In a rare moment of calm, while Roman (age 1) slept, I taught Baron the art of tasting chocolate. At three I figure it’s never to early to start discovering how to savor and tune in to one’s taste buds. Baron’s ears perked as my lips uttered the word chocolate. He is a self-proclaimed “chocolate man” and seeing that we (on occasion) put chocolate in our milk, pancakes and sprinkle it on toast, I think it’s a fairly accurate claim.
We began by studying the three tasting subjects. I read the back of the packages and Googled images of the Amazon (where the beans originate) and of the football shaped cocoa pods that house the beans. Meanwhile my eager student fumbled with the packaging trying to uncover the dark chocolate. Hurrying the lesson I discussed the importance of the “snap” – the sound properly tempered chocolate makes when broken.
After we judged the appearance and the sound I asked Baron what he smelled. “Chocolate.” He replied, while I noted hints of citrus.
Finally we tasted.
“What does it taste like?” I asked.
“Chocolate.” He replied.
Trying to encourage him to taste beyond the chocolate I said, “I taste some banana.”
“I taste banana too.” Baron said only trying to make me happy. I was happy.
The samples we tasted were from a company whose chocolate tastes as good as the mission behind the bar.
Kallari is a farmer’s cooperative made up of 850 indigenous Kichwa families that harvest and market their own line of organic chocolate. All of the profits from the purchase of the intensely rich dark chocolate bars go back into the cooperative. You can enjoy your organic chocolate in good conscience because your purchase helps theKichwa people support sustainable development, health and education programs while also preserving their backyard – the rainforest.
Each of the three single-source dark chocolate bars packs an intense cocoa flavor balanced with hints of tropical fruits and citrus. In the 85% bar a mild sweetness lingers after your taste buds have been smothered with a buttery coat then tickled with tastes of passion fruit. The 70% bar is one that even milk chocolate purists will enjoy. It is dark yet sweet – reminiscent of Swiss Chocolate. Playing the part of Goldilocks in this tasting I found the 85% bar a bit to intense and the 70% much to sweet. Don’t get me wrong I would HAPPILY eat all three (and I have) but if I had my choice 75% would be it – a perfect marriage of rich coffee and tobacco with a slight bright taste of fruit balanced with a subtle sugar and vanilla finish.
You may have to pay a bit more for this bar that is “four times as fair as ‘Fair-Trade'” but you will do so with a clear conscience knowing you are playing a vital part in helping theKichwa teach and nourish their people while protecting their coveted land.
Note: Kallari sent me the chocolate. They did not however pay me to review their product. I am very fortunate to be able to taste some incredible new products (and some not so incredible) but I do not review them all. In fact it is rare that I review products. What I do choose to review are products or books that I find enjoyable and that help to promote good food and are created in a fair and sustainable way.