The most important part of a chocolate's flavour comes from the fermentation process. When cacao is harvested it is fermented and each different type of bean will need a different approach. Some beans will be fermented in 100kg batches - some more, some less, some will just be covered with banana leaves and turned once whilst others will be best turned from one wooden box down to another and then another. This approach is often out of the control of the chocolate maker. Mikkel at Friis Holm goes to great lengths to understand and implement a particular approach to fermentation with his single bean type chocolate.
Here we have a 100% chocolate that is made from beans that the farmers just don't have time to sort through to isolate the different beans and then ferment differently. Ancient cocoa farms will have strains of cocoa different from one tree to the next and even differences on the same tree. The process of sorting them is labour intensive. Not wanting to waste these fine flavour beans Mikkel has produced a blended 100% chocolate using beans from ten different growers in the La Dalia region of Nicaragua.
You could say this is a compromise chocolate given that Domori have a single variety (we are told) 100% chocolate, but we appreciate the variety this chocolate offers. It is far more intense than many 100%'s (bar the Finca) and it is that sharpness that stimulates the taste buds and enlivens them.
One of the frequent criticisms of Mikkel's chocolate is the cost. But we must be absolutely clear that not only do you get what you pay for, but you also effectively support the livelihoods of relatively impoverished grower families - much, much more than Fair Trade and is beyond comparison with mass market chocolate. Mikkel is an integral part of the Direct Cacao movement which means that Mikkel will pay anywhere from three to six times the Fair Trade price for premium, utterly fantastic chocolate. Without this premium the cacao growers are disinsentivised to grow fine flavour cacao and grow other crops such as coffee instead - the end result will be fine flavour cacao will be lost forever and we will be left with dull, boring, flavourless supermarket chocolate.
This is an initial batch we travelled a few hundred miles to acquire and are selling it at cost. We expect to have much greater quantities in the New Year.
|Maker's Tasting Notes||... strong aromatic acidity and black cherry notes reveal a true grower's blend.|