I’ve come to admire Pacari chocolate not only for their innovative organic chocolate products, but also for their active and seemingly ever-expanding social programs . I’ve also been intrigued by the fact their chocolate is single-origin Ecuadorian as well as organic, a combination that you don’t see often. This is reflected in their name – the word Pacari means “Nature” in Quechua, the indigenous language of Ecuador.
In my first review of Pacari chocolate, I tasted some chocolate-covered cacao nibs – little bits of roasted and ground cacao beans that have been coated in organic chocolate. What I’m writing about today is a completely new product that’s a cousin of those little coated nibs. These chocolate-covered cacao beans are a bigger, bolder look at coating cacao with chocolate.
Organically grown cacao beans (cocoa beans) are lightly roasted, coated in single-origin chocolate and then dusted in cocoa powder. If you’re still with me on this, then let’s see how they taste…
Raw Organic Chocolate-Covered Cacao Beans
WHAT: Pacari Chocolate-Covered Cacao Beans, Natural. Single-origin Ecuador. USDA Certified Organic. 90g. Ingredients: Cacao beans, evaporated cane juice, cocoa powder, sunflower lecithin. Dairy and soy free. Kosher (Parve). Where to buy Pacari Chocolate Covered Cacao Beans.
WHEN: June 20, 2010
OVERALL RATING: Not rated. Since this is not a straight chocolate bar, I can’t really use the same rating scale.
AROMA: Honey, vanilla, rum, raisins.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: Dates, wood, light sweetness, faint black pepper.
MIDDLE TASTE: Fresh fruit salad, apples, blueberries, strawberries. There were actually two middle tastes. The first had the sweet floral notes of the single-origin chocolate coating. This floral character is typical of Ecuadorian Nacional beans. The second wave was more powerful and all fruit with the dominant notes being blueberry.
FINISH: Mushrooms, sage, wood, paper, and finally the fiber of the bean.
TEXTURE: Never have I experienced so many sounds coming from something chocolate. Crack! Crunch and then squeak. It was an adventure in textures with most of it coming from the bean inside.
LAST BITE – These are so cool. It’s a sign of a great food that you only need to eat a little of it to keep interested and
satisfied. I had no desire to eat these quickly. They are something you eat one at a time and listen and feel what’s going on in your mouth – and there is so much going on. The two middle tastes – let’s say an “early middle” and a “late middle” were unique, but this makes complete sense because you are chewing through the sweeter, more familiar outer shell first and then releasing the more bitter, but intense, fruity center (remember that when we say “fruity” we are referring to the fruit notes that originate from cacao).
With some help, I ate the whole package over the course of about a week and experimented a bit more. First, don’t eat these guys with other chocolate. The sweetness of a chocolate bar will just throw things off. Enjoy them by themselves or have the chocolate bar as a second course. I did successfully pair them with some Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage 2003 port and it worked well. After you get 90% through a bean, the remaining fibrous bean bits are somewhat dry, so wash down the rest with a sip of port and you’ll replace that last bit of bitter wood with sweetness. Nice.
As you can see in the photo, I cut open a bean as neatly as I could and found them to be a bit lighter in color than expected, but with beautiful veins of reddish-brown.
Pacari’s coated cacao beans are an innovation that brings us about as close to the raw bean as we can get without asking us to chew on raw, naked beans. If milk chocolate is your favorite thing, you’re probably not be ready for this stuff. If you are truly interested in experiencing real cacao flavors, these beans are a captivating gourmet food.
Disclosures: I paid for this chocolate myself.