Monday, March 16, 2015

What's up with all that Dominican Republic-Origin Chocolate? Who cares, I like it!

More and more of North America's craft chocolate makers are using cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic to make single origin tasting bars. And I'm not sure if it is the delicious La Red Hispaniola bean flavour that attracts chocolate makers to it, or if it is because the Dominican is more easily accessible to us here in North America.  But whatever the reason, I like it. I like it a lot.

The distinct fruity flavours are rarely overwhelming but always noticeable. The graphic posted in this Popular Science article made by Sean Seidell says Dominican Republic cacao only has tobacco, winey and grassy flavours. I'll give it 'winey' but the other two I am not so sure about.

Ambrosia, a Waterloo-based Canadian bean-to-bar chocolate maker, certainly makes one of the most robust bars of them all. With 75% cocoa solids, this bar gives you a quick and bitter bite of chocolate, with that tanginess that can be found when you've cooked down pure raspberries with a little lemon juice and very little sugar. In fact, it reminds me a little of a flourless dark chocolate raspberry cake that I make.

Ambrosia has changed and improved their packaging since I last tried their chocolate over a year ago. The bars used to be uniquely square. Aura Hertzog, co-owner of Ambrosia Pastry Company, said that the new thinner, rectangular shape makes it easier for their customers to break off pieces, and the packaging change has made the work of wrapping easier on their end. I certainly enjoyed the new shape, with more delicate pieces that melted away nicely as I ate it, allowing me to taste the flavours of the origin, without overwhelming my palate.

I always enjoyed the Hispaniola bar by Ottawa-based Hummingbird Chocolatemaker, and so I am beginning to believe that I just really like Dominican-origin bars.  There are so many other chocolate bars made from cacao beans from the Dominican Republic. You can find many of through my Canadian bean-to-bar craft chocolate list, or the American list.

Here are the package details from the chocolate that I wrote about today:

Ambrosia Bean to Bar Dominican Republic 75%, 80g
Chocolate maker: Ambrosia Pastry Company (Waterloo, ON)
Batch #8003
Ingredients: Organic Cacao, Cane Sugar, Non GMO Soy Lecithin. May contain traces of dairy, soy or nuts. (Made from Trinitario cacao beans)

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