Friday, June 18, 2010
Rain Republic 70% Cacao from Guatemala
Rain Republic makes small batch chocolate with locally sourced ingredients right in Guatemala. Naturally this means that the cocoa beans are Guatemalan, specifically they’re from Suchitepequez. In addition the other two major ingredients are also Guatemalan, the sugar (evaporated cane juice) is from Retalhuleu and the vanilla beans are from Coban. The only thing that’s not local is the soy lecithin.
I first discovered them at the Fancy Food Show in January 2010, but was intrigued when I saw their first American offering was via wine.woot.com in April.
The idea of single origin is nothing new, but the notion that the product is actually produced in the country of origin is quite appealing. (In many cases cacao farmers in very isolated areas never taste the products made from their beans.)
This triple single origin is packaged quite cleverly. The bar is sealed in a light mylar sleeve. That’s tucked into a paperboard box made of recycled content. the construction of the box makes it easy to put the uneaten chocolate back in and tuck in the tabs to protect the bar. The graphic design is bold and original, focusing on the story of the bar as well as the ingredients - a little line drawing of each item is the main focus and provide the only color.
The bar is 2 ounces and what I’ve found with a lot of these single origin bar is that’s plenty for me. Though most candy portions are about 2 ounces, 1 ounce of very dark chocolate is plenty satisfying for me. That’s probably good because one bar contains 360 calories and 76% of my saturated fat for the day.
That fat is what attracts me to the bar. While it’s 70% cacao, it’s obvious that much of that cacao content isn’t the solids, it’s the silky cocoa butter.
The bar smells smoky and dusty. There are woodsy notes, but mostly it’s like cocoa instead of chocolate. The rather dark and chalky looking exterior fooled me. I was concerned that it would be dry. It has a distinct snap and great tempering. There’s a quick melt on the tongue and it was apparent to me right away that this was smooth stuff. It’s quite silky and rather light on the sugar. There are dark burnt sugar notes (evaporated cane juice often contributes those flavors as it has more molasses in it). It’s woodsy and slightly acidic, so there’s a dry and bitter middle portion in the tasting. The silky cocoa butter covers that very well. A little hint of coffee, licorice and rosemary. But a good, robust flavor profile.
The big question now is where to get more of this! If you’re curious keep an eye on their facebook page. They also have some great photos there of the farmers and cacao trees. The price was $3 per bar on Woot, but I don’t know what the retail will be. $5 would be reasonable.
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.