D is for Donkey Milk

After tasting camel milk chocolate last week, I was expecting this week’s bar to be funky and gamey. I was in for a surprise!

Honestly, I have never really thought about donkey’s milk before aside from hearing that that Cleopatra used to bathe in it daily as part of her beauty regimen and that Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister also used the milk for skincare (as it was thought to remove wrinkles and make the skin whiter). However, did you know that donkey’s milk is the closest to human milk in nutritional value and is often used as a substitute around the world for infants to build their immune systems? Hippocrates, the “father” of medicine, was the first to write about the benefits in ancient Greece and would prescribe it to cure various ailments. According to the packaging, donkey’s milk is rich in lactose, but poor in whey protein.

Speaking of the packaging for this bar, it is nearly identical to last week’s bar, aside from the name of the product: Cioccolato al latte d’asina.

The classic Domori white, maroon and gold are used on the exterior with the interior foil repeating the color scheme and company logo design.

This particular bar wasn’t available locally, so I had to order it from Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli in Utah. Somewhere along the way, the thin bar became segmented in half and this might have caused some of the chocolate “dust” that slightly marred the overall surface of the square bar.

My initial sniffs of the chocolate resulted in an aroma I couldn’t really articulate. My scribbled notes say: salty? / smells like a grain or leaves or an herb. Later in the day, I read a review describing the scent as chamomile flowers and that sounds about right.

Perhaps due to the width of the bar, breaking one of the two mini squares in half resulted in a brittle snap. The flavor reminded me of hazelnuts and was sweet with notes of honey, caramel or butter. I found that the morsel melted evenly, though not too quickly, on the tongue. Overall, the mouthfeel wasn’t entirely smooth and felt a little abrasive after a couple of tastings. I noticed a lightly grassy, but not unpleasant, aftertaste that lingered briefly. For 22.5% donkey milk, this was a very mild and palatable chocolate, but perhaps that was also due to the intrinsic characteristics of the criollo cacao that was used.

Sources say that a lactating donkey typically produces less than 2 liters of milk per day (whereas a cow can produce 30-40 liters per day), so you can imagine that the market for this type of milk is small. I’m not sure where Domori sources their milk, but I’ve read that there is a donkey farm in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and that country was the first to put this milk on the market.

So, if you are ready for a taste adventure, but a little apprehensive about eating a non-cow’s milk chocolate, this might be the way to go!

To find out more about Domori, please check out: http://www.domori.com/en/

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