My first experience with Santander from Colombia. A bean-to-bar producer in the north eastern part of the country, in a state called Santander. With beans sourced from 3 different municipalities, San Vicente de Chucurí, El Carmen, Rionegro and Landázuri.
A fair trade company with corporate distribution that focuses on fair treatment to farmers and their families.
Via their website and Compañía Nacional de Chocolates.
- Fair prices and cash payments to growers.
- Permanent attention to maintaining good working conditions for all our personnel.
- Contribution to the wellbeing of workers and their families.
- Support to research and new technological developments at the Company’s agriculture farm.
- Promotion of sustainable and friendly agricultural practices.
- Establishment of a new farm with other sector members.
- Strengthening of cooperatives and growers associations.
- Improvements to growers’ competitiveness and returns, emphasizing sustainable environmental management of crops.
- Active participation in the Cocoa National Council, the Sector’s Policy Committee and the Technical Committees that direct and determine the sector’s future.
- Sponsorship of educational programs in cooperation with the Presidency of the Republic.
- Execution of the educational program “Nacional de Chocolates loves children” in existence for more than ten years.
Type: Semisweet, 65%
Bean Varietal: Trinitario, Criollo, blends.
Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, natural vanilla.
Sample Size: 2.46 oz or 70g
Appearance: Large squared tablet with monogrammed molding. Deep dark brown, smooth surface with some very minor streaking on the surface.
Snap: Very firm snap, clean break lines, and nice audible snap sound.
Aroma: Opens up buttery, woody, and sweet. Then comes the big peanuts and coffee aromas. At first the nuttiness was a little bit almond-like. Then it opens up and it's all peanut butter and coffee. The coffee is a very rich brew on the aroma, a slight hint of honey and flowers, and a wee bit of spiciness on the aroma.
Taste: Sweet, roasted cacao, more sugars, big, flavorful, lightly astringent, fairly bitter for 65%, coffee, peanuts, peanut butter, slight hints of berries and a little spicy character in the center.
Texture: A little hard, medium-fast melt time, slightly creamy when it opens up, smooth texture.
I am wondering how much is natural and how much is a bit of forced influence on the aroma with the big coffee notes? They have bars with coffee beans in them and espresso, so how much of those bars are influencing the aroma or is this a natural effect with coffee being grown close by the cacao itself?
Whatever the answer is, I am loving the aroma. It's big roasted coffee and peanut butter. When I first opened this bar, it was very different. Almonds on the aroma with huge sweet butter notes and wood. After about 30 seconds to a full minute, the peanuts on this bar and coffee take over. The coffee is almost a layered effect with the peanuts. You don't smell the roasted coffee at first because of the peanuts, but the finish of the aroma is all fresh, and strong brewed coffee.
I lightly tanked the taste score on this chocolate not because of the flavor profile and character markers, but because of the excessive sugars. There were too much sugars in this bar and they interfered with the flavor profile.
The bar is a bit inundated with coffee which leads me once again to ask, is the coffee a natural effect from the cacao growing close to coffee? Or is it from the factory where the other coffee chocolate bars are made. Based on how roast-y the aroma is and how much it's like brewed coffee on the taste, I am going to say it's from the factory.
Peanuts, and a mix of peanut butter. I realize that sounds strange but it has distinctive peanut flavors and commercial peanut butter tastes. There are some spicy notes in there, and some deep berries, but all of that get interfered with by the sugar, coffee, and peanut flavors.
I think this will be good to melt down in some milk or almond milk for a steamed hot chocolate. It's very sweet, but it does have big flavors that would make for a nice roast-y hot chocolate. It might be April now, but I live in New England. There is still time for a cold night that requires a hot chocolate.
Final Score: 92.2