Not unlike wine, mezcal, or coffee, chocolate tastes different depending on where it’s grown. The word terroir, used primarily in the world of wine, refers to the environment in which a crop is grown. Natural factors like soil, climate, harvest season and topography ultimately dictate the way a bottle of wine will taste. Of course, human impact, such as fermentation, processing, and aging will affect the final flavor outcome as well, but there is only so much a winemaker can do to change the natural flavor of the agricultural product after harvest.
This concept of terroir applies to chocolate as well! It was only in the last decade or so that people began to realize this, resulting in a boom of chocolate connoisseurs and craft makers who seek to highlight the natural flavors found in the “chocolate” plant, otherwise known as cacao. These flavors can range from chocolatey (yes, that is an official tasting note!) to things like caramel, sour lemon, soil or flowers.
What is Different About Our New Line?
Often, chocolate makers add flavor neutralizing ingredients, like cocoa butter or vanilla, to mask some of the sharp or ‘non-chocolatey’ natural flavors of cacao. We add a variety of ingredients to our mainline products to create a consistently tasty and unique chocolate experience, mixed with ingredients intended to support your lifestyle. So, if we were to take out those extra ingredients, we’ll end up with a whole range of flavors found naturally, genetically intertwined, with the cacao beans we use. Understandably, the fewer ingredients used in the chocolate bar the more true cacao flavor you’ll taste. That being said, we only use two ingredients in our single origin line; cacao and sugar.
We hope to expand this line and offer even more origins in the future, but we’re too excited to share this with our community to wait any longer. We’re starting with a few simple tasting packs so you can experience this will us as we evolve. Keep in mind, these bars will taste much darker than the rest of our products and are meant to be eaten in small(ish) doses. Check them out!
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ABOUT THE ORIGINS
Cacao Type: Trinatario
Farm/Export Information: It takes two days by canoe to get to where the farmers of this cooperative grow their incredibly high-quality cacao. We have yet to visit this region for more information, but the care and attention put into their harvest is clear when we’re making chocolate using these beans.
Cacao Type: Hispanola – Trinatario
Farm/Export Information: Not only does Zorzal Cacao grow high-quality cacao that equates to delicious tasting chocolate, they’re also proving that mission-based business can thrive. Over 80% of the land owned by Zorzal has been left untouched in order to provide a sanctuary for an endangered migratory bird called Bicknell’s Thrush, or locally Zorzal de Bicknell. We <3 Zorzal Cacao a whole lot.
Cacao Type: Criollo/Trinatario
Farm/Export Information: Maya Mountain Cacao works with over 300 farmers in the Southern Region of Belize and has become the largest cacao exporter in the entire country. Most of the farmers are Q’uechi or Mopan Maya, many of whom are living below poverty. Maya Mountain Cacao has successfully increased local wages by 20%.
Region: Tumbes, Peru
Cacao Type: Criollo (native genetic varietal)
Farm/Export Information: Norandino Cooperative is quite large. They work with about 500 different farms and export cacao, coffee & sugar. They also have a carbon credit program available to their customers.
Region: Laguna Lachua, National Park in the Alta Verapaz District
Cacao Type: Trinitario, upper Amazon Forasteros, Amelonados & some Nacional
Farm Type: This origin is unique in that most of these farmers are living almost entirely off the grid around a protected lake, Laguna Lachua. Primarily Q’uechi’ Mayan, the producers receive technical and market support from the regional export company, Cacao Verapaz.