Equal Exchange Chocolates
These guys source from small farmer organizations and each bar has it’s own deep intense flavour profile, as well as enlightening stories about the farmers who produce their ingredients, AND a map of where it’s all from on the inside of the wrapper!
Each origin bar details the individual community who have harvested the beans as well as the co op information and a photograph of everyone! Just one step closer to bringing people closer to their food producers, even if they are on the other side of the world.
I tried the very dark 71% (beans from Peru) and the Panama bar 80% (beans, obviously, from Panama). The ‘very dark’ 71% bar gives some very robust notes with a complexity to them, finished off with a rich chocolatey tone. The single origin Panama has almost spicy notes to it and a very intense flavour. Quite warming and lingers long after the chocolate morsel has dissolved in your mouth. A perfect late afternoon tasting chocolate to fix that lull, whilst still giving you a delightful burst of flavour, and something interesting to read as you take your eyes away from the computer screen. Many people are quite alarmed by any chocolate that is above 70% cocoa solids, often due to the (unfounded) belief that ‘dark chocolate is bitter and tastes burnt’. The range of flavours, origins and percentages on offer by EEC is testament to the fact that often the darker the chocolate the more intense and exciting the flavour.
The Peruvian bar is made with beans sourced from the CACVRA co op of the Apurimac Valley in Peru. Originally formed as a coffee cooperative in 1969 by indigenous farmers of the local area. Now CACVRA has expanded into producing high quality Peruvian cacao.
And the ‘very dark’ bar is made using beans from the COCABO cooperative of the Bocas del Toro province in Panama, who as well as farming chocolate, also play a major role in preserving the local Amistad Forest Reserve. Founded in 1952, they are the first agricultural co op established in Panama.
As well as the single origin, and plain chocolate bars, Equal Exchange Chocolates also have a range of flavoured bars – including (but not limited to): mint crunch (67% cocoa), lemon and ginger with black pepper (a ‘lighter’ dark at 55% cocoa), and another sweeter one – caramel dark chocolate (again at 55% cocoa) – they also have a milk chocolate version of the caramel at 43% cocoa and the addition of milk solids.