Saturday, August 12, 2023

Hogarth Chocolate Makers - Kumara Milk Chocolate with Sweet Potato Flavour 46% Cacao (bar) - Aug. 12, 2023

Chocolate of the Day

Hogarth Chocolate Makers
Kumara Milk Chocolate with Sweet Potato Flavour 46% Cacao (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.23 oz. (35 g.) / 2.46 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 204 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $11.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order

Welcome to Day #9 of Chocolate and Surprise Theme Week--a week that includes several chocolates with unique ingredients and surprising blends.

Today's Kumara Milk Chocolate with Sweet Potato Flavour 46% Cacao (bar) was made from bean-to-bar by Hogarth Chocolate Company Ltd. (Nelson, New Zealand).

I was surprised to find a second sweet potato-related (Kumara) chocolate to feature today. This is only the 4th time (in almost 17 years and 6,000+ different chocolates) that I've found a blend of these two ingredients. 

Days ago, I featured a Batata (sweet potato) chocolate bar from Arcelia Gallardo (Mission Chocolate, Sao Paolo, Brazil). (Both the cacao and the Batata in Arcelia's chocolate were from South/Latin America.*) 

Today's chocolate included not one but three varieties* of Kumara, in the form of crisps (aka chips in the U.S.) from Proper Crisps (Nelson, New Zealand). 

Aroma notes included: light chocolate, clean mineral, and pleasant botanical green tea and sweet straw.

The texture and melt were smooth and creamy. (All Kumara crisps seemed to be thoroughly incorporated into the chocolate).

Flavor notes included: smooth, flavorful milk chocolate; light sweet potato; light caramel; and very faint botanical: oolong and green teas, sweet cereal, and soft/diffuse fruit.

This was a surprisingly light, and likable, chocolate, in part due to the choice of a criollo cacao variety. The maker (Karl Hogarth) notes that "...our Peruvian criollo cacao...highlights the caramelisation of the crisps, adding caramel and fruit notes..." 

Criollo (heritage) variety cacao(s) are subtle, nuanced and flavorful, and are known for soft stone fruit (think peaches and cream), light caramel, clean mineral, and very faint floral notes. Criollo cacao is lower in bitterness as well. Great choice for this Kumara crisp-flavored chocolate.

Ingredients: Cocoa solids 46% (Cocoa Beans*^, Cocoa Butter*^), Sugar*^, Proper Kumara Crisps, Skim Milk Powder (*Organic, ^ Fair Trade)

Allergen-related information: Contains dairy (milk powder). "Gluten Free, Soy Free"

*Batatas, Kumara and Sweet Potatoes...Many varieties and cultivars, many stories, and at least two different origin stories.

White and red potatoes are part of the nightshade family and developed in South America. Sweet potatoes (part of the morning glory, not the nightshade family), were also thought to originate in South America. Recent research has suggested the morning glory clan (including sweet potatoes) may have originated in Asia, based on 50-60 million year old plant fossils. (Stay tuned for more origin stories from the paleo-botanists.)

More recently, there has been considerable botanical moving and mixing (some by earth changes, some by humans).

We do know that Kumara has long been cultivated in the South Pacific. Some sources say the Kumara is slightly sweeter than our (American) sweet potato; but I can't be sure as I've never done a side-by-side tasting; and I think that would depend on variety/cultivar. (We grow mostly Beauregard variety of sweet potato in the U.S.)

Getting back to today's bar...Crisp maker, Proper Crisps, "make their crisps using seasonally selected (Kumara) varieties, mostly Red Kumara (Owairaka), Gold Kumara (Toka Toka) and Orange Kumara (Beauregard)."

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