By IslaReina, 2009-04-12
I don't know much about this topic but it doesn't look good.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/5119145/Diseases-hurting-chocolate-crop.html
By IslaReina, 2009-03-23
I was honored to visit the operation of chocolate maker Carlos Eichenberger last week in Guatemala City. Me, just a mere student here for one year but he was nice and patient enough to take the time and show a complete stranger into his home and show me the complete process from bean to bar. Carlos buys the already fermented cacao and then starts with roasting and goes all the way to wrapping each bar himself. Everything about his process was precise and maniacally exact. If there was so much as a blemish in a finished bar, it was stashed in the reject pile for re-melting and re-doing. Isnt this what you want from a chocolate maker? Perfection.I admit I was a dark-chocolate snob but every ingredient is such a high quality that every chocolate he makes is exceptional. I take back all the bad things I ever said about white chocolate. I think my favorite is the 60% and 70% Cacao Las Acacias. The texture is extremely creamy and smooth and lasts for a long time in your mouth, if you dont chew, that is. I almost want to say that the chocolate is playful. There is a slight fruity-ness but not enough to pin down a specific fruit, for me anyway. There may have been a hint of coffee and somewhat of a smokyness, but it wasnt overpowering at all. I paired some of the 60% Las Acacias with a Guatemalan black tea called Te Chirrepeco and that was one exquisite dessert. If youre in Guatemala and want to take full advantage of true Guatemalan cacao, then you must have Danta chocolate.
By IslaReina, 2009-03-11
I've been in Guatemala for about 2 1/2 months now and today I had my first taste of good chocolate. It was quite by accident. I stopped by the University and I spotted a corner bakery where I could enjoy a coffee and make a few phone calls. On my way out I saw wrapped in cellophane with bright yellow ribbons, bars of chocolate. It read "Chocol 'ha: Chocolate Oscuro, 62% Cacao". Mmmmm! I immediately bought it, it was a good deal for 18Q (about $2.50 or so). It was delicious! I really should have bought the another; there were only two.I wasn't expecting it to be very good so I ate the first bite quickly and then the burst of flavor automatically slowed my chewing. I let it sit in my mouth for a while so I could explore the flavors and texture. It was creamy but a little hard; there was a bit of bloom on the corners of the bar. There was no graininess at all, a very uniform, creamy texture. The flavors were not too complex but they were there. It was more full-bodied that I would expected; I immediately inhaled a coffee flavor and just a hint of tobacco. After a few seconds it started to remind me of the forest -- maybe a mossy flavor? Or was it the scent of fresh, wet dirt? Whatever it was, I really liked it. It was quite an earthy piece of chocolate; not too bold but what I might call 'stately'.I called the phone number listed on the little label and the woman and I spoke for almost 30 minutes. She told me how her husband quit his job to start making chocolate, and they have a small set-up in what used to be their children's playroom. She was so pleasant and invited me to lunch and to come and see their small operation. She said that they didn't have a website just yet, but they were working on it. It was a good day!
By IslaReina, 2009-02-16
Hi! My name is Michelle and I'm an American student living in Guatemala City while I teach at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala and write my dissertation. Although my studies have nothing to do with chocolate, I'm very interested in collecting artifacts or replicas that deal with chocolate, chocolate making and enjoying. I've read quite a bit on the subject and have entertained the idea of writing a book on tasting chocolate; how to tell the good from the garbage. I can't write that book yet however because I'm still in the research phase. I've been in Guatemala for a month now and have yet to find any good chocolate, or factories, but I admit that I haven't looked that thoroughly. I will try to keep up my blog with my findings. All in the name of research!