Tuesday, November 16, 2021
Wm. Chocolate - Haiti KAFUPBO 80% Dark (bar) - Nov. 15, 2021
Chocolate of the Day
Haiti KAFUPBO 80% Dark (bar)
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1 small bar
Cost: $3.75 (sale) for 1 small bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com, online order
Welcome to Day #10 of Chocolate and Hispaniola Theme Weeks--featuring Dominican Republic cacao-based chocolates last week; and chocolates made from cacao grown in the Republic of Haiti this week.
Today's Haiti KAFUPBO 80% Dark (2019 Harvest) (bar) was made from bean to bar by William Marx at Wm. Chocolate LLC (Madison, WI).
KAFUPBO is "a farmer-owned co-op producing world-class organic cacao in northern Haiti." In 2019/2020, Haiti produced only about 5,000 metric tons of cocoa. (The Dominican Republic produced approximately 70,000 metric tons that year.) That's up from the 4,400 tons reported in 2016, but down from the over 20,000 tons from decades earlier--numbers that reflect challenges in this country.
Several organizations, including Produits des Iles S.A. (PISA) and Singing Rooster, have been working with farmers and helping to bring Haiti coffee and cacao to market. I felt grateful to find bars for a Haiti series this week.
Aroma and texture
Today's Wm. Chocolate 80% cacao chocolate had a subtle, complex aroma--a blend of chocolate cookie, with diffuse fruit (red berry, raspberry, very faint sweet lemon, and even fainter lemon herb (oxalis, sour grass, wood sorrel)) notes. The melt and texture were creamy and smooth.
Flavor and tasting ultra-dark bars
As is often the case with ultra-dark (80% and above) chocolates, the flavors are "darker" than the aroma.* Tasting this bar, the initial aroma evoked a sunlit summer tea party with cookies, raspberry jam and lemon slices.
As I tasted the first piece, it felt like the imaginary tea party had suddenly decided to move into the shaded forest to pick and eat wild blackberries. And I was happy to follow, with an occasional imaginary glance over my shoulder for bears. (Thankfully, no bears or rough or off notes, or earthy spikes; just wonderful, perfectly ripe dark berries and one last cup of tea.)
This bar had a rich dark chocolate flavor that was smooth (well managed) yet complex (rich flavors were allowed to shine). Balanced occasional upticks of earthiness were effectively incorporated into authentic ripe, dark berries: soft undulations of blackberry tea, black currant/elderberry, and black raspberry ice cream notes.
Maker's tasting notes: "Rich and herbal with notes of raspberry, black tea, biscuit"
Ingredients: Certified Organic cacao beans, Certified Organic whole (unrefined) cane sugar, Certified Organic cacao butter
Allergen-related information: "No soy, dairy, grain, nuts, refined sugar, or animal products."
*This rather sudden shift to a darker, more unsweetened cacao taste (vs. a "sweeter" or fruitier initial aroma) found in bars with less than 20% sugar can be a shock--especially for those who are not used to pure cacao flavors or unsweetened chocolate. Our palettes and brains expect chocolates to taste sweet; that's what we're used to.
However, the best chocolate makers work with farmers, post-harvest fermentation experts, and others to create ultra-dark chocolates with such care and skill that the unique and true flavors of great cacao sing without sugar sparkle; and occasionally (such as with today's maker), seem to add wings for an extra enjoyable ride, where it's possible to experience a form of imaginary culinary transportation.