Friday, January 6, 2023

Zotter - Belize Sail Shipped Cacao 72% dark chocolate (bar) - Jan. 6, 2023

Chocolate of the Day

Labooko Belize Sail Shipped Cacao 72% dark chocolate (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.23 oz. (35 g.) / 2.47 oz. (70 g.) in total package of 2 bars
Calories: 200 calories in 1 bar (of 2)
Cost: $8.49 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Zotter, online order 

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Belize Theme Week.

Today's Zotter Labooko Belize 72% dark chocolate (bar) was made in Austria using cacao sailed across the Atlantic, and distributed by Zotter Chocolates US LLC (Fort Myers, FL).

Zotter offers several single origin bars (Labooko line) as well as a wide variety of organic and fair trade, creatively layered, filled bars with flavor inclusions. (The wrapper design/artwork is powered by Andreas H. Gratze and has helped convey this family-owned company's unique and creative spirit.)

Aroma notes for this bar included: subtle dark chocolate (brownie, dark chocolate cookie), and very faint, fleeting cool green, warm sweet spice and barely there nut.

This well-tempered bar broke with a snap and had a surprisingly creamy melt and mouthfeel.

Flavor notes included: smooth dark chocolate with balanced, mixed fruit acidity, and a bit of ripe, sweet blackberries in the finish.

Like the other makers (and Belize bars featured this week), Zotter's 72% dark bar was made using cacao beans from the well-respected co-op and fermentery, Maya Mountain Cacao (MMC), in the Toledo District of southern Belize. The fact that cacao was sail-shipped to its European maker/destination is a nice environmental story. (It took two month to sail the cacao from Belize to Hamburg.) 

This bar was a bit higher in cacao solids (72%) than the other Belize dark chocolates (70%). It was creamier in texture, but tasted slightly darker, and had subtler fruit complexity than the even more tart-sweet, fruit-forward others.* The enjoyable, fluxing fruit from this origin can't be denied.

Maker's description: "...This bar starts with a fruity bouquet along with a hint of olive and cinnamon, then transforms into something entirely different on the tongue: a pleasantly mild taste, caramelized nuts, sweet condensed milk, and a delicate floral note. The finish offers blackberries and a beautiful aftertaste of grape hulls and malt."

Ingredients: Organic, fair traded cocoa mass; organic, fair traded cane sugar; organic, fair traded cocoa butter. 

Allergen-related information: "Manufactured on equipment that processes tree nuts, milk, soy, peanuts and sesame."

*All these Belize chocolates have been above average; and tasting them in the same week makes it easier to experience the many choices, and sometimes trade-offs, that are made when working with a given cacao origin. 

In today's case, a creamier mouthfeel may have been, in part, the result of the 21-hour conching time and added cocoa butter. While still having some Belize/MMC fruit magic, the milder (less intense) fruit flavor (compared with others) could have been a result of roasting and processing times and/or the higher cacao percentage.

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