Monday, April 23, 2012

Madre Chocolate: Dominican, Jaguar & Rosita de Cacao

Madre Chocolate DominicanMadre Chocolate is a newer bean to bar chocolate maker based on O’ahu in Hawaii. The logo for Madre Chocolate tells a lot: it’s the Maya glyph for cacao. You can see a larger version in this Archeology magazine article. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be “smiling” on the Madre version, but that’s the way it looks to me.

Madre makes their chocolate in Hawaii, but uses personally sourced beans from Central America, where chocolate was born. The Madre Chocolate Dominican Dark Chocolate bar is made with fair trade beans, and is 70% chocolate using organic sugar and Mexican vanilla. There are no emulsifiers.

The bars are absolutely beautiful. They’re wrapped well, too. The bars come in a tough and really re-usable foil then inside a printed kraft paper sleeve. Many bars come in foil, but the foil tends to protect the bars only in the store, not after they’re opened. Here I was able to open the wrapper and rewrap the bar without any difficulty or mess.

Madre Chocolate

The bar itself has a beautiful mold, with designs inspired by Central America art and iconography. The Dominican Dark Chocolate bar is a deep reddish brown color with an excellent, crisp snap.

The bar has a strong dried cherry note to it and some deep, oaky smoked flavors. It’s on the bitter side with a lot of berry and spice to it, there are notes of hibiscus, black pepper, chipotle and black tea.

The melt is smooth, there’s some slight grit every once in a while, but for a chocolate with no emulsifiers, it’s exceptionally smooth with a crisp and brief dry finish.

Madre Chocolate Jaguar CacaoMadre Chocolate: Jaguar Cacao Chocolate from Central America was the bar that spurred me to get to know Madre Chocolate.

I’ve often wondered about the plants that chocolate comes from, like the diversity of citrus fruits. Theobroma is in the same family as the Mallows - which includes things like Kola Nut, Marshmallow, Okra and Cotton. Most chocolate aficinados already know about the three varieties of beans: criollo, forastero, and trinitario. So I was really excited to see that Madre Chocolate uses jaguar cacao, or mocambo which comes from the plant Theobroma bicolor. It’s another species of Theobroma and fruits in a similar fashion, in a large pod. The tree looks remarkably different but the beans can be treated in the same way: fermented, dried, roasted and conched. You can see more about all the Theobroma species on Wikipedia and pictures of the Mocambo on Fruitipedia.

The ingredients are organic cacao beans, organic sugar, organic cocoa butter, jaguar cacao and vanilla. So this is not a pure jaguar bar, but a combination. It is definitely lighter than the Dominican, looking almost like a milk chocolate bar.

Madre Jaguar

The texture is softer, almost lighter on the tongue than the Dominican. The flavors are also rather strange. There’s the standard cocoa notes, it’s woodsy and a smidge grassy. But then there are other flavors like ginger but also something more savory. I want to say leeks, but it’s not as obvious as something like onions, it’s just something faint in the background that isn’t quite “chocolate” in the traditional sense.

The melt is smooth, a little sticky but not sweet. There’s a milky quality to it, but of course there’s no milk in it at all. For folks looking for a dark chocolate or a dairy-less chocolate that’s not so bitter or astringent, this is that bar.

Madre Chocolate Rosita de CacaoThe final bar I have is the Madre Chocolate Rosita de Cacao which features cacahuaxochitl blossoms. The plant, Quararibea funebris, is also in the mallow family so distantly related to cacao. The blossoms were used to flavor the original Mayan chocolate drinks.

This bar also features the Dominican cacao of the first one I tried. The ingredients are the same: organic cacao beans, organic sugar, organic cocoa butter and then rosita de cacao and Mexican whole vanilla.

Madre Jaguar

That’s the Jaguar on top and the Dominican bar on the bottom, to show the difference in the color.

I’d read that rosita de cacao smells like maple sugar and I found it’s absolutely true. The woodsy, sweet notes of maple syrup were front and center when I unwrapped the foil.

This bar was a little grittier than the plain Dominican, but had a very different flavor profile. The dried berry notes were still evident, but the woodsy profile was much stronger. It was very oaky, very vanilla with strong bourbon, leather and pipe tobacco flavors. The texture did have a little fibery grit to it, which I’m guessing is the flower. At times it was like fig seeds and seemed to intensify the soft florals if I chewed them.

As part of a drink, I think I’d enjoy them more than in a bar. It wasn’t just the texture but the strength of the very perfumey vanilla that seemed to overwhelm some of the deep chocolate notes. It really softened the profile overall of the intense Dominican beans.

This exploration into the flavors and influences of modern chocolate was fascinating. It provided a lot more than just the few lines in books and articles that talk about the more savory foamy chocolate drink that was first served to Westerners.

Like many of the new bean to bar artisan chocolate makers, Madre is interested in many of the historical and sociological aspects of chocolate, responsible sourcing as well as exploring and recreating the rich history of chocolate for modern humans. It’s more expensive than buying a history book to try them all, but I guarantee you won’t forget it. I got my bars because I sponsored the group’s initiative to source Mexican cacao on Kickstarter. You can buy them on their website and they list stores that also carry the bars there.

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Name: Dominican Chocolate
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Madre Chocolate
Place Purchased: Madre Chocolate (via Kickstarter)
Price: $8.00 retail
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce:
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Organic, 8-Tasty, United States


Name: Jaguar Chocolate
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Madre Chocolate
Place Purchased: Madre Chocolate (via Kickstarter)
Price: $8.00 retail
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce:
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Organic, 7-Worth It, United States


Name: Rosita de Cacao Chocolate
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Madre Chocolate
Place Purchased: Madre Chocolate (via Kickstarter)
Price: $8.00 retail
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce:
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Organic, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:46 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     All NaturalCandyReviewChocolateEthically SourcedOrganic7-Worth It8-TastyUnited States

Comments
  1. This looks like pretty good chocolate.  When you got to the part about gritty, it instantly reminded me of Tazo chocolate.  I didn’t see it on the side bar, so I wanted to recommend it.  You guys should do a review on it!  We did ours here: http://www.daretoeat.com/a-bit-gritty-a-little-spicy-and-intensely-dark/

    But yeah, it’s a very intense and dark flavor profile with a gritty finish but has a spicy touch to it.  I hope you guys like it!

    Comment by david on 4/23/12 at 9:37 pm #
  2. Here’s some good info & a review of Jaguar / Bicolor without any cacao or cocoa added: http://www.c-spot.com/atlas/chocolate-strains/primary-strains/pataxte/

    Comment by Miquel on 4/24/12 at 8:19 am #
  3. Love the designs on the bars

    Comment by Bryant Mitchell on 4/26/12 at 8:38 am #

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