Saturday, September 23, 2017

Zamora! The Newest Askinosie Single-Origin Chocolate Bar

Askinosie Zamora 72% Bar
It isn't often that a socially minded chocolate brand comes out with a new product. When you care about the land that sustains the cocoa trees and the people who care for and harvest from those trees, developing a new products requires more forethought than just what added flavors or new shapes might inspire consumers to give it a try. If all you are really doing is a new shape -- square versus circular -- or a new added flavor or ingredient -- caramel to a plain chocolate bar -- you spend a lot of time on marketing research as well as in the kitchens or labs. But if you are looking for a new source of cocoa beans and you want to partner with the people who make it, you have to not only interview then but let them get to know and trust you. That process takes time. Thus I was thrilled when Askinosie Chocolate announced their first new bar in seven years. Today we are going to look at the Zamora 72% bar. I will include the normal full sensory descriptions as well as information about the bar, how and why it was created, and which cocoa farming community is benefiting from the production and sell of this product. I was sent two of the 3 ounce bars to try out in exchange for this feature article; no other form of compensation was received.

Zamora 72% Bar from Askinosie
The bars coming in paper that you can see in our first photo and this one as well. They are further in a plastic sleeve that I cut open. Immediately the scent of darker chocolate greeted my nose. As you may recall, Your Chocolate Priestess is a fan of darker chocolate. This comes in at 72% of the ingredients are chocolate liquor or mass. In fact this bar is just three ingredients: cocoa beans of the Arriba Nacional variety, organic cane sugar, and cocoa butter. This means that the bar is also vegan and gluten free but it is also certified Kosher as well. This is as pure as your chocolate gets unless you want to go real dark and no have sugar or a sweetener at all, Sisters and Brothers, and I don't think most of us what that in a bar we eat. Each of these 3 oz bars are two servings (9 squares) but with such pure dark chocolate I generally don't even want let alone need a full serving to get a cocoa rush. I let the first square I break off just melt on my tongue. Yes their is a bitterness to it but as I let it melt I also get a sweetness that is a bit like raisins. The melted chocolate is thick and has a bit of a fudgy texture to it. While the wrapper suggests a mocha flavor I luckily do not get that because I'm not a coffee fan at all. Instead there is an intense earthiness to the flavor. The cocoa buzz begins in my head as the single square finishes melting and the world around me seems brighter and I feel more relaxed. This is better than any painkillers you can buy over the counter or from a doctor. I take a water break and a few minutes to clear my mouth before biting and chewing the next square. The chocolate is quiet, not at all what I'm expecting. It is smooth and creamy as I chew it, the intensity of the raisin like sweetness is more intense as it the bitterness; ah, there is a bit of mocha edge. I'll let the other squares melt in my mouth then.

Askinosie Zamora Bar Label
The beans come from Zamora in the Amazonia region of southeastern Ecuador. According to the International Cocoa Organization, Ecuador is the 5th largest producer of cocoa beans. Some news articles in the past few years have argued that the region may produce some of the best cocoa beans in the world. One reason may be that cooperative farming communities have been gaining ground there in the past couple of decades compared to the huge plantations elsewhere. The Shuar tribe have been cocoa farmers for almost 8000 years! The woman on the wrapper is Monica Guaman who is the lead farmer partner who works with Askinosie. Her family has their own farm and she head a cocoa coop in their village, called APEOSAE. The coop cultivates the trees, harvest them, and ferments them using wooden boxes and the sun. The beans are lightly roasted then conched for a short time to before the product is ready to be used by Askinosie. The area does not only produce cocoa beans but also coffee, lime, mandarin, plantains, and other foods.That gives them more economic flexibility and stability.

Askinosie has done it again! They earn Sacrament Worthy Status with the 72% Dark Chocolate Bar from Zamora, Amazonia.

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