Thursday, April 15, 2021

Puchero - 50% Mexico Pinon Soconusco (bar) - Apr. 15, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

50% Mexico Pinon Soconusco (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.235 oz. (35 g.) / 2.47 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 223.3 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $11.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order

Bienvenidos a (welcome to) Day #9 of Chocolate, Trees and Bees Theme Week. Today's focus is back on the wondrous things that trees give us, including cacao trees (cacao) and pine trees (pine nuts).

Today's 50% Mexico Pinon Soconusco (bar) was crafted from bean-to-bar by the makers at Puchero (Valladolid, Spain). Puchero is focused on producing high-quality, specialty coffee and craft chocolate.

This chocolate had a faint aroma. Pine nuts (aka pinones, pignoli) have a subtle, delicate scent and buttery texture and flavor. The ground pine nuts in this bar softly muted the scents of the cacao. 

The cacao used to create this chocolate ("Criollo, Trinitario") were grown in Soconusco, Mexico. The cacao chosen (more delicate and nuanced than some bolder Forastero cacaos) was also a good match with the pine nuts. The cacao did not eclipse the more subtle nut/seed flavors.

The texture was divine. Today's ground nut/seed fusion (like gianduja/gianduia, a finely ground hazelnut + chocolate blend) had an incredibly smooth and rich melt and mouthfeel. 

I imagined spreading this creamy 67% cacao chocolate on a warm croissant or freshly baked roll with a butter knife. A very judicious pinch of salt added an addictive quality to the chocolate, which was effortlessly consumed in one sitting.

The pine nut bar had a clean taste and finish. (There was no odd semi-metallic flavor or "pine mouth" after eating this pine nut blend, that occasionally occurs with pine nuts from other sources.) 

Puchero chocolate makers--based in Valladolid (the largest city in Castilla y Leon ("land of medieval castles") historic region in northwest Spain)--selected premium pine nuts from the Pinon-sol co-operative in this area of Spain for this chocolate.

Ingredients: cacao, raw pine nut (25%), sugar, cocoa butter, salt.

Allergen-related information: May contain traces of nuts, milk and gluten

Chocolate Naive - Ambrosia - 67% Dark Chocolate with Bee Pollen, Honey (bar) - Apr. 14, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

Chocolate Naive
Ambrosia - 67% Dark Chocolate with Bee Pollen and Honey (bar)
Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (57 g.) in total bar
Calories: 165.5 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $12.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate, Trees and Bees Theme Week.

Today's Chocolate Naive Ambrosia 67% Dark Chocolate with Bee Pollen and Honey (bar) was produced by Mulate UAB (Vilnius, Lithuania).

This bar had a very interesting aroma with come hither, forest, mossy botanical, honey, beeswax, and light cocoa/milk chocolate notes. (There was no milk in this bar.) 

The melt and mouthfeel were creamy and luxurious.

The flavors were fairly uniform, and sweeter than the aroma; however, authentic and balanced honey notes floated to the forefront at least twice during the tasting experience. 

The finish was deceptively subtle. It conjured ghosts of peanut butter and honey sandwiches and honey and peach jam on buttered toast from childhoods past. Slightly fruity, slightly nutty along with creamed honey.

Chief chocolatier, Domantas Uzpalis, carefully selected this honey and bee pollen from a biodynamic apiary near the forest where bees connect their nectar. (Enclosed in the bar's package was a photo of local hives and beekeepers.) The results: a thick honey with a dark amber color and mossy earth, forest...and "floral acidity" flavors. (I would also add: a very faint green floral beeswax note).

Uzpalis noted that blending the bee pollen and honey with chocolate required a fairly technically sophisticated approach. I believe that. The different textures, flavors, and sweetness level(s) must have called for several test batches. Honey varies a great deal, and bee pollens can be even more variable. Thank you to the chocolate maker for sharing this culinary, bee-enabled, sense of place with us.

Ingredients: specialty cacao*, sugar*, cacao butter*, bee pollen (7%)*, wild forest honey (5%)*, and sunflower lecithin. (*wild or all natural farming)

Allergen related information: May contain traces of milk, barley or nuts.
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