After coming back from Costa Rica, I was on a bit of a coffee kick. And while I still get excited about a good cup of joe, my break from chocolate didn't last long. Recently, I obtained a bar from Original Beans. This company caught my attention for a couple of reasons: 1) it's certified organic (and by international entities, not USDA); 2) each bar is single origin, with very distinct flavors (and one is even sourced 'wild'); and 3) each bar also contains a tracking number that can be used to learn more about conservation efforts tied to your chocolate. Not to mention, this Peruvian operation originated from a replanting operation, transitioning from intensive rice production to a cooperative cacao farming model. Wow. (If you need a reminder about cacao production and sustainability, read lessons from chocolate with a soul)
And did I mention that the chocolate is good? At 75%, it is not for the faint of heart. And the Piura Porcelana from the Piura River Valley in the Peruvian Andes, definitely has some earthy and fruity undertones. The Porcelana white cacao bean is a rarity with this "vibrant, fruity" taste. According to Original Beans, the tropical rainforest that maintains soil fertility and biodiversity is what makes the chocolate have such a vivid flavor profile. Finally, a mark of a high quality chocolate bar is the ingredients, or should I say rather, lack thereof. This bar consisted solely of 'direct trade' cacao beans, cacao butter, and cane sugar - no fillers such as soy lecithin.
Although the beans are still exported to Switzerland (unlike a few companies that manufacture bean-to-bar in country of origin...Madecasse?), this no-waste, socially and responsible approach gets a pretty solid thumbs up in my book.
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