Monday, August 22, 2022

Manoa Chocolate - Manako Mango 70% Dark Chocolate (bar) - Aug. 22, 2022

Chocolate of the Day

Manoa Chocolate
Manako - Mango 70% Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.05 oz. (30 g.) / 2.1 oz. (60 g.) in total bar 
Calories: 180 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $7.99 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Oceana Market, Pacifica, CA 

Aloha and welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Hawaii Theme Week.

Today's Manako (Mango) bar was part of a "Flavors of Hawaii" collection from Manoa Chocolate* (Kailua, O'ahu, HI). Other flavors in this set included Haupia (Hawaiian coconut pudding-inspired vegan coconut milk chocolate), Liliko'i (Passion Fruit), Mai'a (Banana), Pa'akai (Sea Salt) and Kope (Coffee) and Nibs.) 

But, let's focus on mangos for a minute. Many delicious fruits grow well in Hawaii's rich volcanic soils, including 100s of mango varieties/cultivars. 

Way too much mango history...

Mangos originated in India and SE Asia thousands of years ago. The first mangos were brought to Hawaii centuries ago--perhaps by Chinese immigrants in the 1700s, or the British** who were crossing paths with (and expanding) Spanish Galleon trade routes that extended from Acapulco (Mexico) to Manila (Philippines) to ports like Macao in southeastern China. I'm not sure, but having eaten fresh mango in Hawaii, I'm just glad they're there.

Fabulous fruit freeze drying...and more history

Freeze drying has allowed us to infuse chocolate with fruit and other food flavors without vats of melted chocolate "seizing up" (which it does when exposed to watery substances). 

The Incas and a few other cultures were using a primitive form of freeze drying in the 1400s. Even though the Inca enjoyed cacao (sometimes in beverages with fruit, flowers and/or spices), I don't know if any chocolate/cacao might have been involved in these early efforts. 

Fast forwarding to the 1950s, freeze drying of foods (and other substances) became popular in the U.S. More affordable, professional equipment to freeze-dry fruit and foods became more widely available in the decades that followed. 

I'm guessing that freeze-dried and ground mango powder was used in today's bar. This preservation method has only gotten better and more accessible in the past few decades, and using the resulting finely ground fruit powder has been a great way to incorporate authentic, bright flavors into chocolate, with fresh fruit notes still largely intact.

Finally! We get back to today's delicious Mango Chocolate!

Aroma notes for this 70% dark chocolate bar included: authentic sweet, ripe fruit (mango), dark chocolate, fleeting, faint green (green tea) and very faint nutty and warm spice notes.

The flavors were skillfully integrated and flavor notes mirrored the aroma notes mentioned above. This refreshing, fruity dark chocolate was a well-executed blend of mildly-tart sweet mango fruit and rich dark chocolate.

There was a barely detectable granularity in this chocolate that I'm assuming may have been from ground mango powder. It was very subtle and not objectionable.

Manoa suggested beverage pairings: "Wine: German Riesling, Beer: IPA, Liquor: White Rum"

Ingredients: Cacao, organic cane sugar, cocoa butter, mango powder

Allergen-related information: "Made in a facility that processes milk powder and nuts."

*Manoa is a Hawaiian word. The English translation: thick, solid, vast, depth. This definition conjured up notions of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaiian lava beds, and great chocolate.

**One of the first documented accounts of the mango's arrival in Hawaii mentioned that Captain John Meek (1791 - 1875), an inter-island schooner captain who had come to Hawaii with his father in 1809 via Massachusetts, brought them to the Islands from Manila (Philippines) in 1824. (Meek is also is credited for introducing tortoises from Mexico and turkeys from Chile to Hawaii.)

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