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Doing some reading today about the highly lauded Marañón chocolate coming out of Peru. Or more specifically, the beans are coming out of Peru and the chocolate is being made in Switzerland. As pointed out on www.thechocolatelife.com, it sounds like the beans are actually Nacional beans, of the variety originally native to Ecuador, but growing in a remote area of Peru.
Here is a video of Chocolatier Julian Rose of Moonstruck Chocolates discussing the chocolate covered cocoa beans he’s making with the chocolate. He says “these wonderful cocoa beans will be covered in its own chocolate, so this is very unique in the world. I don’t think it’s ever been done and it will be done with the best beans that have been on the market in the last 150 years.”
I’m not sure when this video was recorded, but it’s been over two years, that is as far back as 2009, when I began to make my own chocolate covered cocoa beans, made with chocolate from the very same beans. Unfortunately, as any regular reader of this blog is aware, I stopped selling my products in the US sometime over a year ago. However, for those of you lucky enough to be in Ecuador, the chocolate coated cocoa beans are available here. While our beans do not hold the claim to fame of being pure Nacional beans from original rootstock, they are Nacional variety beans grown in the Guayas River basin of Ecuador–which also makes them true Arriba beans. Arriba has been a frequently abused marketing term rendered nearly meaningless by its application to nearly every chocolate coming out of Ecuador, thus the emphasis.
It´s a good thing when someone can get first mover advantage because they have the marketing budget and clout to get the product known, even though someone may be doing or has been doing very much the same thing long before a “known” product gets to market. While I haven’t tasted this chocolate, I would be delighted to see someone do a tasting comparing some of the pure Nacional chocolate coming out of Ecuador that we use with this new chocolate.
I’m also always surprised to hear the observation that Nacional beans give a floral flavor to the chocolate. Of all the chocolates I’ve tasted coming out of Ecuador, and I mean chocolates made in Ecuador of pure Ecuadorian beans (which, by the way, are either made from pure Nacional beans, or a mix of CCN–51 and Nacional beans, or in the worst case pure CCN–51 beans, and not an “origin” chocolate whose percentage of actual Nacional beans is totally unknown and may even be on the low end of the scale), floral is not a word I would use to describe the flavor. Some might beg to differ, as Nacional beans have often been described as such. As to this new chocolate, they also use the word “nutty” to describe the flavor, which is a descriptor I would use for chocolates made with Ecuador’s CCN–51 hybrid, but not Nacional.