Monday, December 28, 2009

Bar of the Week: Pralus Indonesie

The humid conditions in much of Southeast Asia can make drying cacao a challenge.  Unlike farmers in other areas, who can just spread their beans out and let the sun do the rest, those in Southeast Asia often have to resort to using drying fires to keep their cacao from rotting.  Overriding both bean type and terrior, this process can lend Asian beans an assertive smokiness for which they are almost notorious.  To quote

"Smoke and leather have long been considered undesirable flavors in chocolate, the consequences of 'artificial drying' (and subsequent smoke leaks) in some countries, Indonesia included. Aside from smoky flavor, this 'quick' drying yields additional flavors by trapping in the beans’ acids, thereby increasing the acidity of the finished chocolate."

While many manufacturers camoflage these flavor flaws by blending Southeast Asian beans into milk chocolate, the French chocolate maker Francois Pralus features a number of 75% bars from beans of Asian origin.  Our Bar of the Week is the Indonesie, made from dark-roasted criollo beans.  Rather than hide the smokiness of his cacao, Pralus capitalizes on it.  This silky-smooth bar has a rich, peaty flavor and the long finish of a good scotch. 

Chocolopolis will be closed for vacation January 1-8, 2010, after which we will change to our new winter hours.  Please join us for a sample of Pralus' Indonesie when we reopen at 11am on Saturday, January 9.

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