Tuesday, July 27, 2010
This was a bar passed between cousins under the table at a Vietnamese restaurant where the dessert menu was underwhelming (thanks Clio!) This was a bar made of beans from the cocoa trees at the foot of Balinese volcanoes. This was a bar that -- though thick, dense, and stone ground -- still melted on the tongue without a hint of graininess. And thus it so happened that I set this bar forth in a scattering of cocoa beans and readied it for the close-up it deserves. Just kidding! Photo credit goes to Amano.
Cocoa content: 30%
Notable ingredients: n/a
Amano is one of about a dozen bean-to-bar companies in the United States. They are based in the Salt Lake City area of Utah. The name means "by hand" and "heavenly field" in Italian and Japanese, respectively, and -- get this -- they couldn't be Fair Trade certified because that exchange model simply doesn't pay the farmers enough! The company's prices paid to farmers come out at about 3 times the London Cocoa Terminal Market average.
So, their chocolate ought to be really good to warrant that degree of boasting. It is. I haven't tried any of their other bars but I have been hanging on to a dark Venezuelan bar of theirs that was given to me a few months back. Yes, I'm that deep in gifted chocolate, poor me. This milk bar, which was lighter than usual at 30%, was every bit as creamy and melty and milky as a mass-market Belgian chocolate but with so much more going on flavor-wise. Notes of honey and flowers remained present long after the chocolate had melted -- at which point, usually only the sugar is detectable.
So, this was wonderful and I'm excited to try more of their chocolates. Thanks again to my cousin Clio, who is an amazing, successful pastry cook and who has probably known sweets better than all of us. A-.