Date of tasting: 9/6/2018 - Enroute to Dallas Chocolate Festival
This morning I pumped myself up with a Guatemala chocolate tasting as I started my journey from NJ to Dallas, Texas for the Dallas Chocolate Festival.
I started off my tasting at Newark airport a little bit before 6am waiting for my flight to Dallas.
The first chocolate I tasted was Sirene Chocolate - Guatemala - 73%.
Sirene Chocolate is based in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada.
The chocolate was dark brown in color and mid to loud snap. Thee was a big cocoa aroma that I smelled right off the bat. As I tasted my first piece, I was greeted with a fudge note and then a sweet caramel note that lingered. There was this acidic pop of flavor that happened really quick and I could not put my finger on it. Towards the end I did get some astringency accompanied by a roasted nut note. Overall it was pleasant but if I was in a mood for a caramel filled flavor experience.
It was interesting that they said that there was a cookie dough flavor note in the chocolate. I can see with the combination of fudge and cocoa notes with that caramel that it gave an impression of cookie dough. It wasn’t readily apparent for me but we all taste differently.
The second chocolate I tasted was Goodnow Farms Chocolate - Asochivite, Guatemala - 70% with Maple Sugar.
Goodnow Farms Chocolate is based in Sudbury, Massachusetts.
I was looking for the regular version without the maple sugar but when I bought it at The Meadow in NYC a feels ago, that is the only version they had left. It was a medium to dark brown in color. When I tasted this bar, I was already over 30,000 ft in the air and to tell you the truth there wasn’t a good snap. I would be interested to see if others had a similar experience because of the altitude that the temper was off.
There was an immediate maple aroma that I smelled when breaking into the bar. When I tasted my first piece, the first major flavor ain’t tasted was maple. This was obvious given the inclusion. As it started to melt, I started to taste molasses and brown fruit notes. There was a slight acidity to it and after tasting a second piece, I felt it was safe to say that it was a raisin note. It wasn’t super pronounced, hit you in the face raisin note. It was more subdued, most likely due to the addition of the maple. I was intrigued by this bar but I still want to try the regular version without the maple sugar. Given that their Peru Ucayali bar was really interesting, I was looking forward to tasting the regular Guatemala bar. When I see it, I will grab it and do another tasting. Overall, it was an interesting bar and a pleasant experience and looking forward to tasting more of their bars in the future.
The third bar I had was Raaka Chocolate - Asochivite, Guatemala 75% Limited Batch Bar.
Raaka Chocolate is based in Brooklyn, NY.
I also had this bar in flight so there wasn’t a good snap at all, contrary to Raaka’s typical great snaps. So my inclination that altitude change may have affected the temper may hold true, or not and it could just be me traveling with the bar that messed with the temper. That’s definitely something to look into.
So for those who are not familiar with Raaka, they don’t roast their cocoa beans so it provides a more genuine and transparent flavor journey of the cacao they have used. This bar is 75% so I was really looking forward to this journey. Typically, I find that the higher the percentage, the better the expectation of flavor journey as well. It’s the maker’s interpretation that the beans can stand a little more on their own with less sugar. Not always the case but I was definitely in for a good surprise.
I immediately got a rich cocoa aroma and when I tasted my first piece, it was nice and fudgy. It was immediately followed by a dark brown fruit note which I pin pointed as raisin. As opposed to the Goodnow Guatemala bar, this raisin note was a lot more pronounced and was like screaming at me like, “Hey, I am raisin what’s up bro?”. Obviously, I would most likely want to try the non maple sugar version to make a better apples to apples comparison between both origin bars. Raaka was able to showcase that slight sweetness of the raisin and at a 75% bar it was really a pleasant experience and was happy with how they showcased these Guatemalan beans.
It was quite apparent that both Goodnow and Raaka used the same harvest of beans because of the similarities in that dried brown fruit raisin notes. Two different interpretations and that is what is great about living the life of tasting chocolate. Taking in the experiences of these fine chocolate makers and appreciating their interpretation, hard work and dedication to the bean. Sirene’s bar used beans from Lachua. Still, all three bars used beans from the Alta Verapaz region in Guatemala and so it is pretty cool to see their own unique interpretations.
Lastly, if you’re in the Dallas area definitely check out the festival this weekend - September 7-9, 2018. Go to www.DallasChocolate.org for more details and to get your tickets. You’ll be able to meet chocolate makers and chocolatiers from across the country, try and buy their chocolate, learn about chocolate from industry professionals and even sign up for workshops as well.
Back to taking in more of Dallas. Oh and as I am uploading this post in a coffeehouse it is currently down pouring. Fun! Time for more chocolate. Yup.
P.S. Yeah we’re working on a chocolate tasting guide. More info on that coming soon! Let me know what you think!!