Beans To Bars Chocolate
Craft Chocolate is made from single origin cacao, which utilizes fewer, but much higher quality ingredients, along with traditional old world production practices and is crafted in small batches. Lets put it this way it is a long way from where you started with your first Hershey Bar. The cacao the really great chocolate makers use is a rarity and the end result is comparable to fine wine. Just like wine makers, chocolate makers have their sense of style and craft which produces different results even when using the same cacao.
Lets go over some chocolate basics.
Chocolates You Grew Up With
“Producers of Beans to Bars, Artisan or Craft Chocolate have started a revolution in the culinary world. The grocery store chocolates you grew up with now have less and less cacao in them. Not that they ever did have much real cacao in them. They are made from the most common beans, fillers, food coloring, vegetable oil, and synthetic vanilla and preservatives. Production is automated and you could call it industrial. It smells like cotton candy or marshmallow and it all tastes about the same. Even though It says chocolate on the wrapper it’s not quite!
Craft Chocolate is made of cacao beans from the rarest and most desirable varietals and origins around the world. They come out of the forest rather than an industrial style farm are highly sought after and in short supply. In addition to cacao… cacao butter, sugar and real vanilla beans are what fine chocolates are made of. Production is done lovingly by hand. Chocolate produced by the worlds great chocolate makers can have a nose of coffee, nuts, flowers and fruit. Each has a distinct flavor and texture due to the specific origins of the cacao used and the technique of the chocolate maker.
Similarities to Wine
These subtle differences in taste are much akin to fine wine. In fact you should experience chocolate like you would fine wine. Break a piece off of a bar and listen to the snap. It should have a crisp note when you break it. Then nose the chocolate at the break point and take in the aromas. Then taste the chocolate and take your time with it. Allow the chocolate to melt into the roof of your mouth and simply enjoy the rush of flavors. Just like fine wine great chocolate has a long finish that will linger.
Pairing Chocolate With Wine …Not The Best Idea
Another thing fine chocolate has in common with wine is tannins. Consequently I do not recommend pairing them with red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon because the tannins clash. If you absolutely have to have chocolate with wine try a big juicy Zinfandel. I much prefer pairing chocolate with Port, Pedro Ximénez, Single Malt Scotch, Wheated Bourbons, Aged Rum or Tequila or Amaro. A little sweetness and alcohol pair well with the tannins in chocolate.
The trend in inclusion bars is for the best chocolate makers to team up with the world’s best chefs. A good example is Spain’s Cacao Sampaka teaming up with Ferran Adria the father of molecular gastronomy. Talk about a good pairing… Adria likes to surprise you with temperature, texture and contrasts of flavor… nothing is ever what it seems. You should try his “Milk Chocolate Gin and Tonic Bar” The flavors are subtle but the combination combined with the texture make it profound. Anyways the inclusion bars are sensational and the very best not only showcase the cacao and the skill of the chocolate maker but the terroir of the country they are produced. They utilize native fruits, honey, milk, hops, mushrooms, bread, liqueurs, olives and more in the crafting.
Our Selection Of Chocolate
Just so you know we offer one of the best selections chocolates in the world on this website. If you choose to make a purchase from any producer on the site rest assured that a great deal of care, time and craft was put into each and every bar. I don’t believe that there is any such thing as the best when it comes to wine and chocolate producers of this quality. Try a few and see where your palate takes you.
Stewards Of The Forest
None of the producers on this site buy Fair Trade chocolate which is a misnomer. ‘Fair Trade” is a code word for industrial farming of increasingly GMO cacao. Our chocolate makers pay at least 3 times the price of the so called Fair Trade suppliers. All of them are invested in the people of the forests who farm the cacao. Most actually partner with the farmers to insure their well being, personal growth of the community and sustainability of the world’s rarest origins of cacao. ….”Uncle Jerry”