O is for O’Payo

In a completely unintended coincidence, this week’s featured bar is also NOT an origin, but another trademarked name from Ingemann Cacao Fino (Fine Cacao), as I discovered last week while researching my “N” bar. Who would have predicted that finding appropriate origins would be so challenging?! However, even if I resorted to choosing chocolates from countries whose name starts with a given letter, did you know that only Oman starts with “O”?! (besides, I don’t think they grow cacao there!)

SIDEBAR NOTE: While I love Brasstown’s re-designed colorful packaging accented with gold foil stamping and featuring a silhouette of the Managua, Nicaragua skyline at the bottom, I was really hoping to receive one of their older packaging bars since that is what was listed on Amazon.com as being stocked by Caputo’s Market & Deli in Utah.

According to the inside of the box, “O’Payo cacao beans are sourced from Waslala, from the Bosawás Nature Preserve in the northern mountains of Nicaragua. This area was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1997. These fruity cacao beans are produced by a cooperative of about 150 farmers located in the largest rainforest in Central America.”

It was interesting to learn that this Western Hemisphere rainforest is second only to Brazil’s Amazon! Want to know more about this area? Here is the link from the UNESCO website.

Removing the thin rectangular bar from the slightly too large plastic inner pouch, my nose was greeted with a strong roasted coffee aroma.

The glossy dark brown color/finish was marred by a multitude of tiny burst air bubbles (often in a straight line running down the length of the bar) amongst the detailed mold design of repeating diamonds and compasses.

As always, I’m fascinated with the images that I find on the backs of bars. By tweaking the photo below with a “noir” filter, the image “pops” more visibly. I see a platypus swimming next to the Muppet character “Beaker” – leave me a comment of what YOU see!

Segmenting tasting morsels with a medium snap (which sent tiny fragments of chocolate flying everywhere), there was an apricot and mango smell at the breaking point.

Placing a piece in my mouth, I experienced an immediate tropical flavor that reminded me of feijoa (pineapple guava), which then evolved to floral jasmine tea notes. Initially the slow/even melt felt cooling and refreshing on my tongue, but then became cumulatively more astringent during the finish. Chewing a piece (rather than melting it) intensified the acidic taste at the back of the throat. Seems like a little of this chocolate goes a long way since subsequent tastings during the same sitting were less pleasant than earlier ones. What causes this to happen and have you ever experienced anything like that before?! Please let me know!

For additional information on this Winston-Salem, NC craft chocolate maker, please visit their website: http://www.brasstownchocolate.com/

Can you believe that this is the last post of 2017! My Alphabet adventures will continue in a few days once we ring in the NEW YEAR! Wishing everyone a chocolate-filled 2018!

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