Chocolate of the Day
TCHO Ventures, Inc.
Deep, Dark and Salty (bar) with Monterey Bay Seaweed, Big Sur Sea Salt
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.25 oz. (35 g.) / 2.5 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 180 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $ N/A - sample from TCHO
Purchased from: N/A - sample from TCHO (thank you Alana?)
Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and The Sea Theme Week.
Today's Deep, Dark and Salty Monterey Bay Seaweed + Big Sur Sea Salt was from TCHO Ventures, Inc. (Berkeley, CA).
This 74% cacao bar, made in Berkeley, was a collaboration between TCHO Chief Chocolate Officer, Brad Kintzer, and Monterey Bay Aquarium's Executive Chef, Matthew Beaudin.*
As advertised, this umami** bar had a "deep, dark" chocolate aroma. (Disclosure: I really enjoy trying well-crafted, savory chocolate blends. People who prefer sweeter, milder chocolates may not be as adventurous.)
Texture: The chocolate had a relatively thick, even melt at room temperature (67 degrees F./19.4 degrees C.) and a slightly crunchy texture (similar to very small pieces of crisped rice--I'm assuming from the seaweed).
Flavor: A relatively uniform, bold, base 74% cacao chocolate with densely dark and slightly earthy (clay) flavor with micro upticks in salt. There was also a faint fleeting brine-soaked and dried olive note. The salty flavors were balanced (detectable, but not too-heavy handed).
I enjoyed tasting this dark bar with sea-inspired flavors from the California (Pacific Ocean) coast.
TCHO tasting notes/description: "...dark chocolate with locally sourced sea lettuce from Monterey Bay Seaweeds and sea salt from Big Sur Salts."
Ingredients: Organic and fair trade cacao beans, organic cane sugar, organic and fair trade cocoa butter, dried seaweed, sea salt, soy lecithin, organic vanilla beans.
Allergen-related information: "May contain milk and tree nuts. Seaweed used in this product may contain shellfish from ocean water."
*"10% of sales (of this bar) benefit the Monterey Bay Aquarium"
**Umami, a Japanese word--sometimes called the fifth sense of taste (in addition to sweet, salty, bitter, sour)--refers to savory, glutamate-rich foods including: fish, bacon, meat broths, seaweeds, certain mushrooms, tomatoes, cheeses, olives and other fermented foods.
Bigger, bolder dark chocolates (made using Forastero, Amelonado and some Trinitario cacao varieties) can pair well with salt, smoked salt, salted nuts/nut butters and seed butters (sesame, tahini), bacon, savory seasonings/herbs, and even marine items (seaweeds, smoked/salted dried fish).
At the other end of the cacao spectrum would be the delicate fruity/floral heritage cacaos (e.g. Criollo), which I tend not to want to pair with salt/savory items, as I enjoy savoring and being able to detect these lighter, nuanced notes.