Handmade single-origin chocolate bar. 2oz.
chocolate milk, coconut, cantaloupe
Mellow, elegant, and shape-shifting.
Porcelana is perhaps the most coveted cacao in the world. It's a varietal, not a place, and the ancient example in my newest bar was found by producer Cacao Marquez near the caves of Sorotaima in northwestern Venezuela.
What makes Porcelana so special, and so rare? Genetics. It lacks genes for producing a pigment that gives most cacao a dark color and bitter flavor. Evolution favors the pigment: its bitterness encourages monkeys and other mammals to spit out the cacao seeds, thereby planting more cacao trees. We're still not entirely sure whether Porcelana cacao trees once had genetics for the dark pigment, then lost them, or simply never had them at all.
In any case, Porcelana has neither spread nor survived as well as other varietals, and that makes it rare. The missing pigment also tends to make its flavors comparatively mild. But neither rarity nor mildness are guarantees of quality. The only useful test of quality I have found thus far is a simple one: tasting.
It has been a year since I added a new origin to the lineup. Over the course of that year, I've made and tasted chocolate with cacao samples from literally dozens of different origins. This Porcelana made the lineup not because it was rare, but because it was so impressive that I simply had to work with it.
I could try to describe it to you--my tasting notes read chocolate milk, coconut, and cantaloupe--but in truth it seems to change a little with every taste. That's part of its magic. It must be experienced to be understood, and it's finally ready.
one of the few chocolates that can be paired well with white wines; IPAs; white spirits; mild, creamy cheeses
cocoa beans, whole cane sugar* (origin: Costa Rica), cocoa butter*
Origin Photo © Cacao Marquez