Monday, June 26, 2017

Exploring New Canadian Chocolate Makers, Part 2: McGuire Chocolate in Calgary

I recently began exploring Canada's newest craft chocolate makers in celebration of the country's 150th birthday (for you non-Canadian readers, it is this coming Saturday!). I started by writing about Kasama in Vancouver last week, and today we'll look at Alberta's chocolate-making newbies. For a long time, Calgary had just one craft chocolate maker (Choklat), but now a few more have been added. Of those, McGuire Chocolate is making single origin chocolate from bean-to-bar.




McGuire Chocolate founders, Mark and Victoria, are definitely bean-obsessed. They love cocoa beans so much, they offer a trillion different chocolate bars made from different beans and different roast profiles. Okay, so a 'trillion' is an exaggeration, but it seems to be the right word for the seemingly endless number of chocolate bars offered by these energetic chocolate makers. I understand their need to try new beans all the time because I feel the same way. Once I started working with cocoa beans, I couldn't get enough. I wanted to taste all different kinds, then discover how those beans taste with different roasts, different percentages of sugar, and varying refining time. And this also seems to be the case with Mark and Victoria.

I also really enjoy the idea behind McGuire Chocolate's gorgeous packaging. The envelope fits three chocolate bars perfectly. This is just the right number for doing a comparison tasting of different cocoa bean origins.



I received a package of three bars, a Nicaragua origin chocolate (O'Payo 70% dark), a Tanzania origin chocolate (Kokoa Kamili 70% dark) and an Ecuador origin (La Buceta). A tasting card was included with each, and the length of refining time, as well as the roast profile was also shared alongside the tasting notes.

The Tanzania chocolate bar was DELICIOUS. It was bold and bright, with citrus fruit plus berry, perhaps cherry and blackberry. I was also a bit tart and just a lovely chocolate overall.


The O'Payo chocolate bar had a lovely acidic citrus and slight fruit taste, with a roast flavour that made the whole combination bold and bright. It had a slightly stiffer texture than, say, a Lindt chocolate, but that usually has something to do with two-ingredient chocolate (which this is, just cacao and cane sugar with no added cocoa butter). I have used this same Nicaraguan cocoa bean and it is quite bold and bitter, has a lovely chocolaty flavour, and also very versatile. McGuire's O'Payo chocolate bar is a great chocolate to compare to other - very fruity or nutty - chocolate bars to showcase the differences between origin chocolates.

As for the La Buceta from Ecuador - it was a bit too spicy and dry for me (and 'soapy' as my tasting friend described it). The tasting notes, which you can see in the picture below (and please do ignore my mixing up of the cards between La Buceta and O'Payo), describe it as have notes of IPA, curry, cinnamon and cashews. It is definitely a dry curry flavour. I didn't know what IPA stood for, but an internet abbreviation search gave me 116 potential abbreviations, with the only taste-related ones being Indian Pale Ale (okay, beer and perhaps Indian spices like curry, this seems reasonable) and 'IsoPropyl Alcohol'. I'm pretty sure 'International Phonetic Alphabet' is not the flavour note they were referring to. But whichever IPA it was, it certainly had a very interesting flavour, although it was not my favourite.



Overall, the experience of McGuire was fun. I like that you can order single bars from the website, or packages of three, like I experienced, and hold a chocolate tasting among friends to truly understand the origins of the bars, or perhaps the differences between roasts.

Learn more about McGuire Chocolate at http://mcguirechocolate.com/ or follow them on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/mcguirechocolate/) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/mcguirechocolate/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel).

***
To read about other new Canadian Chocolate Makers in this Canada 150th birthday 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 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.

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  3. Great post, Lisabeth! To provide some further insight to IPA: India Pale Ale was a beer created in the 18th Century and was transported from England to India by the East India Company. It was a dry and hoppy beer which helped it stay fresh during the long voyage and in turn was a crowd favorite in India. We figured it was fitting, given La Buceta's dry and bitter characteristics and spicy curry notes :)

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