ingredients: Cacao, pine nuts, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter

Allergy-related information: "Contains pine nuts, may contain traces of peanuts, tree nuts, and wheat"

*Plant seeds come in a remarkable variety of shapes and sizes. Some are edible; most are not. Technically edible pine "nuts" are seeds (of several species of pine trees worldwide). And cacao beans are actually cacao seeds. I'm grateful for both of these seeds; and today's Pine Nut Chocolate bar shows they can be lovely together.

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