Week 10. Madre Chocolate 70% Jaguar Cacao

Cacao: 70%        Type: Dark chocolate  & white cacao       Origin: Guatemala

Region: Funda Lachua

Ingredients: cacao, cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, jaguar cacao, whole vanilla

Where to Buy: exclusively at Madre's retail shops in Hawai'i (other Madre bars available online here or at these retail locations)

Average Price: $16.00         Bar Size: 1.5 oz

Cacao Origin Map

Personal Tasting Notes

I eat a lot of chocolate. I taste a lot of unusual chocolates and chocolate derivative products. But this special bar from Madre is unlike anything I've ever had before. It is a perplexing chocolate, and blind tasting it was really an astonishing experience.

What I'm talking about is the inclusion of jaguar, or white, cacao, a sister-species of the chocolate tree (our beloved bean's scientific name is theobroma cacao, whereas this white cacao's name is theobroma bicolor) that can be fermented, dried, roasted, winnowed, conched, and molded just like regular chocolate, but which posesses an entirely different flavor. It is blonde-nutty in color, looking like a ribbon of peanut butter when swirled in with dark Guatemalan chocolate, and the moment a bite of it hits the palate, it's clear that the jaguar cacao really is an entirely different animal. 

The aroma is sweet, of peanut butter and raisins and toffee, and that nut buttery flavor persists throughout. In between, a lot of things happen: notes of cherry and vanilla waft through, along with a very strong middle flavor of something I can only describe as marijuana. My palate couldn't decide if I loved it or hated it, but in any case, this bar kept me coming back for another bite, to try and ferret out exactly what I was tasting. It is an intense and very rich bar that wants to be eaten in very small bites and savored, rolled around on the tongue, and paid attention to.

 Among, perhaps, the rarest bars in the world, I'm grateful to have had the experience, brought to me once again by my semi-nomadic sister-in-love, who knows a good thing when she sees it, and never fails to bring me back something complex and exciting--a tiny slice of her adventures that I can live out right here at home.

Maker Profile

Madre Chocolate is a Hawai'ian bean to bar chocolate maker that has been on the craft chocolate scene since 2010. Co-founders Nat Bletter and David Elliott, have between them,  many years of experience in botany, environmental justice issues, sustainable agriculture, travel, good food, you name it. Their collaboration to found one of the very few chocolate companies working with cacao grown on American soil has been energized and built around the principles they continue to learn by observing nature (for instance, they plan their delivery routes in Hawai'i using ideas they picked up from watching ants finding the most efficient routes in their micro-environments). Everything about their company is imbued with a sense of purposefulness and more than a nod to environmental preservation and equitable trade for farmer, maker, and consumer alike. Read more about their fascinating story and watch a short video on their methods here.

Grading Rubric

Criteria
Good Characteristics
5
4
3
2
1
0
Bad Characteristics
Appearance
clean, shiny, snappy
  
  
  
  
  
  
bloomed, dull finish, no snap
Aroma
complex, distinctive
  
  
  
  
  
  
neutral, boring, flat
Start
flavors develop quickly
  
  
  
  
  
 
flavors slow in coming, uninteresting
Middle
flavors develop and change
  
  
  
  
  
  
flavors remain the same as the start
Finish
flavors change again and linger well beyond the chocolate
  
  
  
  
  
  
flavor ends abruptly, uninterestingly
Mouth Feel
smooth, velvety
  
  
  
  
  
  
grainy, inconsistent
Personal Preference
love, love, LOVE it!
  
  
  
  
  
  
meh.
Criteria
5
4
3
2
1
0
Characteristics
Appearance
  
  
  
  
  
  
5: clean, shiny, snappy
0: bloomed, dull finish, no snap
Aroma
  
  
  
  
  
  
5: complex, distinctive
0: neutral, boring, flat
Start
  
  
  
  
  
 
5: flavors develop quickly
0: flavors slow in coming, uninteresting
Middle
  
  
  
  
  
  
5: flavors develop and change
0: flavors remain the same as the start
Finish
  
  
  
  
  
  
5: flavors change again and linger well beyond the chocolate
0: flavor ends abruptly, uninterestingly
Mouth Feel
  
  
  
  
  
  
5: smooth, velvety
0: grainy, inconsistent
Personal Preference
  
  
  
  
  
  
5: love, love, LOVE it!
0: meh.

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