Saturday, May 7, 2022

TCHO - Roasted Cacao Nibs from Ghana and Ecuador - May 7, 2022

Chocolate of the Day

Roasted Cacao Nibs - Ghana
Good ++
Weight: .25 oz. (7 g.) / 4 oz. (114 g.) total package
Calories: 37 calories (estimate) in 1/4 oz. (7 g.) serving
Cost: $ N/A sample from TCHO
Purchased from: N/A - samples from TCHO

Roasted Cacao Nibs - Ecuador
Good ++
Weight: .25 oz. (7 g.) / 4 oz. (114 g.) in total package
Calories: 37 calories (estimate) in 1/4 oz. (7 g.) serving
Cost: $ N/A sample from TCHO
Purchased from: N/A - samples from TCHO

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate, Nuts and Nibs Theme Week, featuring items that either either contain nuts or cacao nibs--or both. 

Today's two packages of roasted cacao nibs--one from Ghana cacao and the other from Ecuador cacao--were from TCHO Ventures, Inc. (Berkeley, CA), and provided a great opportunity for a side-by-side tasting.

If you want to experience the essence of cacao, sample some cacao nibs--pieces of relatively cacao seeds (known more commonly as cacao beans) that look like large almonds or very large brown beans. These seeds/beans are packed together and surrounded by a white pulpy fruit, inside colorful cacao pods.

Cacao nibs may taste slightly bitter, chocolate-y, and a bit nut-like. Other aroma and flavor notes in roasted cacao beans and nibs vary widely, and are influenced by growing conditions, origin, variety, roast profile and other factors.

Below are my notes on today's cacao nibs.

Roasted Cacao Nibs - Ghana 
Aroma: deep chocolatey, fudge-y aroma, very slight implied, balanced bitterness, very faint caramel, roasted, and vanilla (brownie/baked goods) notes.

Flavor: true chocolate, malted cereal (almost oaty), very faint dried ("brown") fruit (date) and caramel notes.

(Note: I used raw, unsalted almonds, and water, as a palette cleanser in between the two cacao nib types.)

Roasted Cacao Nibs - Ecuador
Aroma: Relatively subtle/complex chocolate (cocoa, brownie); subtle green; very faint, diffuse, tart-acidic fruit; and ultra-faint floral notes.

Flavor: Complex and subtle flavors that included: chocolate/hot cocoa, very faint, diffuse tart-acidic, fermented fruit (flavors in a bowl of chopped red apple + nuts + yogurt); very faint nut/seed; and very faint roasted, almost malted, coffee/black tea latte. 

Very late in the finish, after eating a mix of nibs: a delicate green-flavored marshmallow with a vanilla-like note. This final, albeit faint. flourish may have come from a mix of beans, but it was fun.

Brownies, Beer, Beverages and More

What do you do with cacao nibs? More than you think.

TCHO has included notes to home brewers about the use of these cacao nibs in imparting gentle flavors to other beverages. (Some bartenders and chefs soak cacao nibs in liqueurs or whiskey, and the include decanted liquid in cocktails and the crunchy nibs in baked goods and desserts.)

Cacao nibs are incredibly versatile. They add rich chocolate flavor to smoothies, oatmeal, energy bars, trail and nut mixes; they are chocolate nut-like flavor treasures in brownies, and can be used in spice blends and rubs for marinades. Nibs can even be used in salads. The list of culinary possibilities is long.

Ingredients: Roasted Cacao Nibs (from Ghana and Ecuador)

Allergen-related information: (None listed on sample packages.)

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