Single-Origin Chocolate – What Does it Mean and Does it Matter?
Cacao Tree – Hacienda Jeanmarie in Aguada Puerto Rico
Single-origin chocolate is chocolate that’s made from one variety of cacao harvested in one region, small family-owned farm or even a specific country. Cacao is a plant whose beans take on the characteristics of the region where it’s grown. This is called terroir. Like grapes grown for wine, cacao from specific regions can be fruity, earthy, floral or berry to name a few. Tasting single-origin chocolate is a fun, sensory-driven experience.
When cacao from different regions or countries is blended, the effect of terroir is lost. That doesn’t mean that blended chocolates are not as good. In fact, blends are used by some of the world’s finest chocolate makers and chocolatiers. Some cocoa beans that are ordinary on their own can be great in blends. (Beware that the big mass market producers will use blends to improve the flavor of inferior cheaper beans).
While I love the distinct flavor of single-origin chocolate, I use Guittard Chocolate blends for most of my creations because their chocolate is of the highest quality, some of the best in flavor, always fair-trade and transparent (able to trace the crop directly back to the source. This term can relate to either blends or single-origin). Their beans come from small farms with long family traditions and they work closely with cacao growers to develop desired chocolate flavors in the beans.
Single-Origin Peruvian Truffles with Peruvian Cacao Nibs
Inspired by my trips to Cusco, Peru and the Hacienda Jeanmarie in Aguada, Puerto Rico, I’m using single-origin chocolate for two new truffle creations this season. And our solid Plum Brook Dragonflies will now be crafted from single-origin chocolate from different countries. They are like a passport to the world of chocolate!
At Plum Brook Chocolate our mission is to create fine quality, handmade artisan chocolate while enriching the local community and the communities of cacao farmers far away.