When Martin, a food blogger from Argentina, read my earlier entry on Scharffenberger and other dark chocolates, he left a comment about some excellent chocolate being made at an award winning, century old factory in Argentina (with beans from all the greatest sources in South America). He was heading to Cebu on business a few weeks later and graciously offered to send me some samples of the chocolate. A few weeks later, he emailed from Cebu and his hotel was just a few hundred meters from our family’s office in the city! Regrettably, I was not in Cebu that week but we still managed to “exchange” presents. He sending these two utterly superb bars of dark chocolate, and me sending him some dried mangoes and pinasugbo or consilva…
These “single origin” bars of chocolate are made from cacao beans from a specific region. The green bar in the photo, for example, is from Ecuador and the write-up on the back of the bar is so well done that I will quote it instead of writing a description in my own words:
“The largest percentage (about 95%) of the cocoa produced in the world is a variety known as Forastero, which means “outsider” in Spanish. It is so named because it grew “outside” the traditional cocoa regions….Several sub-varieties of Forastero exist, each with its own distinct characteristics, highly dependent on its “terroir,” or place of origin. A good example is the province of Esmeraldas, north of Ecuador, where a very special cocoa is obtained. Its remarkable absence of acidity, and its unique combination of sweet soft flavours clearly differentiate this cocoa from the deeper floral “arriba aroma” frequently found in other Ecuadorian cocoas.” And the taste? Superb. I am savoring a small piece right now as I type this. It is intensely flavorful and aromatic, and it is powerful yet smooth, a beautifully prepared bar of chocolate. Utterly delicious, and would certainly hold up to any of the fancier brands I mentioned in the earlier posts on dark chocolate…
The blue bar, made from Venezuelan cacao beans, however, was the family favorite. I can’t describe how one bar of chocolate would be noticeably better than the other, since they were both extremely good, but the blue bar got a unanimous vote from Mrs. MM, The Kid and myself. Let me quote from the back of the blue box:
“Trinitario cocoa is the hybrid of Criollo and Forastero varieties. It takes its name from the island of Trinidad, where it first appeared in the 18th century, after the native Criollo plants were devastated by severe storms. To replace them, the more durable Forastero variety was introduced. In time, the Roastero plants began hybridizing with the residual Criollos, giving birth to the Trinitario variety.This new variety maintains the main characteristics of its ancestors – the strength of the Forastero and the deep and delicate flavors of Criollo…. Although it is considered a Trinitario, it is technically a mixture of the native Criollo and samples of Trinatario cocoas introduced during the last century. This makes our Carenero 70% a very special “cru”, its strong Criollo ancestry filtering through, resulting in a complex chocolate with lasting flavors.” And the taste? One of the most intensely flavored bars of 70% I have ever tasted in my life. And it was unbelievably smooth and creamy, almost as though it had more milk but it apparently did not. Definitely one of the top 3 plain bars of dark chocolate I have ever tried.
Muchas gracias Martin for hand carrying these wonderful chocolates halfway around the world! I am honored to have tasted them…
Green Box: Salgado Crande Cru, Esmeraldas from Ecuador, Forastero Variety
Blue Box: Salgado Grande Cru, Carenero Superior from Venezuela, Trinitaria Variety