Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bar of the Week: Santander 70% with Passion Fruit

Region: Inclusion using beans from Colombia
Bean Type: Trinitario-Criollo
Cocoa Content: 70%

Santander Chocolate has been a popular choice at Chocolopolis due to an inherent coffee flavor that Seattlites know and love. We use the Santander 70% in many of our tastings to contrast with the fruitiness of Valrhona's Manjari and the smokiness of the Pralus Indonesie bar. This week we're showcasing their 70% chocolate with a unique twist: the addition of passion fruit. Known in Colombia as maracuya, passion fruit is native to South America and is grown on small cold climate farms where it is manually harvested. The sourness of the fruit pairs well with the nuttiness of Santander's dark chocolate to produce a bar that is sure to become a favorite of those seeking something different. Stop by our store this Saturday for a taste.

Fun Fact: Santander Chocolate takes its name from the State of Santander in Eastern Colombia. Peasants there have been growing and harvesting cacao in the same traditions for over two centuries.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bar of the Week: Askinosie Soconusco Nibble Bar

Region: Inclusion using beans from Mexico
Bean Type: Trinitario
Cocoa Content: 75%

In a city recently named one of the ten worst places to raise a family in America, the same city that is trying to escape its lynching past, Springfield, Missouri now has something to be proud of - Askinosie Chocolate. The driving force behind the company is founder and chocolate maker, Shawn Askinosie, and he has a whopper of a tale to tell. If you've ever dreamed of a midlife career change this is the story for you. Shawn began his career with a degree in political science and a high paying job as a criminal defense lawyer. Along with that job came many awards, as well as a number of death threats, and the latter convinced him to consider pursuing his passion for chocolate. Making chocolates and truffles is one thing, but taking the time to learn how to create chocolate from the bean is a whole different challenge, especially when you tell your family that you want to leave your high paying position to focus on your new hobby full-time. A trip to the Amazon Rain Forest to study post harvest techniques and some time with a Master Chocolate Maker in Ecuador helped get Shawn up to speed, and a few (thousand) tests later the finished products began to emerge.

The 70% Soconusco Nibble Bar is one of the four Askinosie products that we currently carry. The Nibble portion of the name refers to the crushed cocoa beans that are sprinkled over the back of the bar to give the chocolate a nut-like crunch.

Fun Fact: Shawn puts two hidden references to his family on the packaging for his bars. The 1-2-3 is a secret message to his wife and the toot-toot is a nod to his daughter.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bar of the Week: Domori Madagared

Region: Madagascar
Bean Type: Criollo-Trinitario
Cocoa Content: 70%

This information regarding the bar of the week comes from the manufacturer: Madagared is a criollo-type cacao from Madagascar. From the many trinitario-type plantations we selected these criollo cacao pods with completely white cacao beans and have processed them separately. The final result exalts the quality organoleptic traits: honey, almonds, berries, caramel and cream. It is slightly tangy and outstandingly smooth with a fine sweetness and particularly long finish.

A new take on our most popular region and a good comparison to last week's Amano Madagascar. One thing to note before you do your tasting: Amano adds cocoa butter and vanilla while Domori does not.

Fun Fact: Now is the time to buy this bar because it, along with Domori's milk chocolate bar blended with sea salt, is no longer being manufactured. We still have a few left in stock so hurry in before they are gone forever.