|FEARLESS' Dark Midnight Bar|
The FEARLESS product is organic and perhaps to reinforce that point of view, their packaging is both thoughtfully green and awash with whimsy. The beguiling (and trademarked) missing “bite” is an intriguing physical representation of the company’s commitment to giving 1% of its annual profits to “change makers” recommended by its customers. A lovely attitude to go along with a high-quality (and seductively tasty) product.
|The missing "bite"|
The current trend in the food industry is to draw attention to the natural flavors our foodstuffs possess by processing them less and more strategically. Given that organic foods are often naturally imbued with unique flavors inherent to their original locale — the minerals in the earth, other plant life, an ocean breeze — all combine to make them unique to that time and place, so the trend toward allowing theses properties to shine through post-preparation is a smart move.
FEARLESS sources their beans from the Bahia Region of Brazil near Salvador, a locale with a rich history in the farming of cacao sometimes called the “Cacao Coast.” The specific beans FEARLESS uses are the Paraparazinho Maranao, a varietal of Brazilian cacao bean indigenous to coastal Brazil. Coming to fruition in the lush rainforests of Bahia, the beans acquire flavors that possess (according to FEARLESS press packet) “earthy and chocolate-y base-notes accented with bright hints of apricot and pineapple.” These nuanced flavors are carefully preserved during FEARLESS chocolate making process, taking our palates on a global journey and allowing the consumer to imbibe the flavor profiles of exotic locales.
The cacao beans used are sourced Direct-Trade, from sustainably managed family farms, where the workers receive better than Fair-Trade wages. This was not always the case. In fact, the history of the locale of these beans is a fascinating one. What began centuries ago as a slave trade has reimagined itself as a source of employment and hope for the small indigenous farmers of Brazil who have cultivated the cacao bean for as long as they can remember, in an unbroken chain of people who have worked this land for centuries. In fact the beans of Bahia have a history so intriguing that the culture of the cacao is the subject of a film documentary currently being developed to showcase the story of this Brazilian chocolate source as seen through the eyes of mystical farmer Diego Badaro. Another subject of the film, Chocolatier Frederick Schilling, happens to be an advisor to FEARLESS Chocolates. It would appear that those dedicated to bringing Fair-Trade Chocolate to the world are willing to work together to accomplish their goals. Inspiring.
70% Cacao - Super Seeds Hemp Chia Flax (Dark Chocolate):
Other than chocolate, the primary ingredients for this bar are hemp, chia and flax. The flax seeds give a nice crunch to the mouthfeel, adding an earthy, almost grassy taste on the palate. The nose of the bar is a rich, chocolate punch, but one can definitely smell the hemp pushing its way to the forefront. Hemp is after all, a fairly assertive flavor. FEARLESS bars are sweetened with the unassuming sweetness of Rapadura (unrefined cane sugar), a natural sweetener that enhances rather than competes with the lush dark flavor of the chocolate. Excellent.
70% Cacao - Sweet & Hot Hibiscus Ginger (Dark Chocolate):
The bar is also sweetened with Rapadura. Rapadura is the Brazilian name for the raw cane sugar that is processed by first extracting the pure juice from the sugar cane. Once extracted with the use of a press, the fluid is then evaporated over low heats, never allowing the product to cook. Stirred with paddles to aid in the evaporation the final mixture is pushed through a seive to produce a grainy raw sugar. Since the sugar is never separated from the molasses, this product has more nutrients, vitamins and minerals than other cane sugars. Rapadura lends its warm molasses taste to beautifully enhance the exuberance of the rich cacao, and is just sweet enough, without being cloying.
The nose of this bar is less earthy, a bite yields a slightly lighter, more chocolatey taste, and it is perhaps a little sweeter to the tastebuds than the Hemp/Flax bar. First the mouth experiences the energy of the ginger tucked gently into the heart of the chocolate, its heat naturally warming the mouth. The ginger is followed by a sweet subtle cacao. Just as the sensation of that combination fades, the light floral finish of the Hibiscus makes itself known, the breath exhaling its smoky flower.
70% Cacao - Matcha Green Tea / Peppermint (Dark Chocolate):
The nose of this bar is cool and minty, the green tea coming through in a hint of leafy verdant goodness. The prevalent sense is tea, and this bar is quite bitter, but in a good way, as though the chocolate were an athlete aware of his strength and flexing his muscle. I found I grew accustomed to the strength of the tea flavoring in the eating and it got better with each bite. The sweetness in this bar definitely comes as an after note to the leafy tea, the mint is quite subtle except in the initial nose. This bar may be the creamiest of the three. It is also rich with antioxidants, the candy bar version of a friend with benefits.
75% Cacao - Dark As Midnight (Dark Chocolate):
This bar is perhaps the simplest and yet remains surprisingly complex. With a touch more cacao than the others, the sugar again takes a back seat to the chocolate, which stands alone, its commanding presence demanding attention. There is an amazing complexity to the flavor of an artisan chocolate. As the chocolate bar deconstructs on the palate, the essences of a variety of flavors present themselves as if in shadow, spices carried on a breeze from Brazil, unfolding and revealing themselves slowly. The palate senses that which does and does not seem essentially chocolate, though clearly it is all the properties the cacao has carried in its seeds from its homeland. It is no wonder that chocolate is the stuff of legend.
All that, and healthy too? My husband is delighted that he has a new excuse to be eating more heart healthy chocolate. I plan on tucking a nice stash of the mint chocolate bars on his nightstand for medicinal purposes. Of course!
Check them out for yourself at http://www.FEARLESSchocolate.com/2010/ - bars can be purchased on line at http://www.FEARLESSchocolate.com/Shop/
And if you are as fascinated as I am with the growing world of global Fair Trade Organic Cacao, the Chocolate Documentary site bears checking out as well. http://chocolatedocumentary.com/
Yum! I want to try some of this! Thanks for always being so kind on twitter!ReplyDelete
Thanks Alison! I had the honor of judging the New Fall Chocolate Salon at Fort Mason last November and really got a feel for fine chocolate and what it takes to make it. These folks are sincere, they care about the world, and that passion comes through in their product!ReplyDelete