Monday, 27 June 2016

Zotter Labooko 75% Ghana & Colombia

Zotter's Labooko CONTEST range pairs two chocolate bars together for comparison. The range mainly includes different origins at the same cacao %, to show the diversity of cacao flavour
The Ghanaian had an aroma very chocolate and of wheat. The Colombian was more fruity and herby, with gherkin. In picture, they look very similar, however in real the Ghanian was a little darker

The snaps were crisp and clean, typical of Labooko dark
The flavour of the Ghana was wheat, chocolate, cake batter, with something almost meat-like. The Colombia, on the other hand, was more flavourful. I did expect that! It had fruits and acidity, garden cress, tequila. The Colombian was a lot more vibrant

The idea of the comparison seems a good starting point to those unaware that different origins have different flavour profiles 

Friday, 24 June 2016

El Caibo Bolivia 75% & 60% with Coffee

El Ceibo chocolate is made with beans grown by the farmers of El Ceibo in Alto Beni in Bolivia

A craft chocolate enthusiast returned back from Bolivia, and over coffee at Workshop Coffee, walked me through his Bolivian trip. He, Tommy, visited few plantations, bought a lot of Bolivian chocolate, and brought home with him a cacao pod. From what Tommy had told me, I learnt a lot about El Ceibo: from the land and the cacao to the fermentation and drying

"our land / our trees / our chocolate"
All the cacao within is organic. The 75% was leather and vanilla smelling, OK. The melting texture was slow. The taste was metallic, roasted, earth, with a strong acidity sparking up. The acidity was good, quite sour, different

The 60% dark milk ("dark milk" being very in right now) with organic Bolivian coffee. The coffee had been grown by El Ceibo. The coffee added crunch. It was overall sweet, caramel, tropical juice, beautiful

Why is it that tree-to-bar chocolate, that is chocolate made at origin, is a rarity amongst the craft chocolate bars found in the US, Europe etc., of where craft chocolate and "bean to bar" are the buzz words of GREAT chocolate? 

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Tejas Madagascar

Tejas is an American craft chocolate maker, based in Houston, Texas

The 70% chocolate was crafted from Madagascan cacao and pure cane sugar
The aroma was wheat and soft red fruitiness

The taste started with pure sugar cane juice, very sweet, light raspberry tartness surfaces, wheat comes, and all slowly transitioned to toasty and liquorice. The melt was slow, truly expected from American craft 

The cacao beans were from Akesson's estate, but I'm not thinking that's the only reason as to why this was a good chocolate. Tejas appear to be good chocolate makers 

Chocolate and Love Panama 80%

Chocolate and Love is like a chocolate social enterprise. The chocolate is made in Switzerland, using Fairtrade cacao from the Dominican Republic, Peru, and Panama. All the ingredients within the chocolate are certified organic and Fairtrade, also you are given the cooperatives who grows them (i.e the cacao, sugar, vanilla). There are no emulsifiers within

In this 80% dark, the cacao came from the COCABO cooperation in Panama

The chocolate was dark in colour. The aroma distant, chiefly vanilla, butter. The taste was very cocoa powder, some light acidity opens up to make it that little bit more complex. Overall, the flavour was very soft and one dimensional, purely chocolate. The texture was buttery, yet very cocoa dust, as if extra cocoa powder had been added (however, this was not the case)
An easy dark chocolate. Slow to eat. It's a good bar if you enjoy the pure chocolate flavour. I thought this chocolate would work well for a rich, dark chocolate cake!

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Pump Street Bakery Eccles

Opening up the bag, it was the smell of pizza, with fresh basil. This, the Eccles bar, is one of four in the bread and chocolate series from Pump Street Bakery. The other three are Rye, Sourdough, and Bread & Butter

This Eccles chocolate is an Ecuadorian 55% dark chocolate (cacao from Hacienda Limon, 2015 harvest) with Pump Street's renowned eccles cake. The puff pastry eccles cake are made from flour, butter, brown sugar, Voztizza currants, raisins, Armagnac (brandy), nutmeg and cinnamon
The aroma of the chocolate was dried fruit (not so much raisins), brandy, fruitcake, Christmas. The taste was pretty similar. You get the Ecuadorian chocolate, which adds a cocoa intensity. It was fruitcake, with the icing, and dark chocolate chunks inside. It was also puff pastry mince pies. Ya, a whole lot of Christmas going on ... 
Great chocolate. Pump Street are amazing chocolate makers

I picked up this bar in Liberty London as soon as Pump Street Bakery shared on their Instagram this new limited edition bar! They said that Liberty was the only place, other than Pump Street themselves, that stocked it. Each month there will only be 200 bars made. It is £6.25 if bought from Pump Street, or £6.95 from Liberty on Regent Street. The bar also won silver at this years Academy of Chocolate, I do remember tasting it ... 

Monday, 6 June 2016

Zotter Labooko Bouquet of Flowers

Unfortunately, none of these pictures are mine, all are taken from Zotter's website! The chocolate melted when in my pocket, and it was late, so I thought best not to take pictures...
Firstly is the "Cashew Nougat with Meadow Flowers" bar. It was a cashew nougat blended with milk chocolate. There were marigolds, daisies, cornflowers, with a touch of lemon and cinnamon. Then the "Almond Roses" bar, which was an almond nougat made with caramelised Spanish almonds and blended with white chocolate, covered in rose petals, enhanced with a little rose oil, ginger and cinnamon!

I will just note that Zotter says the Almond Roses bar is a white chocolate, but cocoa mass IS on the ingredients list (cocoa mass is not in white chocolate, only cocoa butter). The ingredients of these bars are also a little different to what it says online. Zotter has occasionally confused me with their ingredients list
To be honest, I did not have high expectations of the chocolate. I took a bite of the roses bar, and oh! my! god! Then I went to the cashew flowers bar, and wow! I was trying to figure out WHICH I preferred, oscillating from each. I just couldn't, both were incredible 

Friday, 3 June 2016

Blanxart Brasil 76%

Having exhausted nearly all of Blanxart's dark chocolate origins, it is probably time to call it quits now

The cocoa in this 76% Brasil bar had grown in the Amazon rainforest. The plantation from where the cocoa had grown is located on the Transamazonian road between Belém and Itaituba. Belém in Portugal has the best pastel de natas. Anyway, back to the chocolate - that is not affiliated with Portugal - the ingredients were cacao, sugar, cocoa butter and vanilla, all organic!
The aroma was sweet, and sherbet, and suddenly very fruity! The taste was a chocolate bar with a squeeze of lime. There was a subtle coffee cream which would round the finishing flavour. The melting texture was smooth

My first thoughts upon this chocolate were that it wasn't great. It did have too much added cocoa butter, and it had that undesired tainted feel to it, but really it wasn't that bad. I enjoyed it particularly in a baguette from Gail's Bakery, or dipped in a non-speciality coffee