Thursday, February 1, 2024

Meridian Cacao - Peru White Piura Cacao Beans - Jan. 31, 2024

Chocolate of the Day

Meridian Cacao
Peru - White Piura Raw Cacao Beans 
Good +++
Weight: .5 oz. (14.1 g.) / 2.2 lbs. (1 KG) in total package
Calories: 78 calories (estimate) in .5 oz. serving*
Cost: $15.00 for 1 large package of cacao beans
Purchased from: Meridian Cacao, online order

Welcome to Day #7 of Cacao Nibs Theme Week, and Day #2 of Chocolate and Peru Theme Week.

Today's Peru White Piura Raw Cacao Beans were from Meridian Cacao (Portland, OR). 

Meridian Cacao offers directly sourced, single origin cacao beans (from several countries), cacao nibs, cocoa butter, and other craft chocolate-making essentials. CEO, Gino Dalla Gasparina, was born and raised in Portland, and founded the company when he was just 24 years old. 

White Piura beans are rare (making up only a tiny percent of overall cacao harvests worldwide). They are often cited for red fruit flavors, medium acidity--and being low in astringency and bitterness. You might read mentions of panela, malt and wine, but these notes may also be influenced by fermentation choices and other local conditions.

Also, today I am tasting raw cacao beans (seeds), with the thin skins still on the dried seeds. Unroasted cacao tastes different than roasted cacao. I tried a few beans with and without the thin papery skin (that can be removed by hand with a little pressure and rolling between fingers). The beans had a more uniform, deep dark color with the skins off and it was easy to break them into cacao nib-sized pieces.

Aroma notes for these raw cacao beans were delicious, and included: fresh cacao; red apple; smooth, fine red wine; and caramelized grapes with a splash of red wine vinegar.

Texture: satisfying; nut-like crunch; even texture

Flavor notes included: rich, smooth cacao flavor with light. balanced red fruit and red wine/red grape. This was a cacao with a light nut/seed character, very low bitterness and no detectable astringency. Rubbing the skins off the bean before eating it did remove a tiny bit of flavor, but not much.

I really enjoyed these high-quality, minimally processed cacao beans, with original flavors intact, just right out of the bag. I can't help but think these would make a great chocolate bar, confection or dessert.

Ingredients: Raw cacao beans

Allergen-related information: (none listed on package)

*Estimates of calorie counts (kcals) for raw cacao beans range from 130-180. I am using 155 calories per ounce here to estimate calories. The fat content (cacao butter) will vary with different growing locations (climate, latitude) as well as cacao variety and other variables. E.g., cacao grown at the cooler, outer edges of the cacao growing zone (more than 20 degrees from the Equator) may contain more fat.

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