Before he turned his talents to crafting chocolate, Mark Schimmel was a talented pastry chef. He trained in three-star Michelin kitchens before eventually becoming head pastry chef in a two-star Michelin restaurant in The Netherlands. It was during this time that Mark developed a real passion for chocolate. He loved working with it as an ingredient and wanted to learn more. He wanted to understand the story behind the chocolate that arrived in his kitchens, ready for him to melt down and craft into spectacular creations… He was eager to discover the role of origin, and to understand how even the smallest change to a recipe could dramatically alter the flavour of a finished chocolate.
For these two chocolate bars, the cacao beans originate from a plantation that was founded in the early 1900s by Spanish immigrant Moisés Mugüerza Gutiérrez, referred to as Don Moisés. In addition to growing cacao, Don Moisés also harvested coffee and other crops. He planted Criollo species of cacao, which he collected from southern Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. Unfortunately, as a result of the Mexican government’s agricultural reform policy, majority of Moisés’ plantation and cacao-nurseries had been seized after the Mexican revolution. Yet, 100 years later, the grandson of Don Moisés returned to the growing and cultivating cacao heritage of his grandfather.
Specifically, it is in Finca La Rioja that these beans grow. This duo showcases the beans having been fermented in wooden boxes for both 4.5 days and 5.5 days, being turned three times a day and once a day, respectively.
The chocolate, once opened, looks like a milk chocolate. Both naturally deliver delicate flavours of toffee, mangoes, walnuts and cedar wood, yet the two differing fermentations offer slight nuances. We recommend trying the two bars side-by-side to experience the full effect.