Originally I was going to avoid inclusion bars this round (unless absolutely necessary) since “Round 2” was dedicated to them. However, once I saw this bar as part of Chocswap 2.0 with Lilla from Little Beetle Chocolates, I knew I couldn’t find a better (or more unique sounding) “L” origin!
The highest elevation within the city of San Francisco de Macorís in the North Region of the Dominican Republic is at Loma Quita Espuela. In case you’re curious about the name, here is what I found on Wikipedia:
“This name allegedly comes from the time when the Spaniards were exploring the island, since the hill was too steep to ride their horses, they had to dismount and remove their spurs and undertake the ascent on foot.”
It certainly sounds like an amazing place to experience nature, based on what I’ve seen from this website!
Now for the chocolate itself: Kilian & Close 52% D.R. with Périgord walnuts
Love the simplicity of this sturdy cardboard packaging with interlocking folds that remind me of a modified “dovetail joint” or “tongue and groove” assembly. There is a single triangular notched tab keeping the box closed and the plastic-wrapped bar tightly nestled within. In retrospect, the bar might have been too secure since the inner wrapper clung to the chocolate in places, leaving several shiny spots.
Honestly, I was NOT expecting there to be several candied walnut halves adhered to the back of the bar, though I should have guessed there might be visible inclusions when the package felt thick in my hand.
As if to alleviate my conscience (about only using non-inclusion, single origin bars for this round of the Alphabet), there were several spots sans walnuts so that I could taste the chocolate on its own!! 💕
The bar segmented easily with a sharp snap and there were hardly any air bubbles at the breaking point.
Handling the tasting morsels with my fingers, I noticed that the chocolate had an ultra-smooth, plastic-like texture to the touch. Perhaps this explains why it was difficult to melt on the tongue? Switching to chewing, creamy, nutty, caramel notes emerged. The flavor remained consistent throughout the tasting, until I got to a piece with the candied walnuts. Chomping on a walnut, there were earthy and lightly bitter notes relegating the slow roasted Dominican Republic cocoa beans to “second fiddle.”
Speaking of the walnuts, these come from Périgord (the old name for the former province in southwestern France) which, as of September 30, 2016, has a new name: Nouvelle-Aquitaine. In 2002, these walnuts were awarded PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) status even though they have been in the area since the Middle Ages!
Since Lilla purchased this bar in Germany during her summer road trip, the label is entirely in German.
It wasn’t until AFTER my tasting that I decided to translate the ingredient list. I was surprised to see coconut blossom sugar as the first ingredient and that there was also coconut milk powder at the end of the list! The flavor notes all make much more sense now! Not sure why I didn’t originally make the connection that there would be an alternate milk to retain its vegan certification! 😲
I’m slowly learning to embrace serendipity since not knowing all the information in advance allows you to taste without prejudice and pre-conceptions. 🙂 This was certainly a delicious journey of discovery!
To learn more about Kilian & Close, please visit their website: http://www.kilian-close.com/en.htm