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‘Single origin’ is cacao, or cocoa beans grown in a particular geographical area; and like a good quality coffee or fine wine, the flavour of the chocolate is determined by the characteristics of the soil, climate, and other geographical elements of where it’s grown.
Our ‘Origin Collection’ is made up of a stunning array of single origin chocolate bars, all sourced from different parts of the world, and made into different percentages of chocolate.
Our single origin chocolate bars are predominantly from South America, as this is the area in the world where the exquisite aroma and flavours classified as Fino De Aroma are most widely found; only 8% of the world’s cocoa is distinguished by this classification.
Single origin chocolate bars are more often found to be dark chocolates, as the addition of milk can potentially diminish the flavour of the cocoa beans; so it is with this range you will be able to taste the different cocoa solids.
When we’re talking cocoa percentages and cocoa solids, we felt we needed to introduce a heavy weight 80% into the range, and due to our investment into a Ugandan community, and after visiting a Ugandan cocoa farm, we chose a bar to bring some diversity to our predominantly South American bias. We have found that there is a lingering acidic taste with the Ugandan beans, and it works well with the higher cocoa percentages.
In any bar of chocolate, there are several key ingredients to make milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate: cocoa mass, cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla, anc the addition of milk for the white and milk chocolates.
The cocoa solids or percentage indicates how much of the final ingredient is cocoa mass or cocoa butter, added together. An 80% cocoa solids bar is made up of 80% cocoa mass and cocoa butter and then the remaining 20% will be the sugar, vanilla and soya lecithin.
A 61% cocoa solids chocolate bar, means 61% is cocoa mass and cocoa butter; the remaining 39% sugar, vanilla, and soya lecithin. So in a nutshell, the higher the cocoa solid percentages, the lower the amount of sugar in the chocolate.
In a milk chocolate, milk would also be listed as a percentage, but the cocoa solids are still listed as the lead ingredient, with the milk powders, sugars, vanilla and soya lecithin making up the other ingredients.
The general thinking is that the higher the cocoa percentage, the better quality the chocolate is; and it will certainly be more expensive due to the higher cost of the ingredients (as the cocoa is expensive). However, does this mean it’s a better quality? Not really.
The reason being is the flavour of a single origin chocolate bar is determined in part by the type of cocoa bean used, how it was fermented once separated from the pod, and then the roasting process which it undertook.
The final process to have an effect on the chocolate bar you buy is the conching process, which is where the finished chocolate with all the additional ingredients of sugar, milk, vanilla etc is stirred over a period of up to several days, and this is what ensures the mouth feel you experience when you enjoy a bar of chocolate. Is it smooth on your tongue, or does it leave a gritty feel? These sensations are all down to the conching process.
So there you have it; single origin chocolate bars in a nutshell. If you are not usually one to try single origin dark chocolate, I would suggest you start off at the lighter end of the percentages, and try our Peru 64%, working your way up to the 100% Colombian.