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Flour Girl: The origins of single-source chocolate

Scharffenberger single origin chocolate. (James M. Thresher for The Washington Post)

There is nothing new under the sun, or so the saying goes. But there is a way to re-market the old.

In recent years, single-origin chocolates have become popular among a crowd looking for something beyond labels showing percentages (referring to how much cacao is in ratio to other ingredients: the higher the percentage, the deeper and darker the chocolate). Single origin means the beans used for the chocolate are all from the same growing region, sometimes an extremely specific one.

There are so many brands out there to explore. I recently sampled the Chocolate Maker's Series from Scharffen Berger: Ben Tre, 72 percent cacao bars from Vietnam; Amina, 65 percent cacao bars from Madagascar; and Camahogne, 68 percent cacao bars from Grenada. They are available in limited quantities through the Scharffen Berger web site. Only 120 cases of each were made; they sell for $9.95 for a 3-ounce bar, about twice the price of the company's other bars. They will be sold through other retailers later this year.

Single-origin chocolate is meant for savoring, not snarfing. Each has subtle taste complexities, much like wine. In fact, company founder John Scharffenberger has a background in winemaking, so it is not surprising he brings this same sensibility to chocolate.

You can organize your own chocolate tasting to see what fruits, florals and other flavor notes you can discern. This recipe for Brown Sugar Shortbread is a great way to make the tasting experience a little less intense. Dip shortbread in various chocolates and let the buttery cookie act as the backdrop.

-- Leigh Lambert

By Leigh Lambert  |  March 25, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Flour Girl  | Tags: Flour Girl, chocolate  
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Loving single-malt scotch we were intrigued to read about single-origin chocolate ~ we appreciated the information and promise to savor, not snarf!

Posted by: SavvyHost | March 26, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

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