Saturday, March 13, 2021

Michel Cluizel - Mangaro Noir 65% Madagascar (bar) - March 13, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

Michel Cluizel 
Mangaro Noir 65% Madagascar (bar)
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.23 oz. (35 g.) / 2.46 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 199.4 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $7.99 for 1 bar 
Purchased from:, online order

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate and JKLM Theme Week, where I'm featuring chocolate items with flavors and origins that start with the letters J, K, L and/or M; and Day #2 of Chocolate and Madagascar Theme Week.

Today's Mangaro Noir 65% Madagascar (bar) was from Michel Cluizel (Damville, France). This chocolate was made using cacao from a single farm (Mangaro Plantation) located in northwest Madagascar, in the lush Sambirano River valley--a region known for its high-quality cacao (which is sometimes referred to as "green gold").

This chocolate had a complex and appealing aroma, especially for a 65% (sub-70%) cacao bar. Aroma notes included: dark chocolate, light honey, fruit and faint/fleeting green (tea, very faint chicle/rubber, forest) and light earth and roasted notes. 

The chocolate had a smooth melt and texture with little to no astringency.

Flavor notes included earthy dark chocolate, faint, fleeting (balanced) umami/savory fermented, and faint fruit (ripe citrus, tart sweet berry) and warm spice. There was a friendly amount of well-managed earthiness; that is, there were no jarring "dirt" or "loamy" spikes. 

A very subtle hint of authentic, slightly earthy vanilla pod rounded out this bouquet of flavors and added a bit of warmth and charm.

The finish was relatively short and clean, with only a trace of smooth, sweet chocolate remaining by the very end. 

Ingredients: "Fine cocoa from the Mangaro Plantation (in Madagascar), sugar, cocoa butter, Bourbon vanilla pod."

Trader Joe's - Organic 92% Dark Chocolate Single Origin Organic bar from Madasgascar - Mar. 12, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

Trader Joe's
Organic 92% Dark Chocolate Single Origin bar from Madagascar
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.32 oz. (37.5 g.) / 2.64 oz. (75 g.) in total bar
Calories: 240 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $N/A - gift for 1 bar
Purchased from: N/A gift from family member (Thank you Dave!)

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and JKLM Theme Week, where chocolate items with flavor inclusions and origins beginning with the letters J, K, L and/or M are being featured. Today also marked the first day of Chocolate and Madagascar Theme Week.

Today's Organic 92% Single Origin Madagascar Dark Chocolate (bar) was from Trader Joe's (Monrovia, CA). This 92% cacao chocolate was made, from bean-to-bar, in Madagascar. Heirloom cacao beans used to make this bar "in country" were grown in remote tropical forests, and "directly sourced from farmer-run, organic cooperatives."

The resulting chocolate was packed with very deep, dark, complex aroma and flavor, and was a great example of a balanced, naturally savory (umami) bar, with a minimum of sugar. 

The aroma had complex, very dark chocolate, and fleeting savory/umami notes (baked bread, brownie, Boston brown bread (with molasses and raisins), baked potato/roasted root vegetables) and very faint leather and clay/earth. 

In the heart of the tasting curve there was a relatively high degree of fruit acidity: bright, tart, bittersweet citrus fruit notes. Think orange juice, orange marmalade, and/or dark, aged and mellowed balsamic vinegar infused with tangerine, plum and berries, or charcoal roasted holiday citrus fruitcake. (Madagascar cacao is known for its citrus and red berry notes.)

This was a hearty meal of a bar. Toward the end, the robust dark flavor(s) converged into a relatively long finish, reminiscent of an ultra-dark, lightly salted, complex, fudge brownie with caramel. (Note: There was no salt, and very little sugar, in this chocolate.)

I liked this bar, especially when it had been unwrapped and left to breathe for just a few minutes). Left out too long, it may lose some of the more complex and delicate flavors. And you'll be left with roasted and acid notes that are quite bold, but without some of the finer flavors that make it more balanced and approachable for a 90%+ cacao chocolate.

I plan to add it to future tasting flights to allow people to experience its unique attributes. Thank you to the farmers and processors for growing this cacao and making skillful fermentation, roasting and conching/grinding choices that, together, resulted in such an interesting bar. And thank you to Trader Joe's for sourcing some great, high-quality chocolates over time.

Ingredients: Organic cocoa beans, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, organic sunflower lecithin (emulsifier).

Elmhurst - Cacao Oat Latte + Mocha, Maca, Mushroom Latte - Mar. 11, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

Elmhurst Milked, LLC
Oat Latte with Cacao
Weight: 3 fl. oz. (88.7 g.) / 12 fl. oz. (355 mL) in total bottle
Calories: 52.5 calories in 1/4 bottle 
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information 

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and JKLM Theme Week, featuring chocolate items with flavors and/or origins that begin with the letters J, K, L and/or M.

Today's Oat Latte (with) Cacao was from Elmhurst Milked, LLC (Elma, NY). The company offers plant-based milks with no added "fillers, gums or additives."
Today's Oat Latte possessed a rich mocha aroma--smooth but robust (flash brew Arabica) coffee and dark chocolate syrup notes with rich texture and flavor. (It was also not as sweet as the aroma seemed to indicate, which was to my liking.) This brew had a lush, oat-milk enabled liquid velvet mouthfeel. And there were no added gums or emulsifiers in this vegan, dairy-free drink. (thank you!).

Maca, Mocha, Lucuma, Mushroom Latte 
Just for fun, I also mixed a little bit of this beverage with an Essential Living Foods Maca, Lacuma and Mushroom powdered mix. The dry blend had faint caramel and light vanilla angel food cake notes that brightened up and complemented the darker coffee and cacao in today's Cacao Oat Latte beverage. A few too many flavors; but it was fun to try.

Ingredients: oatmilk (water, oats), flash-brew coffee (water, Arabica coffee), hemp cream (water, hemp seeds), cane sugar, cacao powder, natural flavors.

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