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Santander
February 15, 2006
7:47 pm
franktank232
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I bought 3 bars. 2 65% single origin bars and 1 70% with coffee. The second wasn't quite that appealing to me...too much coffee taste and not enough cocoa. The 65% were very nice. I also bought a 70% Chocolove bar and that, IMO, was better, but not by much. The Santander bars have the El Rey taste to them...not sure how to describe it...must be a South American thing?

February 15, 2006
9:49 pm
Masur
Stockholm, Sweden
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Santander comes from Colombia. My favourite is the 70% dark bar (without coffee). We have discussed Santander before:
[url]http://www.seventypercent.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=488[/url]

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
February 15, 2006
9:59 pm
Eshra
Southgate, USA
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Santander is my favorite "munching" chocolate. I pay around 1.50 dollars per bar, which makes it quite affordable. Santander, to me, has a distinct 'marshmallow' taste. El Rey, on the other hand, is much courser in taste (although this may be due to texture). It has been awhile since I had El Rey, but I recall it being devoid of the marshmallow I tasted in Santander.

February 16, 2006
4:03 pm
Snowbeast
Linköping, Sweden
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The 70% is great, but I have to be in the mood to eat it. Sometimes it feels like the marshmallow note (not the actual sugar level) makes the bar taste too sweet.

To compensate for this, I'd love for Santander to try a higher percentage. Imagine those flavors in an 85% or more!

February 16, 2006
8:58 pm
Eshra
Southgate, USA
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This is what amazes me about Santander, Snowbeast. I agree with you that the 70% IS sweet. Though, this is not due to completely sugar. Case in point -- a comparable Domori bar of the same percentage would probably have MORE sugar than the Santander bar, yet seem less sweet (not that that is a bad thing, of course). Santander, unlike Domori, adds some cocoa butter to their bars, thereby diminishing some of the actual taste derived from the solids.

The point I am getting to is that Santander's sweetness must derive from the actual beans....something which is quite interesting.

February 16, 2006
9:44 pm
oz_choc
Kandos, Australia
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Eshra wrote "a comparable Domori bar of the same percentage would probably have MORE sugar than the Santander bar"

My understanding (based on Australian labelling) is that two non-milk bars of the same percentage would, by definition, have exactly the same amount of sugar.

If you're talking about 70% bars, that means 70% cocoa solids (including cocoa butter), and 30% sugar (minus the tiny quantities of other potential ingredients like lecithin and vanilla).

Of course, this does allow for one bar to have considerably more cocoa mass (the brown stuff) than another bar which has more added cocoa butter.

Sam

February 16, 2006
10:54 pm
Eshra
Southgate, USA
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Is cocoa butter included in the actual solids? My impression was that the chocolate liquor encompassed the butter and solids, whereas cocoa powder (ie minus cocoa butter) was the actual solid.

Anyway, regardless as to whether the sugar % is equal among all 70% bars, sweetness itself does vary greatly, which would still indicate factors in the beans themselves. Also 'cocoa mass' is simply processed cocoa beans, meaning it contains the butter and actual solids.

So much terminology, maybe someone can clear the confusion.

February 17, 2006
12:40 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Domori's 70% does not contain more sugar than Santander's 70%. If it did, then these numbers followed by a cute little percent symbol would have no meaning. The variety of beans that Santander uses has a very delicate flavor but also a lovely boldness that adds much needed support and depth for the chocolate. This is common for Nacional cacao. The 70% has added cocoa powder, so it's more bitter than the others, and also, the texture is altered here as well. With this bar, you get a much stronger chocolaty impact and a refreshing bitterness too, in addition to that wonderful flavor. This is not the case with the 65%, which if you've noticed, is much milder and softer without that bitter punch. The entire line has been reviewed here.

Cocoa solids is a term that's used rather loosely in regards to the total amount of solids from the bean, i.e. cocoa butter and cocoa powder. Cocoa powder is actually the cocoa particles (the brown stuff that tastes good) separated from the cocoa butter, and when the two are combined (or left intact, actually), the mass is referred to as cocoa liquor or cocoa mass.

El Rey advertizes their line of bars in varying percentages of cocoa contents, but do you honestly think that the only difference here is in cocoa liquor? No. The 3.5% difference between Apamate and Gran Saman is actually 13.5%, which means that Apamate has only 60% cocoa liquor, while Gran Saman has 70%. Apamate has 13.5% more cocoa butter to soften the flavor and texture. Read the reviews on this site.

February 17, 2006
1:09 am
oz_choc
Kandos, Australia
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Given that cocoa butter is solid at any temperature where a bar is still a bar (as opposed to a puddle), I think you'd have to count cocoa butter as a solid.

This interpretation is supported by labelling on the chocolate bars I have to hand. For example, a Haigh's 70% chocolate bar lists its ingredients as:
"70% cocoa solids (cocoa mass, cocoa butter), sugar, soya lecithin, vanilla".
Furthermore, the nutritional information panel lists the sugar content as 29.7%. Hence my original point: 100% minus cocoa content[70%] equals sugar content[29.7%] plus lecithin and vanilla[0.3%].

