Chocolate of the Day
San Jose Del Tambo, Ecuador 70% Dark Chocolate + Cocoa Nibs (bar)
Weight: 1.5 oz. (42.5 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g.) in total bar
Calories: 240 calories (per label) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $8.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Askinosie.com, online order
Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Ecuador Theme Week.
Today's San Jose Del Tambo, Ecuador 70% Dark Chocolate + Cocoa Nibs (bar) was from Askinosie Chocolate (Springfield, MO).
Askinosie founder and CEO, Shawn Askinosie, continues to make great chocolate. Faces of cacao farmers are displayed on the company's brown paper outer wrappers. A simple, effective way to show understanding and respect for cacao origins.
I've never had an Askinosie bar I didn't like; and I've been featuring their chocolates since 2007 here on Chocolate Banquet.
Fortunately for us, after spending 20 years as a criminal defense attorney, Mr. Askinosie turned to chocolate making.
The aroma of today's bar evoked: concentrated, sweet fermented, dried fruit (fig, date), light spice, sweet green shading into rich dark chocolate (fudge brownie, drinking chocolate/hot chocolate) notes.
The flavor notes included a sweet cola nut/drink, faint brown sugar, rich, concentrated dark chocolate (brownie, roasted cacao nibs), light woody nut (hazelnut, pecan), and a beautiful, fleeting floral note from this cacao/nibs.
Speaking of nibs...The back of this bar was jam-packed with high-quality, crunchy cacao nibs. Only a few precious crunchy cacao seed (bean) pieces rattled onto the dinner plate I'd put underneath to catch any strays. Most of the nibs were well anchored.
The complex cacao flavors these nibs contributed was wonderful; there were no off flavors or funky bits.* And, best of all, they added extra cacao flavor depth without any sugar, giving the chocolate a "darker" flavor/feel than most 70% cacao chocolate bars.
The cacao used to make this bar was grown in the San Jose Del Tambo region, in Bolivar province in the highlands of central Ecuador. (Ecuador is divided into 24 provinces.)
Ingredients: "Del Tambo Ecuador cocoa beans (Arriba Nacional), Organic cane sugar, roasted cocoa nibs, cocoa butter (made in our factory with Del Tambo beans)."
Allergen-related information: "Processed in a facility that also processes milk, peanuts, tree nuts, and wheat."
*The overall quality of cacao nibs has improved over the last few decades. A decade ago, it was not unusual to find a few nibs that were either rock hard, stale, over- or under-roasted, or a bit funky or moldy in some craft chocolate offerings. Better bean/nib sorting and quality control, higher expectations, greater experience, and availability of good bean sources seem to have solved most of these issues.