woensdag 25 januari 2012

Chocolate and the Tejate - Drink of the Gods

Chocolate and the Tejate - Drink of the Gods
This aromatic tree produces flowers that are closely associated with traditional cacao use. Long before the arrival of the Spanish in Mexico, the Aztecs used these highly pungent flowers, known as Cacaoxochitl, to flavor their chocolate drinks. It was known in the ancient times by names of Poyomatli, Xochicacaohuatl or Cacahuaxochitl. These words literally mean, "flower of cacao" even though the plant is not botanically related to cacao. In Mexico today these flowers are known in Spanish as "flor de cacao" or "rosita de cacao" or "madre cacao".
Triple cacao: dark chocolate 70% 


Xoconusco chocolate bars made with the aromatic maple-scented Oaxacan spice rosita de cacao

The flowers are mixed with chocolate and other ingredients to concoct Oaxacan cacao drink tejate, a spicy beverage with medicinal and religious significance. This energy drink, "the drink of the gods" was originally served only to the ruling elite of Aztecs. They also used to drink cold chocolate mixed with corn and the Rosita de Cacao which they called Poyomatli.

The earliest known record of Rosita de Cacao was noted in 1582 in The General History of New Spain by Fray Bernardino de Sahagun where he affirmed that the name comes from Cacahuaxochitl and means "cacao flower" or Xochicacahuatl which means "precious flowers" and has fragrant and penetrating odor.

Montezuma's Secret Exotic Aphrodisiac Beverage
Legend tells that the Aztec Emperor Montezuma drank 50 cups of a cold chocolate drink (xocolatl) per day, making him perhaps the greatest chocoholic of all time. He took no other beverage than the xocolatl, flavored with Vanilla, Rosita de Cacao, and other spices. It had consistency of honey and slowly dissolved in the mouth. Montezuma consumed his xocolatl in goblets before entering his harem and this led to the belief xocolatl was an aphrodisiac.
When Cortez burst into the 1520's Aztec court, he discovered the aged Montezuma reveling in the pastime of a royal harem. Upon learning that the basis for this royal pleasuring was an aphrodisiac brew forbidden to all but the court,
Besides cacao the drink contained Chilies, Vanilla beans and Cacahuaxochitl (Rosita de Cacao) and other herb ingredrients.

Vanilla planifolia, Vanilla fragrans
Family: Orchidaceae
Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean, French Vanilla, Vanilla Orchid
Origin: South East México and Guatemala

Source: Top Tropicals and Madre Chocolate Hawaï


donderdag 19 januari 2012

Daintree Estates chocolate, first Australian-origin chocolate in the world.

Daintree Estates chocolate is the first commercially produced chocolate to be made from cocoa beans grown in Australia.
"Fair trade Australian chocolate is a very different story. Quality chocolate is becoming like coffee. People really want to taste origin chocolate now. So we see great future in cocoa". These are the words of Don Murday Chairmain of the Australian Cane Farmers Association and Director of Mossman Central Mill.

On the 11th November 2011, I first contacted Daintree Estates Chocolate and there for I have to thank a friend of me who was going to visiting Australia, Dirk Hoorelbeke.

First mail to Daintree Estate :

...Yes, Dirk has made some inquiries with me about our products and we have been discussing what and how he can possibly take something back with him from Australia. Our chocolate has a very fruity style flavour. Here is one blog write-up: http://www.chocablog.com/features/daintree-estates-australian-cocoa/ Another chocolate maker in Australia described our dark chocolate as "a unique pineapple flavour note accompanied by hints of liquorice layered on intense chocolate"
From this day on I was very curious to taste thise chocolate, because Australian chocolate is something really special for Europe and of course for Belgium, as they ( the ignorants ) always say the place to be if you want to find good chocolate!
Map of Australia with  Queensland highlighted
File:Queensland far north map.PNG

Daintree is a national park in Far North Queensland, Australia, 1,502 km (933 mi) northwest of Brisbane and 100 km (62 mi) northwest of Cairns. It was founded in 1981 and is part of the Wet Tropics of Queensland. In 1988 it was granted listing as a World Heritage List. The park consists of two sections, with a settled agricultural area between them which includes the towns of Mossman and Daintree Village.

Forged from volcanic eruptions, wildfires, cyclones and climatic upheavals, the Daintree is the
oldest rainforest in the world. Its rich, ancient soils have formed over 135 million years.
The Daintree area is slightly smaller than Sulawesi, the largest cocoa-growing region in Indonesia which has about 400,000 small farms. It shares similar hot and humid growing conditions, with tropical monsoon rains that help cocoa trees thrive.In other words, the Daintree is the perfect place for the new breed of cocoa bean, and an exciting new locally-operated food industry for Australia.

It’s also convenient that Mango Park is situated on the road to our region’s most famous natural asset; the magnificent Mossman Gorge. More than 800,000 people a year go right past the Mango Park gate to see it. So this is the ideal place for the Daintree Estates Interpretive Centre which will be built in the next few years.

My contacts with Tim Davies of Daintree Chocolate Estate became very hopeful after this mail:

...Dirk has arranged to get some of our chocolate, but he wants to keep it a surprise what he is getting J So you’ll be getting some samples upon his return from Australia.

We are not in a position to supply much overseas at this point in time, but since Dirk and yourself have been so nice and shown such an active interest in our new Australian grown couverture, I would be happy to supply more to you in small batches if you find it has the good quality and desirable properties you need to support your own magnificent work...

Good for me to have another friend who was going to be in Australia for some time at this period (Brian), so he would take a box of bonbons as gift for Tim Davies.

