Friday, September 11, 2015

Weekly Chocolate Round-Up: It's All About Brazil!

Brazil-origin chocolate continues to mystify me. I have spent many chocolate tastings pondering the taste of Brazilian cacao, and wondering what the unique flavours are that can be discovered with each bite. And I've spent countless hours on Google trying to get my hands on more, in hopes of de-mystifying this unique origin.

My first introduction to chocolate made from Brazilian cocoa beans was by Choklat, a Calgary bean-to-bar chocolate maker. I fell in love with Choklat's 70% Brazilian chocolate, and even more so the 48% milk chocolate, with its bold and distinct taste and high cocoa butter content.

I then moved on to AMMA's range of Brazilian-origin chocolate bars, which left me a little confused.  Some of them have a very unique taste that I cannot pinpoint, perhaps specific to the cocoa plantation and the other fruits and flowers grown in the area (AMMA grows their own cacao) or perhaps the packaging or processing. Eventually I took to Twitter to sort it out, but others said the same thing: there is a strange taste that they just can't put a name to. I purchased the same line-up of AMMA's chocolate again, which ended in the same confusion, until I tasted AMMA's new Gula Merah 70% chocolate bar that is sweetened with coconut sugar from Java in Indonesia.  It was fruity and sweet and very enjoyable.

Next I moved on to Akesson's chocolate, a chocolate company from England that owns plantations in Madagascar and in Bahia, Brazil. Their 75% dark Brazilian-origin chocolate was both fruity and smoky, and quite distinct and delicious. Akesson's packaging explained that the chocolate tasted like the local pitanga fruit. This made me wonder: is that the flavour I taste in AMMA's chocolate?  A local fruit with a distinct flavour that I have never experienced before?

So this week, I stepped further in my quest to understand Brazil origin chocolate. Chaleur B Chocolate, a chocolate company in Quebec, sent me a sample of a limited run chocolate bar made from cacao from Bahia, Brazil.  It had 80% cocoa solids, and the taste was also fruity (like cherries and dried fruit) and a hint of smoky tobacco & roast flavours. I loved it! It truly was a delicious chocolate. So keep a lookout, I think Chaleur may be adding this chocolate bar to their regular line-up soon.


I also tasted AMMA's 100% dark chocolate (that's right, no sugar added, not even the fake stuff!) this week. It, too, had the same unique flavour that other AMMA chocolate bars had.  It was surprisingly enjoyable. 

The flavour of AMMA's 100% chocolate was sweet and nothing like a no-sugar-added chocolate can taste.  Some are so bitter that water is necessary to get them down (ahem: unsweetened Baker's baking chocolate for instance), and others far too acidic to enjoy. But AMMA's was a great introduction to 100% dark chocolate. In fact, I witnessed one addict of sweet milk-chocolate scarf down a piece of AMMA's 100% chocolate and not even cringe.  In fact, I think he enjoyed it.

I found the flavour also to be bright and sweet, with a roast taste, possibly ground cherries, earthy mold, caramel and floral. But whatever the flavour is, I highly recommend you try AMMA's 100% Organic Brazilian Chocolate. And if you have tried it, feel free to comment below and let me know what you think the flavour tastes like!

So now I am thinking ahead to the next Brazil origin chocolate. I am working on getting some of the limited release 2012 Cacao Barry Boa Sentenca 68%. Chocolate Arts in Vancouver also sells a chocolate bar made from this chocolate, if you are looking to try it. Also, here is an interesting photo diary of one photographers visit to the Boa Sentenca plantation in Brazil: http://www.foto-grafo.de/Cocoa/cocoa_1.html. It's worth a view!

Have a great weekend!

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You can purchase AMMA's chocolate at JoJo Coco in Ottawa and online at La Tablette de Miss Choco. Chalaur B Chocolat's chocolate is also available on www.latablette.ca as is Akesson's 75% Brazil chocolate. Choklat is available at their store locations in Calgary and Edmonton.

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