Today will be tasting bean to bar chocolate from Ecuador, they can have diverse flavours like blackberries, strawberries, less floral notes, figs, woody and liquorice.
Pacari Raw 70% a raw chocolate bar produced entirely in Ecuador. I tried some of Pacari’s at Paul. A Young tasting as was a fan then so knew I was in for a treat. Being raw chocolate, the beans never reach higher than 42C, with a high antioxidant content – superfood! A coarser mouth feel than the other bars, but what was amazing was the tropical pineapple flavour, a really interesting bar to have a square of at a time.
Zotter Labooko ‘For Those In Love’, a beautifully designed packaging that will surely set your heart aflutter. Two separate 35g bars, to either share with loved ones or showing yourself some love. I love the style of this chocolate, fun and distinctive. One of the bars is a bar where instead of milk powder added to the mix, dried raspberries. The result is an incredibly vibrant bar, not just in appearance but in flavour. The freshness of the raspberries with the silky cocoa butter is a treat for the palate. Such a refreshing bar to be savoured and to awaken the senses at the mid-afternoon slump. The second bar was as equally a surprise. 60% of single origin dark chocolate from Ecuador. The chocolate was silken, that melted like a dream on the tongue. It may have even creped into my top 5 chocolates tried rich flavour without being overpowering from some the heavier, higher cocoa content bars. Dreamy.
Duffy’s Corazon Del Ecuador With Nibs, Oak Smoked Sea Salt. This is a perfect example who adding texture to the bars can affect the eating experience. The delightfully crunchy cocoa nibs add an earthy, nutty note to the ultra-creamy base chocolate. I like the use of salt with sweet items as can really open out the flavour of the other ingredients. I personally would have liked the smoke note to be a little bit stronger to work with the richness of the nibs but still a beautiful bar of chocolate.
Askinosie San Jose Del Tambo, Ecuador 70%, winner of 2011 Academy of Chocolate Awards Gold. I loved the packaging on this bad boy. Based in the USA, started by an old criminal defence lawyer who started the company in 2005. Shawn Askinosie has also set up a ‘Chocolate University’ which sounds awesome, for children to learn about business, sustainability and chocolate making. I want to sign up! As soon as you open the pack you are hit with a strong floral and orange aroma to the bar. There was a slightly medicinal flavour to the bar with an intense jasmine/floral after note. Creamy mouthfeel but a slightly acidic finish. Wasn’t the favourite of the group but that might be due to the unusual flavour.
Pacari Cherry 60%. Cocoa Beans harvested from the mountains of Ecuador, this smooth earthy bar is paired with the sharp tang of inclusion of cherries. The cherries add a nice sweetness to the bar without being overly sweet and taking away from the bar, but not an artificial cherry flavour that some bars can tend to lean towards. A lovely bar.
Hoja Verde 80%. Proving that Ecuador beans are great to be produced into a bar there as well as being grown there. These guys started a successful flower business and were looking to sell chocolate alongside their blooms. In doing so they decided to make their own chocolate. A very smooth mouthfeel, with the flavour of the bar developing more you allow it to melt over your tongue (if you can be patient enough!). For a high percentage bar, the thoughts on this from my family was that it wasn’t a changeling bar to eat, just an all-round enjoyable bar to have to get a nice rich hit of chocolate.
Pump Street Bakery – Rye Crumb, Milk and Sea Salt 60%. Nutty toasted nuggets from the rye, giving the bar an adult crunch to contrast against the creamy smooth milk. The subtle salt note to couple with the maltiness of the rye to make this bar very enjoyable and likely to not last too long.
Pitch Dark – Ecuador Fruity 73%. This bar does exactly what it says on the tin. Big fruity notes and not your usual red fruit or plumy notes but light dancing on the palette fruits. Almost a light peach which will flit in and then gone before you can identify or become bored with the repetitive flavour. A smooth bar from our American cousins.
Have you tried any chocolate from Ecuador?
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