Friday, July 7, 2023

Coracao - 81% Dark California Almonds & Sea Salt (bar) - July 7, 2023

Chocolate of the Day

81% Dark California Almonds & Sea Salt
Good ++
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (57 g.) in total bar
Calories: 200 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Z. Cioccolato, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Salt Theme Week.

Today's Organic 81% Dark California Almonds & Sea Salt (bar) was from Coracao Chocolate (Oakland, CA). The company has been making great-tasting chocolate bars and filled confections (less sweet, with high-quality, authentic flavors) since 2008.

Aroma notes for this bar included: dark chocolate, light floral citrus (subtle lemon), very faint tart green herb (oxalis), very faint graham cracker and coconut sugar, subtle vanilla spice cake, and barely detectable wood and nut.

This high cacao percentage (81%) dark chocolate was nuanced--more mild than wild. I noticed the absence of sugar (not a bad thing for me). What I'd call a soft landing after the first bite (often present with added cocoa butter). What was "missing" was the range of bold, bitter and acidic elements that often accompany ultra-dark chocolates. 

The use of Heritage variety cacao(s)* and coconut sugar as a sweetener (vs. cane sugar) helped to create this gentle, ebony-hued bar. The sea salt was also relatively subtle. (I was unable to detect the smoked salt flavor in the bites I had.)

Whole almonds pressed into the back of the bar gave this chocolate more textural oomph, layered almond and chocolate flavor(s) and moderated/mellowed what natural-tasting sweetness was present. The authentic light touch of vanilla bean also added a trace of background, floral warmth (that my brain frequently associates with baked goods and vanilla ice cream).

This well-executed, Organic and Vegan dark chocolate is perfect for those who enjoy the gentler flavors of Heritage cacao(s)--that offer subtle, attractive complexity. 

Too much sugar and salt would have overwhelmed these wonderful traits. Thank you to the maker for dialing back both sweet and savory levels to achieve a harmonious balance of flavors. For those that prefer the buzz of a bolder, harsher bar, there are plenty of other options out there.

Ingredients: Organic Heirloom Cacao, Organic Almonds, Organic Coconut Sugar, Organic Cacao Butter, Smoked Sea Salt, Himalayan Salt & Organic Vanilla Bean

Allergen-related information: "Made in a facility that processes almonds, cashews & other tree nuts"

*The cacao source listed on this packaging made reference to Eco Cacao Collaborative, Esmeraldas, Ecuador. (Esmeraldas is a coastal city in NW Ecuador.) Many of the region's residents make a living from agricultural products, including: banana, tobacco, coffee and cacao.

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