Monday, March 14, 2022

Madhu Chocolate - Vanilla Fennel 76% Cacao (bar) - Mar. 13, 2022

Chocolate of the Day

Madhu Chocolate
Vanilla Fennel 76% Cacao (bar)
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.3 oz. (37 g.) / 2.6 oz. (74 g.) in total bar
Calories: 169 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.29 (estimate) for 1 bar (Paid $65.00 for a 7-bar order)
Purchased from: Good Food Awards Marketplace, online order

Welcome to Day #8 of India Theme Week, and Day #1 of Chocolate and Colombia Theme Week.

Today's Vanilla Fennel 76% Cacao Chocolate (bar) was from Madhu Chocolate (Austin, TX). The flavors in this small batch, bean-to-bar dark chocolate were India-inspired. And the cacao was sourced by the owners (Elliott and Harshit) from the Tumaco region of Colombia. (The company also sources cacao from India.)

Aroma notes for this bar included: dark chocolate, vanilla and licorice spice.

The well-tempered bar broke with a snap, and the texture and melt were pleasing and smooth.

Flavor notes included undulating waves of sweet vanilla and licorice that tapered down to expose a smooth dark chocolate stretch, followed by a clean finish. 

The dark chocolate was bold and fruity enough to be interesting and to stand up and sing with the flavor additions. (It was not obscured by sugar and spices.) However, there was enough harmonizing going on that it was difficult to pick out which notes belonged to the underlying cacao.

There were some fainter, more delicate green and floral notes in the background. It was difficult to know if these flavors were part of the Colombian cacao or the Madagascar vanilla, or both.

The maker's choice of 76% cacao for the dark chocolate base seemed just right to me. Anything less than 70% would have seemed too sweet I think, given the natural sweetness of the vanilla and fennel.* And this choice allowed the chocolate to really come through.

This flavorful, complex blend of flavors helped wake me up this morning. Ready to start the day now! 

Ingredients: Dark chocolate (cacao, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter), organic fennel seed, organic Madagascar vanilla

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

*Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) a much loved plant in other cultures, is considered an invasive weed where I live in California. It loves the Mediterranean climate here. But it's invasive with benefits...Every part of this naturally sweet, licorice-flavored plant is edible: seeds, pollen, fronds (feathery "leaves"), stems and roots (bulb). Candy-coated fennel seeds are used as a digestive or as a flavor addition to cookies/sweets as well as savory dishes. Birds, ladybugs and swallowtail butterflies love it too. Unlike other aggressively spreading plants, like ivy or bamboo, I can also enjoy this plant in a variety of foods, beverages...and chocolate.


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