Saturday, August 25, 2012

Madre Chocolate Pink Peppercorn & Smoked Salt Hawaiian Dark Chocolate

1.5oz (43g) bar
Ingredients: Hawaiian cacao beans, organic sugar, o. cocoa butter, Mexican whole vanilla, Hawaiian pink peppercorn, Hawaiian mesquite smoked salt

Corporate Info: (Copied from 8/11/12) Madre is basically brand new (circa early 2011), the brainchild of a traveler working on social justice in Central America and a botanist with a focus on food and medicinal plants. There's a lot of passion behind everything written about the company: the “About Us” page of their website, the focus on ecology and direct contact with cacao farmers, the now-funded Kickstarter, and even reviews by fans of their chocolate and their shop in Kailua. The cacao is grown organically, some on the Big Island (in the only U.S. state in which this is possible) and some in Central America, and they make the chocolate bean-to-bar in Hawaii. Madre has already been talked up in Saveur and, at greater length, by food personality Aida Mollenkamp after she visited the founders in Hawaii.

Madre currently produces two lines of chocolate, one inspired by Latin American cacao and flavorings and the other using Hawaiian cacao and flavorings. All three of my bars come from the latter line and are listed as “limited edition” because of the seasonality and availability of some of the ingredients. As you might imagine, this is not cheap chocolate: All bars are 1.5oz (half the size of most common chocolate bars) and range from $6 to $10 each on the website, and as my mother experienced, they may cost slightly more in stores. The bars are sold all over Hawaii, but they look to be spreading quickly to high-end and specialty stores in the U.S. and abroad.

[Update 9/5: I forgot to change these scheduled posts to indicate that reader Emma has pointed out that the mold Madre uses is mass produced, and you can find it here. Now you know.]

Today's Bar: This is the one recommended to me by reader Emma, pink peppercorn and smoked salt in 70% cacao.

Appearance: Matte, slightly greyish brown chocolate with flecks of dark pink peppercorn and small salt flakes under the surface and on the back.

Smell: When I opened the package, this emitted a powerful herby peppercorn scent. Now, much later, close sniffing still finds pink peppercorn's prickly, resiny odor.

Taste: Texture is Madre's usual crunchy then smooth, with a strong, well incorporated hit of pink peppercorn. There's nothing hot or spicy here, just herbaceous and with minor support from occasional salt crystals. Unlike some other pink peppercorn chocolate I've tried, this contains such small pieces of the spice that I'm not getting the papery rind caught in my teeth, just a hint of grit and a lot of flavor. I don't taste a lot of smoke here, but it's not missed...perhaps it just contributes to complexity.

Conclusion: Madre Chocolate Pink Peppercorn & Smoked Salt Hawaiian Dark Chocolate is a must-try for lovers of pink peppercorn mixed with chocolate.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you liked it:) It's such a beautiful chocolate bar, isn't it?