Monday, February 21, 2022

Qantu - Silk Road Dark chocolate and spices (bar) - Feb. 21, 2022

Chocolate of the Day

Qantu Cacao et Chocolat
Route de la Soie - 70% Chocolat noir et epices
(Silk Road - Dark chocolate and spices (bar))
Good ++
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) / 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 143 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $11.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order

Welcome to Day #13 of Chocolate and Peru and  Day #1 of Chocolate and Spices Theme Week.

Today's Silk Road 70% Dark Chocolate and spices (bar) was from Qantu Cacao et Chocolat Inc. (Montreal, QC, Canada). Qantu founders Elfi and Maxime create bean-to-bar chocolates, with an emphasis on direct trade, heirloom cacao(s) from Peru.*

This spice blend dark chocolate bar had a deliciously complex and upbeat aroma, that shifted from saffron, to gentle star anise, to fleeting floral (rose), to sweet cardamom, to gingerbread (ginger and clove), to very faint fennel over the course of a few minutes.

This well executed bar broke with a hard snap in the cool morning air. 

The spices led my brain to think I'd be biting into a sweet spice cookie or a sweeter, dark milk chocolate. However, the first bite of the 70% dark chocolate immediately grounded my taste buds, in the relatively bold, faintly earthy, cacao flavor. 

The shimmering constellation of spices and tiny pink rose petals--pressed into an ebony sky (on the back of the bar)--continued to impart flavor(s) and flickered into the finish, but the deep, dark chocolate dominated. (The pepper(s) in the spice blend added subtle depth, but they were barely-detectable accent flavors in a distant galaxy.)

The ("Amazonian jungle") cacao used to make this Silk Road chocolate seemed fairly intense (more Forastero-like with balanced bitterness, light earth and citrus notes). However, the buoyant perfume and complex alchemy of the spice blend with flower petals and pepper(s) could have, by contrast, made the 70% dark chocolate base seem/taste darker than it really was. It was hard to tell.

Either way, I really enjoyed the authentic, aromatic spice and rose blend. This magic carpet bar was transporting and satisfying. 

If you have some of this chocolate left over (doubtful), you might use it to make a tiny cup of drinking chocolate--gently heated and blended with 4-5 oz. (120 mL) of milk (half and half, or coconut milk, or hazelnut milk perhaps). A great Valentines pick-me-up or warm-up tonic for winter blahs this month (February.)

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, spices (Rose, ginger, cassia, cardamom, white pepper, fennel, star anise, long pepper, Sichuan pepper, saffron, clove)

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

*The duo met in Peru. Their company name, Qantu, also has Peruvian roots. Derived from a native Quechua term, this South American flower (the national flower of Peru and Bolivia) is also a symbol of unity and hospitality. 

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