Friday, July 7, 2017

Do you like a dark roast, a medium roast or a light? New Montreal-based chocolate maker, Rica Chocolat, brings us choice in our cocoa 'roast'

Do you ever think about chocolate's 'roast profile' in the same way as coffee? If not, you should! When you taste a chocolate and wonder why it has an upfront roast flavour, or perhaps smokiness or a tobacco flavour, consider that it may be because the chocolate maker applied a deep roast to the cocoa beans. Other flavours may come to you as the chocolate melts on your tongue, which can be attributed to the origin of the cocoa bean, but a dark roast can certainly make for an interesting chocolate. On the other hand, if the upfront flavour is very fruity, or perhaps honey-like in taste, or maybe has a raw nuttiness, possibly the chocolate maker chose a light roast for the cocoa beans.
 
Rica Chocolat in Montreal has chosen to showcase - through their chocolate bars - different roasts on the same cocoa beans. This is such a wonderful opportunity for chocolate lovers to taste the difference between roasts, and decide for themselves which way they like their chocolate, much like coffee drinkers do. As with  Calgary-based McGuire Chocolate, which I told you about last week, the chocolate makers at Rica love to experiment with their cocoa beans. However, at Rica they are using just one origin of cocoa beans (Costa Rica), and trying many different recipes on those same beans, including different roasts and refining times. In fact, their first experiments resulted in 17 different chocolate bars! 

 
 
Rica was founded by friends, Philippe Fortier, Renaud Miniaou and Adrien Arnoux. I communicated with Adrien while writing this article, and he shared that the three met while attending business school in Montreal. Philippe was raised in Costa Rica and told the others about his wish to support the cocoa farmers near where he was raised. He had learned about the impact of witches broom on cocoa plantations, and was looking for a way to support the farmers, and have a positive impact on their lives. After considering selling cocoa beans from Costa Rica, they instead decided that making chocolate would have the best impact.

I have tasted two of the chocolate bars made by Philippe, Renaud and Adrien, and based on the quality of their chocolate, I think they will indeed have a positive impact on the farmers in Costa Rica. The texture is quite nice and the flavours are bold, in a good way. Upon opening the package, the Ébène (ebony) N17 chocolate bar, which had a medium roast and 72% cocoa solids, had the aroma of a citrus punch drink. The Sauvage (wild) N15 also had 72% cocoa solids and had a 'Douce et longue' (low roast, but long) roast. It has a smoky aroma with a hint of brown sugar and fruit (like the smell of pie).


The N17 with its 'Moyenne' (medium roast) offers bold fruit flavours that are quite potent. The roast taste is there, but it sits in the background, with a little leather and woody tastes, along with an acidic/citrus punch.

N15, with its 'douce et longue' (long and low) roast, definitely offers a smoke and tobacco flavour profile, with fruitiness as the after-thought.

Because the cocoa bean is so fruity and thereby acidic in nature, this is not a sweet-tasting 72% cocoa bar. This Costa Rica bean, used by Rica reminds me more of the Grenada beans I have been testing: bold, fruity, tropical and definitely best when made at a 70 to 75% dark chocolate. An 85% might be too acidic to bear, but 60% would be like nice fresh fruit with sugar poured over it. All that said, Rica made a good choice with its 72% cocoa solids. The amount of sugar (28%) allows the bean flavour to shine, bringing out those bold fruit flavours, while not covering it up with a sugary-sweet taste.
 
I look forward to tasting the other 15 recipes someday and see what will come from Rica Chocolat!
 
More about Rica Chocolat & Where to Buy
 
Rica's chocolates are currently being made by Adrien, Phil and Renaud in Chocolat Monarque's workshop at 5333 Casgrain in Montreal, Canada. Their chocolate bars are now available at Cœur D'artichaut in Montreal - 1451 avenue Laurier est. Check the website for more information on where you can find their chocolate near you at: https://ricachocolat.com/ or follow on Instagram @ricachocolat.

To read about other new Canadian Chocolate Makers in this Canada 150 series, click the following links:

Part 1: Kasama Chocolate in BC
Part 2: McGuire Chocolate in Alberta
Part 3: Aschenti Chocolate in Winnipeg
Part 4: Qantu Cacao et Chocolat
Part 5: Rica Chocolat in Montreal
Part 6 and Beyond: more of Quebec's newest makers and the East Coast

For a full list of Canadian chocolate makers, visit: http://ultimatechocolateblog.blogspot.ca/2014/01/canadas-growing-bean-to-bar-craft.html.

3 comments:

  1. omg this sounds so good! hey, if you'd like to taste some European chocolate, send me an email! i would if we could collab or something ;)

    in the meanwhile i'm following your blog :D

    TheNotSoGirlyGirl // Instagram // Facebook

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