Saturday, January 20, 2024

Puna Chocolate Company - Horchata 50% Rich Milk Chocolate Bar - Jan. 20, 2024

Chocolate of the Day

Puna Chocolate Company
Horchata 50% Rich Milk Chocolate Bar 
Good + - Good ++  
Weight: .53 oz. (15 g.) / 1.06 oz. (30 g.) total bar
Calories: 80 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $5.95 for 1 bar + shipping
Purchased from Puna Chocolate, online order

Aloha, and welcome to Day #20 of Chocolate and Hawaii Theme Week(s). 

Today's Horchata 50% Rich Milk Chocolate Bar was from Puna Chocolate Company (Kailua-Kona, HI). The family-owned company uses Hawaiian chocolate and coffee to craft their bars and beverages.

The packaging of this bar was adorned with a Hawaiian-Latin fusion style tiki head (statue) wearing a dark, embroidered, sombrero, tilted at a rakish angle--a doff of the hat to horchata's interesting heritage.*

Aroma notes included: sweet chocolate, sweet warm spices (cinnamon, vanilla), and sweet rice cereal.

Texture: crunchy crisp rice added texture to the smooth, rich creamy milk chocolate.

Flavor notes included: sweet (and as promised rich) milk chocolate, enhanced with sweet, warm spices (vanilla, cinnamon).

I'm a dark chocolate fan; and this was too sweet for me. Other Puna Chocolate bars I've sampled this week have had really delightful chocolate brownie notes. (I could not taste the cacao in this bar.) However, this 50% bar will likely appeal to those who enjoy sweeter chocolates. 

Ingredients: Whole Hawaiian Cacao Beans, Milk, Cane Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Rice, Ceylon Cinnamon, Vanilla 

Allergen-related information: Contains Milk. "Manufactured in a Facility That Also Processes Peanuts, Tree Nuts" 

*Horchata is a popular, rice-based, spiced (vanilla, cinnamon) sweet beverage, typically made with soaked white rice and water (rice "milk")--found in Mexican restaurants or Hispanic markets here in California where I live. 

But, horchata's history and evolution go far beyond this. 

Wild rice plants were domesticated independently in Asia (China) and Africa (e.g. Oryza glaberrima). The first inhabitants of the Americas also cultivated wild rice.

Horchata's European origins likely trace back to North Africa with a "nut" (e.g. chufa) or rice-milk based beverage more than 1,000 years ago. 

The Moors brought it to Spain. The Spanish later brought Horchata to Mexico and Latin America. And while Spanish galleon ships from Mexico passed near Hawaii on their way to/from the Philippines in as early as the 1500s, Horchata appeared on Hawaiian menus much later (likely via Mexico, the Philippines and California.

No surprise, there are Asian versions of horchata and possible fore-runners to horchata as well. Similar rice-based beverages have been enjoyed in Asia (hing-jin-te in Taiwan, khao mak-style drinks in Thailand, and xingrencha and laozao in China). 

And, bringing things full circle, there are horchata boba milk tea flavor(s) (sometimes with ube root or almond milk) now popular in SE Asia and California.

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