Sunday, October 3, 2021

Fresco Chocolate - Ghana 68% Recipe 261 - Dark Roast, Medium Conche - Oct. 1, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

Fresco Artisan Chocolate
Ghana 68% Recipe 261 - Dark Roast, Medium Conche dark chocolate (bar)
Good ++ - Good +++
Weight: .9 oz. (25 g.) / 1.8 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 136.5 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.00 (+ summer shipping) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Ghana Week.

Today'a Ghana 68% (Recipe 261) Dark Roast, Medium Conche (bar) was made by Fresco Chocolate (Lynden, WA).

Fresco lets us discover why roasting, conche and other choices in chocolate-making really matter, by crafting single origin bars with different roast and conche* profiles. 

Why is Fresco different? Chocolate makers almost always document choices they make with each origin and batch of cacao beans, creating recipes in the process. Fresco goes one step further and shares their recipe numbers on their labels, and will offer two or three similar bars, but with slightly different recipes.

Bottom line, Fresco's bars (and their backstories) are designed to be compared relative to each other. And there's no better way to learn what you really like than from side-by-side tastings.

Today, I'm tasting and comparing a second Fresco Ghana 68% dark bar--this one with a darker roast and slightly longer conche time. 

Both yesterday's and today's bar had a subtle aroma. Yesterday's 68% bar had a faint chocolate, faint fruit (lingonberry and persimmon (yesterday)) and fleeting very faint spice notes. And the melt and mouthfeel for all three Fresco Ghana bars this week were very pleasing with a smooth and relatively buttery texture.

Today's (dark roast) chocolate's balanced, faintly bitter aroma (not present in yesterday's light roast sibling) seemed to dissipate slightly over time; and it seemed overall slightly nuttier (roasted nuts and a faint, fleeting raspberry note; although it seemed less sweet (bright/jammy) than yesterday's bar with the lighter roast and subtle conche.*

Flavor notes for this single-ingredient bar included (in order of appearance): rich, sweet dark chocolate (hot cocoa), bread and butter, and sustained of true chocolate (fudge, dark chocolate torte and frosting). This dark chocolate had a mild fruit acidity (sweet, tart red berry (red raspberry) that lingered a bit into a chocolate-y, clean mineral finish. 

Not everyone will prefer the same Fresco Ghana 68% cacao bar over the other. Both were well executed. And I feel sure that precise care was taken to optimize each recipe and each resulting bar. As is the case for most chocolates, try re-tasting (both bars) a few minutes and/or hours later, and you may also experience a subtle shift in which bar (or aspects of each bar) you like.

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter

Allergen-related information: "Free from: gluten, dairy, nuts, soy"

*Conching follows the initial grinding process. Fresco describes conching as "heat, motion, aeration and time producing chocolate's final flavor." And the maker explains: "adjusting these variables can produce dramatically different flavors."  

**Note: I could have placed the two Fresco Ghana 68% bar too close together. If so, there's a small possibility I got the two mixed up with regard to red fruit and nut notes. (Disclosure: I also had a dental health issue that could have influenced the ability to distinguish taste this week.) And, some chocolate flavor shape-shifting likely took place over the course of a day or two--something that has been known to happen either after chocolate has been opened/exposed to air, or over time (as the chocolate or my palette changes, e.g. if I eat or drink something. 

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