As a kid, I used to eat tons of mainstream chocolate and I used to think they were the best in the world, but those days are now long gone as you don’t know the difference between a processed chocolate you can buy in supermarkets and good quality chocolate until you try it.
I received recently a box of Pacari Chocolates to give feedback on their best-selling range and this experience has completely changed my perception of chocolate.
I came across the company a few years ago, meeting the team at one of the food shows in Glasgow. Pacari Chocolate is an Ecuadorian family owned company which produces the highest quality fine flavour chocolate in the world. The owners, Santiago Peralta and Carla Barboto built Pacari Chocolates based on sustainable and socially responsible principles. Their certified organic dark chocolate has won over 150 International Chocolate Awards since 2012.
SUSTAINABLE AND SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE BRAND
Ecuador is the biggest producer of fine cacao and the company works closely with 3500 small, independent farming families making sure that the process of harvesting, fermentation and drying is up to the highest standards. They pay a significant premium over market prices to ensure producers are fairly compensated for their products and hard work. Pacari only purchases from certified organic farms which are not only better for the consumer but also ensures that during the growing process, no harm is done to the local people or the planet. The company supports an innovative organic education scheme in Ecuadorian schools as well as Project Flashlamp which distributes solar powered torches to farmers in some of Ecuador’s most remote areas.
‘Pacari’ means nature in Quechua, an indigenous language of the Andean region and their care for nature and environment reflects in everything they do.
THE ART OF MAKING CHOCOLATE
All products are made with 100% organic and natural ingredients and certified kosher. Pacari uses only the best Ecuadorian cacao beans, Arriba Nacional cacao for all their products. Classified as “fino de aroma”, these beans are known for their rich, full taste, fruity and floral notes and produce the highest quality fine flavour dark chocolate. The entire Pacari Chocolate range is perfect for vegans, health conscious, discerning and ethical consumers.
TASTING CHOCOLATE LIKE AN EXPERT
The most important thing with dark chocolate is tasting. It is a little bit like fine wine tasting, except, there is no spitting involved. (Thankfully)
Most people think that dark chocolate is bitter, but good quality should not be. Good quality dark chocolate should be delicate, rounded and warming on texture, smooth and delicate on flavour. The key thing to look for is the colour, it should not be too black. Lots of cheap and low-quality dark chocolates have dark intense colour.
The second thing is the snap; good quality dark chocolate should have a really nice clean snap, reflecting the high percentage of cocoa beans that have been treated with care.
Chocolate hates humidity so never put dark chocolate in the fridge because that will destroy the flavours and create a grey finish.
After you snap chocolate always try to smell it. Good quality dark chocolate has a quite strong cocoa aroma. Once you smell it pop in the tongue, break it in the teeth, but don’t chew it, let it melt… It takes a while, but the flavours should open out. Then think about the texture, what we are looking for is the characteristics in the chocolate.
Cocoa beans have up to 400 different flavours and tastes, so the combination of them should build up in the palate.
What we are looking for while tasting dark chocolate is a progression of textures and flavours. While the chocolate melts in your mouth you can notice that the flavours are starting to change.
After you finished your first piece, chew another one which will open up the flavours in the chocolate and you will experience a burst of different tastes.
It’s almost like eating completely different chocolates!
We’ve found that we don’t each as much compared to common milk chocolates as good quality dark chocolate is so complex and robust.
Raw 70% Cacao Organic Chocolate Bar
International Chocolate Awards Gold Winner 2012 and Silver Winner 2013
All beans used to make Pacari Raw Chocolate Bars are hand selected and the company does not allow any bad beans to be mixed up. They use only 100% organic blends of Ecuadorian cocoa beans, Arriba Nacional. Every batch is different and can result in different types of flavours.
Classified as “fino de aroma”, these beans are known for their rich, full taste, fruity and floral notes and produce the highest quality fine flavour dark chocolate.
The philosophy behind raw chocolate is to process it as little as possible, that’s why the company uses low temperatures during processing (under 50 degrees) to maintain the antioxidants and not to destroy the quality and natural taste of the cocoa beans.
The Raw 70% Cacao Organic Chocolate Bar is made with 70% fine Ecuadorian cacao for a rich, bold taste that is sure to impress.
You can taste its strong cacao flavour mixed with citrus and floral touches.
ORGANIC MINI BARS
2016 International Chocolate Award Bronze Medal Winner, World Finals
2012 International Chocolate Award Gold Medal Winner, World Finals
Made from organic cacao beans, organic sugar and lemongrass, this wonderful chocolate is part of the collection of Andean flavours.
I absolutely loved the citrusy flavours and refreshing smell of this chocolate. It reminded me a lot of Thai cuisine, where lemongrass is often used. I was pleasantly surprised with the light sweetness and floral notes that were delicate and refreshing.
International Chocolate Award Silver Winner 2014
I am a huge coffee drinker and I was pleasantly surprised by the crunchy chunks of ground espresso beans in the bar. The coffee and chocolate combination works so well and gives a delicious energy boost. Pure flavours and best quality chocolate.
Cuzco Pink Salt & Nibs (60%) Organic Chocolate Bar
2014 International Chocolate Awards Silver winner
Dark chocolate infused with Cuzco pink salt and cacao nibs. Salt is retrieved from the region of Cuzco, Peru.
Loved the intense flavours of dark chocolate, tiny crunchy cocoa pieces and pink salt. Sweetness and saltiness combined with the creaminess of the chocolate give a unique chocolate experience.
Andean Mint (60%) Organic Chocolate Bar
2016 International Chocolate Award Gold Medal Winner, World Finals
2014 International Chocolate Award Silver Medal Winner, World Finals
You can taste earthy flavours to begin with followed by the more subtle flavours of mint soon after.
I am not a huge chocolate mint fan but this chocolate bar was subtle and delicious as the mint flavours were not overpowering the chocolate.
Esmeraldas 60% Organic Chocolate Bar
This single-origin dark chocolate is from the Ecuadorian region of Esmeraldas, one of the biggest regional producers of the nation’s finest cacao.
I really liked smooth and delicate fruity and floral notes.
Esmeraldas 60% is Pacari’s first Great Taste Award winner 2016, so why not give it a try?
Raw Organic Chocolate Covered Banana
Chunks of banana (dried) smothered in 100% organic raw dark chocolate.
I am completely addicted to these and I could eat them constantly!
Whether you are at work, at the gym or in the great outdoors these are the perfect snacks if you feel a bit peckish.
Crunchy and satisfying tiny cacao nibs are really fun to eat. Totally different from what you’d expect.
Pacari Chocolates is regularly judged as producing the best chocolates in the world and it’s difficult to argue that. With 150 International Chocolate Awards and recognition all over the world (Pacari is now present in nearly sixty countries.) the brand continues to grow and seems to be going from strength to strength introducing a new range of products.
Apart from making the best chocolate, the company improves people lives by working closely with farming families, paying them a fair price for their produce, helping them be more productive, working with them to improve sustainable farming practices, and, from time to time, lending them a helping hand financially. And that’s why we love Pacari. By buying Pacari chocolates you can help provide a decent living to all the people in the value chain—especially the farmers.
Pacari Chocolates UK
Fair Business Alliance
1A Torphichen Street,
Telephone: +44 (0)7402944722
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