This theory holds for every bar I've seen, including those whose wrappers I have in front of me (Michel Cluizel, Lindt, Green & Black's)

As for cocoa mass - in Australia, cocoa mass is considered to be cocoa liquor with the butter removed. Hence, if you pulverise cocoa mass, you get cocoa powder (although even cocoa powder usually contains upwards of 10% cocoa butter). In any case, I gather that different people and different countries disagree about the definition of cocoa mass, so I'm happy to "agree to disagree" on this point.

I should point out that Australian labelling requirements are different to those I've seen in other countries. Our laws mean that Nutritional Information stickers (including the precise sugar and fat content) have to be added to chocolates that have been packaged overseas, such as Michel Cluizel, Dolfin, and Green & Black's.

Sam

February 17, 2006
5:16 am
Eshra
Southgate, USA
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I think a lot of this confusion is arising due to the differences in definitions, with some definitions being flexible. Regardless, I think we can all agree that the beans are going to have an effect on the overall sensation of sweet in a given chocolate.

This would account for the Nacional cocoa.

February 17, 2006
8:48 am
Snowbeast
Linköping, Sweden
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What other chocolatiers besides Santander use Nacional beans? It would be interesting to compare chocolates to see if that "sweetness without sugar" is present in other bars using the same bean.

I was under the impression that Arriba is a type of Nacional - is this correct or is Arriba another Forastero variety entirely? Personally I don't find the flavors similar at all, but the only Arriba I've tried so far is Hachez (a good "purse chocolate" btw).

February 17, 2006
9:55 am
oz_choc
Kandos, Australia
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When I was in Ecuador, I was told that Arriba (meaning "up river") is a label for the flavour profile that is characteristic of Nacional beans grown and processed in the Guayas river valley.

Plantations uses Arriba beans.

February 17, 2006
11:32 am
Eshra
Southgate, USA
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Oh boy,

I love Arribas. Actually I am sort of sentimental about them because Plantations chocolate was some of the first non mass-market chocolate I ever tasted.

I have also had Domori's Arriba, as well as Guittard's Chucuri. I would say that each of these bars is related. The flavor of an Arriba, to me, is very feminine and round. I imagine a woman with an classic, hourglass figure whenever I indulge into an Arriba. Arriba is very seductive, when done right--and very rewarding.

One exception is Hachez's Arriba. Although it has a mild Arriba profile, it is one of the most horrible tasting chocs to me. I feel like I am eating crisco or lard whenever I bite into it. I often feel that there is much more cocoa butter than anything in their bars--almost tasteless.

Anyway, my vote goes to the Domori Arriba. Domori's typical fermented tones are a bit more recessed in this particular bar, yet act as a nice compliment to my round lady of the Arriba.

Eshra

February 17, 2006
11:44 am
Snowbeast
Linköping, Sweden
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OK, then I obviously need to try some other Arribas to understand the bean - to me the Hachez 77% is more of a masculine chocolate. I tasted no fruit at all but a lot of spice (mostly cinnamon). I agree with you about the cocoa butter, Hachez melts great but does feel somewhat slick and diluted. Tasty enough when you need a quick fix, plus it's really cheap here, so I keep some in my purse. The aroma is truly nasty though, like saffron mixed in motor oil. And the 88% is completely inedible. Hmm, could be time to rethink my choice of chocolate!

Unfortunately my local shops don't stock the Domori Arriba, I'll have to look around for other brands.

February 17, 2006
12:20 pm
Masur
Stockholm, Sweden
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Chocovic Guaranda 71% is another Arriba version. Maybe you can find it in your local shop Snowbeast?

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
February 17, 2006
4:42 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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If you want an in depth descriptions of various Arribas, then check out the reviews on this site. I've tried tons of Arribas and have found that the best one is Slitti's Tropicale 90% with Felchlin coming in a close second. After that, I like Dagoba's Los Rios a lot, and Plantations 100% isn't bad either. Their milk chocolate is one of the best milks flavor-wise, and again, Arriba beans were used.

I don't find that Arriba is as feminine sometimes as I do masculine, mainly because the tone is so bold. However, I can see why you would describe it as feminine because the flavor is so mild and gentle. Blackberries and floral notes certainly will convey that impression. But imo, I would give that vote to Guittard's Chucuri and other Nacional chocolate, whose floral notes are much more pronounced.

February 17, 2006
8:42 pm
Eshra
Southgate, USA
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Hans-Peter,

Have you sampled Domori's Arriba by anny chance? If so, what did you think of it?

As for Plantations 100%, I have had that one. Chucuri is really nice. That was a very feminine bar. I was reminded of a mother nursing her baby when I ate of that bar. However, I am not a huge fan of unsweetened chocolate... Well, actually I am more afraid of it! haha.. Slitti.. I will have to try their bar. Do they dutch?
I do not know too much of Slitti and their exploits.

Eshra

February 18, 2006
2:40 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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The new Arriba? No I have not tried it yet. I've been a bit too busy to put in an order for the newer Domori bars. I will get around to it eventually, though.

Slitti does not Dutch, no. The last bar I had was Tropicale, which as you already know, is what I think to be one of the best Arribas, and the other Slitti bars haven't crossed my palate for years. Agreed with the feminine aspect of Chucuri, but I can't say that a nursing mother passed through my thoughts while tasting it [;)]

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