Chocolate of the Day
Belgian Dark Chocolate 72% Cacao "Napolitains"
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 16 oz. (1 pound) (455 g.) in total package of 75 small bars
Calories: 140 calories in 5 small bar(s)
Cost: $9.99 (estimate) for 1 package of 75 bars
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA
Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Rice Theme Week, featuring a fine chocolate that was tasted by itself--and also paired with a rice dessert from Puerto Rico.
Today's individually-wrapped, Belgian Dark Chocolate 72% Cacao "Napolitains" were from Bouchard NV (Ghent, Belgium).
The family-owned Belgian chocolatier has been making chocolate since 1931, and offers at least three different chocolate Napolitains that I'm aware of (today's 72% dark chocolate, a salt caramel variant, and a version with probiotics).
The Napolitains (small, thin bars) have tiny ridges on one side--designed to make the pure chocolate flavors more accessible (when the chocolate is placed, ridged side down, on your tongue).
These dark chocolates were well-suited for multiple purposes including: 1.) a convenient, portable tasting chocolate or snack--easily shareable with a group of people; 2.) an after-dinner chocolate; or 3.) an accompaniment to a bowl of ice cream or dessert. They served as all of the above today.
First things first - tasting this chocolate a la carte
Aroma and flavor notes for this four-ingredient chocolate included: bittersweet chocolate with faint, balanced woodsy earth and light green (tree syrup, maple sugar), and very faint woody nut notes.
If you sample these snack-sized bars as suggested, and you let them dissolve slowly on your tongue, your patience will be rewarded with a luxe melt, lots of true chocolate (and more subtle) adjunct flavors--all layered within a relatively bold but balanced, dense dark chocolate. (I'm guessing this chocolate was made with Forastero or Amelonado variety cacao beans.)
The Napolitains really were the perfect size and shape for chocolate tasting. They rested perfectly on my tongue during the tasting experience.
Pairing with Arroz con Dulce dessert
For the chocolate + rice pairing...I made a version of Arroz con Dulce--following a Puerto Rican Coconut Rice Pudding recipe* that called for a generous helping of warm spices (ginger root, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg), rice, coconut milk, brown sugar, raisins and salt.
I stirred in two Bouchard Belgian dark chocolates into a (warm) 1/2 batch version (3 servings) of the original recipe* (that would have made 6 servings) toward the end of the cooking process on the stove. (I also added 1/2 tsp. of almond flour, and 1/4 tsp. of molasses to this recipe early on.)
I topped the resulting cooked coconut rice (+ chocolate) pudding with rum raisin ice cream with two more small, individually wrapped bars of Bouchard Belgian Dark Chocolate on the side. Delicioso.
This rice pudding was very rich and much more flavorful (and interesting to me) than rice puddings (that can be lumpy, starchy and bland) found in the continental U.S. states (a group that does not include Hawaii--or Puerto Rico).
Notes: The high carbohydrate content of white rice (rice puddings) and the very rich coconut milk in this recipe, as well as the cream and sugar in the rum raisin ice cream, made me drowsy (unlike my normal energized feel after sampling a chocolate). I used jasmine rice for the rice pudding; and some sources have suggested that this rice helps promote sleep in the hours that follow consumption. (Maybe. Or the drowsiness was due to blood sugar fluctuations from a white rice-based pudding.)
Ingredients: Unsweetened chocolate, sugar, low fat cocoa, sunflower lecithin.
Allergen-related information: (No soy or gluten.) "Produced in a facility that uses milk and tree nuts."
*The recipe for Coconut Rice Pudding (Puerto Rico style) was from Salima's Kitchen website.