Dominican Republic Zorzal Cacao 70% Dark Chocolate (bar)
Weight: .8 oz. (22.5 g.) / 1.6 oz. (45 g.) in total bar
Calories: 120 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $8.75 for 1 bar ($35 for 4 different bars)
Purchased from: Moku Chocolate, online order (via Good Food Awards Marketplace)
Welcome to Day #9 of Chocolate and Hispaniola Theme Weeks, beginning with chocolates made using cacao from the Dominican Republic--the eastern portion of the larger Caribbean island known as Hispaniola. Haiti lies to the west; and chocolates made from Haitian cacao will follow.
Today's Dominican Republic Zorzal Cacao 70% Dark Chocolate (bar) was handcrafted by Moku Chocolate (Philomath, OR), using cacao grown on the Zorzal* reserve.
The maker's motto: "Chocolate crafted from bean to bar with careful attention to the cacao that goes into it, respect for the farmers who grow it and reverence for the environment that sustains it." An articulate expression of the intent and ethos shared by many smaller batch, single origin chocolate makers.
The subtle aroma notes for this bar included: fruit (plum), molasses, and chocolate (brownie)--followed by secondary notes that included a slight uptick of freshly baked bread and a single very faint, fleeting vegetable (potato) note.
The melt and texture were relatively smooth.
And flavor notes included: sustained chocolate (fudge brownie) tart-sweet red fruit (plum), and a background flicker of molasses--very consistent with the Moku maker's notes (below). (There's not always this level of congruence.) The uniformly smooth, dark/bittersweet chocolate-y flavor was enough to provide an effective balance with the relatively bright tart-sweetness and fruit acidity levels.
Maker's tasting notes: "Plums, red wine, and molasses."
Ingredients: Cocoa beans, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter
Allergen-related information: "vegan, non-GMO, gluten free"
*Moku Chocolate maker and founder, Maureen Nikaido, became interested in bean-to-bar chocolate (after sponsoring a child in Nicaragua in 2006 and exposure to cacao and chocolate making, including travel in Central America). Nikaido founded Moku Chocolate in 2020.
Moku is a word for "island" in Hawaii. Cacao is grown on many islands near the Equator, including Hispaniola (DR and Haiti)--and Hawaii--in addition to other tropical areas close to coastlines. (Large bodies of water can help moderate extreme temperature fluctuations.)
Nikaido has focused primarily on single origin bars (some with flavor inclusions). One of those origins has been Zorzal Cacao in the Dominican Republic.
Zorzal Cacao is an agricultural-forestry project that is part of Reserva Zorzal, a large (1,000+ acres) bird sanctuary. It includes a cacao demonstration farm and fermentery operations. Zorzal (Spanish for thrush--a type of bird) is located in a mountainous area in north central Dominican Republic.
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