Sunday, 17 May 2015

Chocolaterie A.Morin Dominican Republic

A traditional, family run, craft chocolate business in Donzère since 1884. A.Morin direct source their cacao and in their bars/bonbons will often use ingredients grown in their orchard (almonds, hazelnuts, cherries). Surprisingly, the name "Morin" may elicit a blank face in the new wave chocolate scene (too traditional? *wink*), but they do tend to only make to order, so the ones buying it would be private companies in bulk, who then sell individual bars to the public (i.e Cocoa Runners)

Along with the Dominican Republic cacao was sugar, cocoa butter and soya lecithin: all together manifesting a 63% chocolate bar
The aroma was fruity, blackcurrant bud, spiced, earthed, butter, citrus

The taste was fruity, very sweet, sparkling acidity: pineapple, chocolate, greenish: avocado mousse with nibs (2 days later I make avocado mousse, ha!), tartness: black currant/blackberries/raspberry
The finish had a fairly tannic hint; but overall, a really enjoyable chocolate - not so complex, just so delicious. Understandably, this may be too sweet for those accustomed to expressive and real dark chocolate, but me - I loved it. The remnants and scrunched up foil wrapping after the chocolate had finished, as I laid in bed, smelt super wonderful

Friday, 8 May 2015

Chocolate and Love Coffee

You may or may not know that cacao was once drunk as a stimulant: xocolatl (literally translating to 'bitter water'). From Mesoamerica, this prized drink travelled to Europe. Though as the sugar trade kicked in, and with the Europeans enjoying their sweet delicacies, they began sweetening up their cocoa drink, and adding milk. And so, one thing led to another and chocolate desserts, confections and the bar were born

Today, coffee is our liquid stimulant. It's enjoyed bitter. Yet chocolate, if bitter, will often provoke a grimace. And why is this? It's because coffee and chocolate serve different purposes. We've conditioned ourselves into thinking chocolate needs to be a sweet treat, expecting it to be an indulgence, whereas coffee ... it's just, you know, 'coffee culture' (note there are some exceptions: coffee & walnut cake, tiramisu)
Chocolate and Love's dark chocolate Coffee bar was of 55% cocoa. It's a low %, but I guess sweeter chocolate should pair better with bitter coffee, according to that incoherent hypothesis above of: chocolate should not be bitter

The aroma was just luscious. It was coffee, creamy, vanilla, chocolatey, a sense of acidity, and when ignoring the coffee there was suggestion of a somewhat complex chocolate

The taste was bitter, potent coffee, and yet very sweet. The coffee gave earthiness, the chocolate had vanilla and caramel flavours. This was a real bitter, sweet chocolate. The texture and melt was smooth, and the finish was the last few sips of a cappuccino, with the Demerara sugar still sitting at the bottom of the cup
Overall, an incredible chocolate, though I fault it in being a little too sweet. But I like Chocolate and Love, and their ethics. Their chocolate is organic, fairly traded, and 100% traceable (all to the single cooperatives! The cocoa beans from Peru and The Dominican Republic; the sugar from Costa Rica and Paraguay; and the vanilla is Madagascan)

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Amedei, For You

Now, I believe that these 'For You' bars are almost Amedei's 'Toscano' range. They have the same names i.e. White, Brown, Nut Brown; and they too have the same cocoa percentages. However, there are some explicit differences: these 'For You' bars had skimmed milk as well as whole milk, whereas the Toscanos just have whole milk; the For You packaging looks and is inferior to the Toscano; but what's more is that the For You bars are 70g and nearly half the price of the Toscanos, of which are 50g!

ps. Amedei are Italian, high quality, highly acclaimed, pure excellence bean-to-bar chocolate makers

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Askinosie 77% Davao, Philippines

76% cocoa liquor, 1% cocoa butter (pressed by Askinosie) and 23% organic cane sugar; my first FILIPINO! chocolate

The aroma had the Askinosie signature, of which is something like marshmallows, sweet coconut, cotton candy (candyfloss), perfumed. It dominated, but the Filipino cacao did give an earthy depth with a touch of citrus
The texture was so smooth. The flavour had 2 differentiated levels, of which were in parallel and with vast space between them. The bottom level was earthy and tannic (astringent on the tongue), and the above was very light and prancy, with citrus and flowers (I thought Violet, Askinosie do actually suggest Lavender). Surprisingly, this chocolate does become quite sour or really sour

Davao is bitter, and that is how the chocolate starts and finishes; however, it is subdued, it is never a sharp bitterness. I had myself once a taste of Bombay mix, but the most memorable (and enjoyable) thing about this chocolate was the tangfastic sour burst
The overall flavour felt too roasted, but I loved the sourness. Though with that sourness, I'd have preferred more sweetness. After all, there is much love for sweet'n'sour in this world

Askinosie chocolate definitely has its own distinct flavour. And I would, without a doubt, be able to spot an Askinosie in a blind tasting

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Dick Taylor 74% Dominican, Finca Elvesia

Despite the Dominican Republic being the most visited destination in the Caribbean, having recently discovered my predilection for its cocoa, going there and doing what the DR people do seems (arbitrarily) a must!

Just organic cacao (from Elvesia plantation) and organic cane sugar. Dick Taylor, finally. Winners of 5 Academy of Chocolate awards this year, one for their packaging but none for this Dominican bar, their chocolate, in all its beauty, has interested me for a long while now. So finally, I have a bar!
The aroma was chocolate ice cream, fruity (red), tobacco, vanilla, earthy. It was possible to find distinct cherry and acidity

The taste started as tea, with tannins and fairly bitter. [melodramatic pause] Fruits and sweetness builds up. This was a slow emergence; you know, if it were a piece of drama - brilliant, but as a piece of chocolate - it was 'bitter' for too long. The fruits (cherry) reached an epic climax and it's this bright acidity, which then dissolves, leaving a coffee and tea leaf (bitter, tannic) finish
Overall this Dominican was fruity, roasted and grassy. It was pretty fun that Oreo™ was in the aroma and taste. From the DR to California to the 57g bar in my hands, this cost £7.95 (Cocoa Runners) and apart from the bitter aspect, which dominated the length, I thoroughly enjoyed its bright cherry profile (lovely acidity) and actually the chocolate confection (i.e ice cream, biscuit) too was enjoyable