This Qantu Chuncho 100% is 100% bar made with cacao from the Ayacucho region of Peru. With no added sugar the bar provides a pure and more intense approach to this bean.
For their first collection, Maxime & Elfi of Qantu have focused on Peru. Inspired by Elfi’s heritage, they returned to the country where they had originally met. Starting off in Lima they visited Salon du Chocolat there in order to begin forging relationships with different producers. They then went on to visit a number of farmers and co-operatives to find their perfect beans.
For this particular bar, Qantu has worked with Asociacion de productores del VRAE. Though a relatively new producer, it has employed a specialist to help its farmers improve the agricultural techniques. Until recently the region where VRAE operates was victim to violence and the narcotics trade.
Chuncho is an ancient cacao varietal that is native to this particular part of Peru.The beans are especially small and therefore only need a very quick fermentation of about 3 days. This is done in wooden boxes after the cacao is dried in the sun. What they like in size, the beans make up for in flavour. Chuncho cacao is naturally mild with a multifaceted profile that makes it perfect for 100% bars
Crafting 100% chocolate is always difficult. On first we were amazed at the smoothness of the bar along with the flavours. We asked Qantu for more details on the process behind the bar:
“We do a medium roasting on this one to get similar notes to the chocolate they make in Cuzco for hot chocolate cups. In their case, they usually over-roast the beans, which we try to avoid. Acidity is very low in the Chuncho, no need to put a lot of heat during conching. Since it’s a 100%, there is more fat in it because there is no sugar, so chocolate is very liquid, we have hard time on the manual tempering/molding step. An automatic tempering machine would help a lot for this one, that will be our next purchase I think…”
While no sugar might make you think this bar would be bitter the chocolate is wonderfully mild. The smooth bar has gentle and creamy melt that slowly releases flavour. Plenty of fruit, apricot jam and mounds of hazelnuts all come through. The chocolate also reminded us slightly of a malted biscuit (but with far more depth).