Friday, March 18, 2022

Madhu Chocolate - Masala Peanut 55% Cacao (bar) - Mar. 17, 2022

Chocolate of the Day

Madhu Chocolate 
Masala Peanut 55% Cacao (bar)
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.3 oz. (37 g.) / 2.6 oz. (74 g.) in total bar
Calories: 212.5 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.29 (approx.) for 1 bar (part of larger order $65 for 7 bars)
Purchased from: Good Food Awards Marketplace, online order

Welcome to Day #12 of Chocolate and India Theme Week, and Day #5 of Chocolate and Colombia Theme Week.

Today's Masala Peanut 55% Cacao (bar) was from Madhu Chocolate (Austin, TX). The company offers a variety of small-batch, bean-to-bar chocolates, with India-inspired flavors--made using cacao sourced from the Tumaco region of Colombia (and cacao from India). The masala chili spice in today's bar: Guntur Sannam Chillis, from Diaspora Co.

The aroma notes for this vibrant spice bar included: sweet savory spices (cumin), sweet chocolate and nut(s).

A generous helping of peanuts and chili spices created textural range (softly crunchy nuts in a smooth dark sea) and flavor depth.

This Masala Peanut bar was a lively fusion of Old World (particularly Asia) and New World (particularly Central America) flavors--and exemplified long inter-twined food cultures.*

The chili, salt and peanut flavors in this rich, layered, spicy chocolate made me feel like I was enjoying an Indian-version of a Mexican mole** sauce. The two makers at Madhu Chocolate captured the essence of mole with a doff of hats to India-inspired flavors.

Dark rich mole sauce--often served over chicken, rice and enchiladas--contains chilies and a variety of warm spices (e.g. cinnamon, anise, black pepper, cumin, salt) as well as ground chocolate/cacao and sometimes nuts/peanuts and sesame seeds.

The cumin and chili heat levels in this dark milk bar stopped short of a hot curry dish or three-alarm chili, but the spices warmed the palette and politely cleared the sinuses. (Warning: this savory chocolate triggered the salty-sweet snack response, and I found myself wanting to go back to enjoy more and more. A judicious amount of milk (powder) may have also made this chocolate more addictive.)

Ingredients: Cacao solids, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, whole milk powder, peanuts, chili powder, cumin, salt, sesame oil

Allergen-related information: "Vegan. Gluten-free." "Contains peanuts (and milk). Prepared in a facility that also processes nuts and dairy."

*Ingredients like cacao, peanuts and many chilies originated in the Americas, but as trade routes expanded were spread far and wide. 

Peanuts were one of the first "New World" foods to be adopted across the globe in the 1500s. Spicy peanut dishes and snacks have long been popular in China, India, Africa (especially Nigeria), and can be found in many other countries.

Meanwhile, spices like cumin, black pepper and cinnamon traveled across Asia and the middle east, and eventually arrived in the Americas, often via European traders, conquistadors and settlers. (In some cases, native spices (like allspice) were replaced by imported cinnamon.)

Many modern versions of Mexican mole (and drinking chocolate(s)) are blends of indigenous and "Old World" and "New World" spices and ingredients.

**Both India and Mexico have long spice traditions. "Masala" refers to spice blends (e.g. garam masala) where spices have been dry-roasted and ground together in India (or fried and blended back into dry or wet spice blends). 

"Mole" has a similar meaning. Spices and ingredients are ground together (often with a stone mortar and pestle) to make a sauce or blend. The results of both: multi-layered, spicy flavors and deliciousness.


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