We've taken a much loved foundation dark - Esmeraldas 70 - and added flakes of fermented soy - Miso. The deeply savoury and salty umami profile of the miso we use stands up very well with the deeply chocolatey, juicy forest-fruity profile of our interpretation of Esmeraldas.
We have been making Miso for fun since 2018. It is a fermented product, fermented soy, wheat, barley and other seeds, grains and pulses etc are cooked, mashed and innoculated with Koji. This miso here took years to ferment, worth every minute!
Miso is a wonderful foodstuff. Packed full of nutrients and enzymes, it can be considered one of those perfect foods, that give us just what we need in terms of fibre, protein and carbs... Brilliant for biome health, readily available and easy to grow, it's a resource light, nutrient-dense food that tastes really satisfying. There's a massive range of profiles in miso, short ferments of a few weeks, even days sometimes, taste very different to a ferment of several years. Differing recipe balances of the same ingredients fermenting for the same time yield great variation of flavour. Ingredients can also vary a lot! So it's a complex fermentation process with massive variety, complexified by ingredients and balance, even sharing elements with cacao fermentation including time, materials (of fermentation vessel) and the number of times the batch is 'turned' - exposed to oxygen. With 2 identical batches, turning 1 batch once and the other batch twice will yield a different flavour profile. It's a whole world to explore: resource-light, natural processing, delicious and highly sensitive to the maker, it was just a matter of time before we were seduced.
The 70+0 represents an acessible Ecuadorian Dark, flawless and true to origin. A great example. Notes of blackberry and cookie spice in particular rise to the top of this bar, and break through the fabulous rich rounded chocolatey base. Dangerously delicious!
When we mention 70%, the '%' is a combination of the cacao bean and the added cacao butter. This is 70+0 because we add zero butter. If one added 15% cacao butter, you'd have a bar of 55+15. What 70% tells you with certainty, is that the bar contains 30% sugar. That much is sure! The % is more about sugar content, than cocoa bean content. Our 42% whites contain zero cocoa bean and 42% butter. :) Industrial darks can contain as little as 38% cacao bean.
You might think the 42% would be stronger than the 38%, but it's not always so simple.
After years of assessing cacao from Ecuador, we continued searching, found and approached Mr. Freddy Salazar for a sample. We were blown away with our initial tests and ordered a bulk shipment from Freddy’s cloud forests of Costa Esmeraldas – on the NW coast of Ecuador, 130 miles west of Quito.
Shortly after our shipment arrived in 2019 this cacao was recognized as World Top 50 by the Cacao of Excellence program. We are proud to be the first team in Europe to be working with his cacao, we've blended with an ultra fine Peruvian cacao to further explore what 70% can mean!
Freddy’s estate is young – situated on an ex-cattle ranch. Very steep, lush, layered slopes complicate the daily work but the year round climate stays quite stable with a short wet season and misty, drizzly summers in the aptly named Cloud Forests. Minimal temperature fluctuation means consistency is more achievable. Management of the cacao orchards creates over 40 full-time jobs in the local community of rural Esmeraldas.
Miso 70% Dark - Costa Esmeraldas, Ecuador - Dark
Organic Nacional Venezolano Amarillo cacao.