Saturday, February 12, 2011

Jacques Torres: Bean to Bar

I got this bar at the Jacques Torres store in Chelsea Market -- if you haven't been there, it's definitely worth visiting. There is a huge variety of chocolate goods in the tiny area where he has his kiosk: a counter case of truffles, chocolate-covered cookies and cheerios and fruits and nuts, cookies, and the entire line of bars. I've tried a bunch of JT's blended bars but I'd actually never seen the bean-to-bar bar before. Apparently he debuted it along with the opening of his Chelsea Market location, which was in 2009.

Jacques Torres: Bean to Bar
Cocoa content: 70%
Notable ingredients: n/a
Origin: n/a

It's interesting that this bar has no single origin. The bean-to-bar label simply indicates that JT starts the chocolate-making process with the dry cocoa beans. Most chocolate-makers only participate in part of the process: they buy the cocoa fully roasted and blended and then add whatever sweeteners or ingredients they want before packaging the bar. You would think that if a company is sourcing the beans directly, they would buy them from one region. But I guess the blend of beans that he uses in this bar: Ghana, Ecuador, and the Ivory Coast, demonstrates a deliberateness of flavor that some single origin bars are lacking.

Everything about this bar is near-perfect. The consistency is pure and smooth, the taste is kind of bright and fruity, and there is a perfect balance of sweetness for a 70% bar. It doesn't suffer from typical bean-to-bar hubris, where the purity of the chocolate is so emphasized that the taste of the bar is forgotten.

Next week: bringing back everybody's favorite nut. A-

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