Tom and Monica were living in Los Angeles as a TV producer and real estate agent and, in their own words “first discovered craft chocolate in, of all places, a vintage furniture shop in Los Angeles. The incredible flavors we tasted in those bars completely changed how we thought about chocolate, and started us on our journey to become single origin chocolate makers”
The cocoa for this bar is sourced from the Esmeraldas province in the north of Ecuador. Just south of Same, Ecuador is a brand new cacao fermentation and drying facility. Built by the Salazar family and designed by cacao whisperer Dan O’Doherty of Cacao Services, it allows for very precise control of the fermentation and drying processes and minimizes strain on the workers by being ergonomically efficient.
This incredible facility is where the Salazars ferment and dry the exceptional, fine flavor Nacional hybrid cacao from their nearby farm. With over one hundred acres of carefully cultivated trees, the Salazars are in the rare and enviable position of growing enough cacao to ferment and dry it themselves. This allows for a tremendous amount of control of the fermentation and drying process, resulting in cacao beans of very high quality and exceptional flavour.
Tom and Monica were impressed by the Salazar’s commitment to cultivating flavourful cacao. “When we visited the Salazars we were impressed with their commitment to fine flavor. Working with Dan, they identified several flavorful Nacional clones (EET-95, EET-96 and EET-103) and have been grafting those clonal varieties to increase their production. They also planted several acres of a traditional local fine flavor Acriollado varietal that was in danger of disappearing”.
When we tasted this bar we thought it was relatively delicate in flavour – possibly due to a light roast. This dark chocolate bar has an almost mineral-like quality, with some flint like notes up front before a nutty finish.