Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Beyond Good - Uganda Single Origin Chocolate Toasted Hazelnut 73% Cocoa (bar) - July 26, 2022

Chocolate of the Day

Beyond Good  
Uganda Single Origin Chocolate Toasted Hazelnut 73% Cocoa (bar)
Good +++ 
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) / 2.64 oz. (75 g.) in total bar
Calories: 160 calories in 1/3 bar
Cost: $3.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: New Leaf Community Markets, Half Moon Bay, CA

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Uganda Theme Week.

Today's Beyond Good Uganda Single Origin Chocolate Toasted Hazelnut 73% Cocoa (bar) was produced in Italy and distributed by Madecasse LLC (Brooklyn, NY). It was the third of three different Beyond Good Uganda cacao bars featured this week. And it may have been my favorite.

All three bars were made with "Beyond Good direct trade certified cocoa." The company has a long history of working directly with cocoa farmers in Madagascar (where they have a factory that employs local people); and they've been ramping up their commitment in Uganda, with possible plans for a second small factory there as well.*

Toasted Hazelnut 73% Cocoa (bar)
This fragrant bar had aroma notes that included bold, smooth dark chocolate with balanced subtle earth notes and ground hazelnut (gianduja). 

Likely inspired by the great, classic Italian/European marriage of hazelnuts + chocolate (gianduia/gianduja confections, hazelnut chocolate spreads), today's chocolate and hazelnut blend resulted in a bar that was somehow greater than its individual ingredients. 

The hazelnuts benefited from the single origin Uganda cacao chocolate (that was more flavorful than the average, smooth Italian dark chocolate) and the high quality hazelnut pieces added a mellow, well-rounded nutty flavor to the chocolate. Sparkles of sea salt and lovely light, authentic vanilla added the perfect finishing touches.

This bar hit a sweet spot for me. It was a beautifully orchestrated blend of high-quality, classic flavors. It wasn't too sweet (thank you!) so I could really enjoy the complex, layered chocolatey and nutty flavor and textures: creamy (chocolate and hazelnut paste) and crunchy (hazelnut bits and salt crystals). 

Maker's tasting notes/description: "Rich and chocolatey with crunchy hazelnuts"

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, cane sugar, hazelnut nibs, cocoa butter, hazelnut paste, sea salt, vanilla extract.

Allergen-related information: (Contained tree nuts - hazelnuts.) "May contain traces of milk (and) tree nuts." ("gluten free, soy free, vegan")

*Producing the chocolate we enjoy involves many steps and typically spans a long, geographically-distributed supply chain. 

Chocolate made entirely (from bean-to-bar) in the same country where the cacao is grown is still rare; but being able to perform more chocolate manufacturing steps (or adding more value) "in-country" (e.g., fermentation, drying, roasting, making cocoa nibs, manufacturing) helps to create more income for those who live in the country of cacao origin. 

Historically, cocoa farmers and field workers have received a very small percent of the amount charged to the end customer for a high-end chocolate bar. It's always great to see chocolate makers working directly with farmers to help them earn more for high-quality cacao. After all, when today's cocoa farmers retire, their children may not want to follow in their footsteps if they're barely able to make a living. 


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