His reaction just followed soon after he collect from Brian:
...Wow – today I received the chocolates you sent! Thank you so much – they are just magnificent. I’ve only tasted a few so far...
I received the Daintree chocolate bars and couverture on 24th of December,

FLAVOR: early releases show light white fruits (pineapple, nectarine, lychee) with volcanic / alluvial cocoa deposits running beneath. thanks to Mark from http://www.c-spot.com/chocolate-census/bars/?maker=Daintree+Estates

The bars we are selling for € 6.00 in the shop and they are doing well for the moment and Australian chocolate is rather special.

I like the 70% bar: perhaps a little to sweet, no bitterness and quitte a intensity of cacao flavors (good roast), balance between cacaobutter and mass is nice.

The 44%: for me maybe to sweet but also a nice balance in the structure and a great lenght an exquisite chocolate for milkchocolatelovers.

Ripe Australian cocoa pod growing at Mossman, Queensland

Daintree Estates was established in 2010 by a group of passionate 'cocoa / chocolatephiles' and cocoa growers in Tropical Far North Queensland, bringing together skills of farming, processing, chocolate making and marketing.
Daintree Estates is committed to growing and producing the highest quality cocoa products in the most ethical, environmentally sustainable and equitable ways possible.

"Being a pastry chef with a passion for chocolate creations makes me something of the ideal cocoa farmer. My wife and I are proud owners and operators of Shannonvale Estate, a lovely valley property near Mossman in the hinterland behind Port Douglas (one of the four growersof cocoa beans for Daintree Estate).
I'm very proud to have these chocolate bars in the shop and on this moment I'm stocking as only one genuine Australian origin chocolate outside of Australia!
Pretty sure this won't be for a long time because this Daintree Estate chocolate getting even more better in the near future!
I would like to thank: Dirk, Brian and Tim for helping me sharing this Australian Origin Chocolate of Daintree and I'm greatfull to Daintree for the values they are folowing.

The images on this page are owned by Daintree Cocoa Pty Ltd. Unless you have been granted written permission to reproduce or otherwise use these images for a commercial purpose, you are hereby granted the right to download these images for personal non-commercial use only. To obtain permission for commercial use, please email us here.

woensdag 11 januari 2012

Menakao Truly Madagascar

This is wath I was waiting for now for about two years, a truly Madagascar chocolate bar, and thanks to the help from a "Gourmandine"friend I received a very special one, thanks.

Wath I can tell you more about Menakao. While the Menakao brand was launched in 2011, Cinagra is a producer of fine quality chocolates since 2006. The factory is located on the outskirts of Antananarivo, approximately 15 kilometres from the capital centre. About 20 full-time employees work at the factory, where production facilities meet HACCP standards. 

A dark chocolate sweetened with measure, just enough to release the deep cocoa flavour and clear notes of red fruits and citrus. An intense, elegant and bright chocolate with a long, rich and subtle acidic finish.
Sugar helps to open and reveal the aromas. Here, the absence of sugar creates a bar with deep cocoa notes, bold and contained. As the cocoalic or (ground cocoa beans) melts the aromas are released, robust - like a punch - over a subtle bright background characteristic of the fruity Madagascan beans. Perfect after a meal.

It is a bean to bar chocolate produced in Madagascar. Mena means red in Malagasy. Red like the color of the cacao, the color of the land, the color of the sambirano river, where the cacao is coming from. It is a superior washed cacao, made in the low and high sambirano valley. It comes from an "encadrement paysannal". Which means the planters follow the directives to produce the best beans. The small amount produced allow a 5 to 6 days drying period.
An original yet elegant milk chocolate, whose buttery and vanilla notes are reminiscent of the indulgence of fudge, which delicately transition to a light atmosphere. All this is conveyed by the fruity and citrus aromas which are characteristic of the Madagascan cocoa beans.

The employees are paid more that the minimum wage. They have free transportation to go and come back from work, free meals for lunch, free social security for them and their family, but not least they work in excellent conditions and something probably close to luxury in Madagascar, they have hot showers. I know for us this is so basic but in Madagascar it's luxury.
The brightness of the pepper combined with the citrus and lemongrass notes of the combava dance together with the red fruit notes of the chocolate to create an indulgent and refreshing moment, with a juicy feel... The combined acidity of the Madagascan beans and the combava delightfully prolong the freshness until the last moment.
In addition all ingredients are coming from Madagascar. Including packaging.
Menako is launching a line of 7 bars, including some with fine spices from Madagascar.

The bright and red fruit notes of the chocolate dance in turn with the earthy and woody notes of the black pepper, the floral and fresh notes of the pink pepper and the unique aromatic palette of the wild Madagascan pepper: woody, earthy, floral and citrusy. An intense, refreshing and luxurious moment, 100% Madagascan.

The bars are really nice. The packaging is also really nice. Chloe Doutre Roussel (remember El Ceibo and a close friend) helped with the creation of this line. She was the consultant for the packaging and for the recipes. What I really like is the fact you can re-use the boxe. Also the chocolate is really, really very nice.
A chocolate that shakes you, with deep cocoa flavours and a clear acidic finish. For an intense experience.
The crunchy cocoa nibs give a rustic and robust touch which delightfully dance with the freshness of the citrus and red fruit notes of the chocolate. The pinch of salt perfects the experience, bringing a juicy feel, enhancing the brightness conveyed by the subtle acidity and the fruits.

You can learn more about the products on www.menakao.com 
The website is really amateur at the moment, but will shortly improve.


Also some impressions of  Kerstin who love chocolate