Thursday, 9 September 2010

El Ciebo 75% Bolivian Fine Dark Organic Chocolate Bar

Since my husband first told me he'd ordered this bar for me last week I've been eagerly awaiting its delivery. At £6.50 a bar including delivery I'm hoping it will not disappoint. Anyway while I wait for my little piece of Bolivia I've been reading with interest the information provided on the Chococo website. To be honest, I wasn't aware Bolivia even had a chocolate industry. Congratulations to the Chococo team for sourcing this obscure and I imagine hard to come by chocolate.

Bolivia is landlocked, shoehorned in between Brazil, Peru and Argentina, it is the highest and most isolated country in South America. Even though this country is rich in mineral resources it is one of South America's poorest countries. Under President Morales' control Bolivia has experienced radical change and in January 2009 greater rights were given to the indigenous majority population. Power to the people!

Ok, thanks for the political update, get back to the chocolate, I hear you say! The next piece is copied word for word from the El Ceibo website.

According to their website El Ceibo is entirely owned by, made up of and run for the benefit of its members: Bolivian farmers and their families who have been working since 1977 to produce organic and Fairtrade cocoa beans and cocoa products, such as chocolates, liquor and butter. El Ceibo is a "second-floor cooperative", which means it is entirely owned by smaller cooperatives spread throughout the Alto Beni region.

Today El Ceibo has more than 1,200 associates, all small farmers, and generates direct employment for over 100 people. It sells its products in Bolivia and is an exporter since the early 1980s.

From the trees to the beans to the chocolate, El Ceibo can genuinely proclaim: "We do not work with the farmers, we are the farmers!" 

El Ceibo - the story behind the name

The organization is named after a unique tree, El Ceibo (Erythrina crista-galli), which never dies. They are said to be able to return to their original beauty even after being cut down. This is a reflection of the ability of the men and women who make up El Ceibo to recover and flourish despite hardships. Each spring, El Ceibo is easily distinguishable in the jungle by its blossom of beautiful red flowers.

The Chocolate: 

How amiss of me, I nearly forgot to mention in my excitement that this bar has been produced in collaboration with Chloe Doutre-Roussel who is the world renowned chocolate connoisseur and exponent of fine chocolate.

Wow! This chocolate does not disappoint from the very moment you open the silver wrapper a delicious chocolate aroma hits the senses. The bar is shiny and has a good snap as I break off the first square. The taste is exquisite and the first flavours that flood in are of earth, peat, and bark which is a thousand times better than I've just described it. This is quickly followed by liquorice and spice which lingers on the tongue and the back of your throat. In a word, delicious.

The texture and melt is excellent and it certainly does not leave your mouth dry as some high % cocoa bars can. This bar is not to be rushed and at £6.50 (80g) including First Class postage is expensive but how often are you going to enjoy a piece of chocolate from Bolivia. It will certainly be on my Christmas list and I suggest you add it to yours especially if you are a dark chocolate fan. 

My only very minor criticism is that the bar was only protected by the outer cardboard packaging and a flimsy piece of bubble wrap. It subsequently arrived broken. Chococo pride themselves on their packaging so I think they may need to revisit this.

This chocolate bar deserves 9/10.

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