Sweet Side: Chocolates tidbits


Marc Ast

Single Origin and Single Estate, what is this all about?

Like with wine, the cacao beans come from different origins, at times it is a blend of cacao beans and at times it is what our industry refers to as single origin or single estate.

For chocolatiers, it allows them to explore new ways to create or blend chocolate and truly get inspired by the subtle flavors of each of the cacao beans they purchased.

In the weeks to come, our own staff will undergo training on Single Estate chocolates as we are slated to open a new section dedicated to these harder to find chocolate bars and tablets.

The common denominator with single estate or single origin chocolate bars are the uniqueness in flavors and in texture. We recently brought in Hu chocolate (Hu=for Human).  They are a small chocolatier whose focus is to create a chocolate line that fits their personal specs as they could not find a match anywhere on the market.

They made a list of “NOs” for their chocolate bars, and it includes No GMO, No Dairy, No Soy Lecithin, No Gluten, No refined Sugar, No cane sugar, and no sugar alcohol. The results are truly spectacular! Not only in texture, but also in taste, as it is chocolate in the purest form possible.

Small chocolatiers also use Fair trade and GMO free raw chocolate to make a political statement, and while I do not believe politics ought to enter into the realm of chocolate-making, the two movements are very beneficial as they continue a mission to create the purest form of chocolates.

The example of Hu is one of many small chocolatiers wanting to create something new, and the ultimate goal is their desire to share and send their messages through their unique lines of chocolate bars.

Another chocolatier is Lake Champlain Chocolates who won three Sofi awards for their chocolate bars.  The Sofi award is the Oscar for the food industry, it stands for Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation. It is given to the best of the best in their respective categories.  Again this is about creativity with noble ingredients and how it blends well with chocolate.  Moka Fleck won the Best New Product Award and the Bronze Award in the Milk and White Chocolate category and It’s Hot, Honey won the Bronze Award in the Dark Chocolate category.

What makes these two bars outstanding is the unique blend of ingredients.  For the Moka Fleck, both the coffee beans, roasted by Vermont Coffee Company, and the house-roasted nibs, from Reserva Zorzal, a 1,000-acre bird sanctuary and old growth cacao forest in the Dominican Republic, combine together to bring you the taste of finely-ground coffee with the nutty texture of the nibs to create a bar with a bold coffee flavor that is both irresistibly crunchy and undeniably smooth.

Using Vermont cream and honey, It’s Hot, Honey is a pleasing balance of chocolate and spice that starts out honey-sweet, and then builds the heat to a mouth-tingling zing that keeps you coming back for more.  Both bars are organic and use fair trade certified chocolate

There is a world of discovery for all of us to find, whenever you enter a chocolate shop ask for a sample of their purest chocolate and enjoy exploring the incredible fireworks of flavors and texture.

Chocolates wishes…