Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Costa Rican versus Peruvian chocolate by Cachet...it's all good!

I find the best way to taste a new chocolate is to compare it to another chocolate in the same category.  You can choose any category that you like.  Perhaps you want to try two different commercial chocolate bars with the same cocoa content (i.e. Lindt Excellence 70% versus Nestle NOIR 70%), or the same brand of bars that are made with cocoa beans from different regions of the world (called "single origin" chocolate), or even two different chocolate bars with a specific flavour (i.e. comparing one brand of blueberry-flavoured chocolate bar to another brand also with blueberry flavouring). It doesn't matter what the category, it's just good to compare what you are tasting to something similar.  That way, you can better understand your feelings about each one.

Today I am tasting and comparing two bars by Cachet, a chocolate brand that is made in Belgium by Kim's Chocolates (http://www.kimchoc.be/cachet/pages/default.asp?langue=3).  It was imported to Toronto, and I purchased four different single origin bars on a trip to Sudbury, Ontario recently. They were at the Bulk Barn of all places and only $2.99 CAD each - which is a great price for single origin chocolate.


So the two I am trying today are: Limited Origin Selection Costa Rica 71% Dark Chocolate versus the Cachet Limited Origin Selection Peru 64% Dark Chocolate.


I have to admit, I already started into the Costa Rica bar because I was writing my blog introduction post, which took longer to write than I thought, and I couldn't wait anymore with fine-smelling chocolate sitting under my nose.  I am an addict and like any addict, resistance is futile when the substance is sitting right in front of me!


So, I've cleansed my palate with some warm water (I like to drink warm water for many reasons, but also because it helps make the chocolate melt faster in my mouth). Now I'm starting to open the Costa Rica package again.  The smell is wonderful - it smells like the rainforest and has that very earthy and organic flavour that many organic dark chocolate bars have. The Peru bar, on the other hand, has a strong smell, but is a little like "paint fumes" mixed with earthy.  It's not a gross paint fume smell, more like a room that has recently been updated with fresh sunny yellow paint on the walls.  There is also a nice smell of natural vanilla. The Costa Rica bar on the other hand has a vanilla smell too, but it is overwhelmed by this fresh earthy smell. 


As for flavour, I can't help but initially taste that paint flavour of the Peru bar.  But, it's not a bad flavour, in fact, once the first bite is out of the way, the flavours open up to a sunny, delicious and sweet chocolate bar.  


Now, in comparison, the Costa Rica bar tastes much more bitter than it initially did, given that I've since tried the sweeter Peru bar. Initially, I loved this bar and could not get enough of it 10 minutes ago.  It's earthy smell does not translate into the flavour as much as you would think, except that it adds a certain harshness that is not in the Peru bar.  It is bitter, but really smooth and luxurious and the vanilla flavour comes through nicely.


"A-plus" for both bars on using natural vanilla.  Perhaps though, less vanilla would let the flavours come through a little more when tasting them.  I also commend Cachet for the following elements:
-making a nice smooth, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate,
-for creating very different flavour profiles from one of the single origin bars to the other (some commercial single origin bars, like Russell Stover`s line, make it harder to tell the difference because of all the flavouring that is added), and
-being environmentally conscious by using 20% renewable energy solar panels to make their chocolate and by having "Rainforest Alliance Certified" cocoa mass and cocoa butter (www.rainforest-alliance.org).

So if you have recently been feeling guilty about your impact on the environment, choose a Cachet Limited Origin Selection bar today! Also, if you prefer bars with no artificial flavours, Cachet is a good choice.


On another day sometime soon, I will try the Cachet Uganda 80% bar or the Madagascar 32% bar. However, tomorrow I will try some fun flavours to change things up a bit.


Thanks for experiencing some new chocolate with me today!


Here are the stats on both bars I tasted today:


Cachet Limited Origin Selection Costa Rica, 100 gram bar, 71% cocoa solids
Ingredients: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla (nat. flavour).  May contain traces of nuts, peanuts, soybeans, eggs, milk and gluten.
Marketing on Package: "Rainforest Alliance Certified" and a lot of information on Costa Rican cocoa beans and the smoke and wood flavour (that's what I meant by earthy...really, it is).
Company info and web site: Kim's Chocolates, no web site on package but I found this one: http://www.kimchoc.be/


Cachet Limited Selection Peru, 100 gram bar, 64% cocoa solids
Ingredients: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla (nat. flavour). May contain traces of nuts, peanuts, soybeans, eggs, milk and gluten.
Info same as above, except the info on Peru on Package: "An unmistakable hint of fruit with a slightly bitter cocoa taste..." and it mentions that it is a surprising first impression.  That`s what I thought too, but the surprise was more in the paint flavour, but perhaps that was just fruit aroma, whatever.

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