Bertil Akesson is one of the true heroes of the bean to bar market, pioneering the direct sale of his single estate beans to over three hundred chocolate makers all over the world. Born to a Swedish diplomat father and a French mother, Bertil grew up in Madagascar, where his family settled in the 1970s. There, his father established a number of cocoa and spice plantations which Bertil has expanded. Bertil also crafts his own bars.
Today, bars made with his beans have won a long list of accolades and prizes all over the world, and this lively dark bar is no exception. The beans that make this bar hail from Akesson's Ambolikapiky plantation in the celebrated cacao producing region of the Sambirano Valley, North-West of Madagascar, with many of the world’s best chocolate makers and chefs using cocoa from this particular estate. These farms also produce aromatic spices which grow in proximity to the cacao, including the pink pepper which has been added to this bar.
You may not know that cacao can suffer from sunburn if exposed to intense sunlight. In many countries, cacao is grown beneath the lush canopy of the rainforest. However, in Madagascar it is often grown alongside taller crops that can provide a degree of shade and protection from the harsh rays of the tropical sun. One such crop is pepper.
It is often said that Madagascan cocoa has a natural spice to it and in the case of this bar, that is certainly true. However, this flavour is entirely due to the fact that the bars have an inclusion in the form of Madagascan pink pepper.
Interestingly, more than adding heat here, the pink peppercorns add a subtle flavour with floral notes, enhancing the fruity tartness and red berry tones of Madagascan Trinitario cocoa. This is an exotic, warming chocolate experience that we think everyone should try.