Here’s something a bit unusual, sent to me by Lee of Chocolatiers.
Madre Chocolate are a bean to bar chocolate maker, based in Honolulu, Hawaii. Madre use a combination of locally grown and imported cacao along with lots of locally grown and inspired flavours.
What makes this chocolate so unusual though isn’t the bean origin – it’s made from a relatively common Dominican Republic cacao – but rather what it’s flavoured with. It’s the first chocolate I’ve ever had that’s flavoured with cacao pulp.
Cacao pulp is the white, fleshy pulp that surrounds the beans in a fresh cocoa pod. When cocoa beans are harvested, the pods are broken open and the seeds & pulp are removed. Normally, the seeds are fermented inside this pulp, but it’s actually incredibly tasty – and the only part of the pod that’s naturally sweet. The beans themselves are bitter and astringent before fermentation.
Unless you visit a plantation, it’s unlikely you’ll ever get to try fresh cacao pulp. It’s used up in the fermentation of the beans, but you can sample it in this bar.
The flavour is sweet, tangy and wonderfully fruity. It’s counteracted by the slight bitterness of the nibs which also act as a great counterpoint to the slightly chewy texture of the small pulp pieces. In effect, what you have is a “fruit & nut” chocolate bar where the chocolate, fruit and nut all come from the cocoa pod.
It’s wonderful how well the flavours and textures work together so it surprises me that nobody has done this before. In fact, it has me wondering if it would be possible to make a dark chocolate that’s naturally sweetened with cacao pulp with no added sugar or vanilla. Now there’s a challenge.
While we’re waiting for someone to come up with that, I highly recommend giving the Madre Chocolate bar a go. If you love fruity flavours and a bit of crunch in your chocolate, then I think you’ll love it. At £6.35, it isn’t cheap, but it’s unique and delicious and something you really should try.