Updated: Jan 29
Artisanal vegan cocoa butter product with freeze-dried fruits
ACADEMY OF CHOCOLATE BRONZE WINNER 2019
INTERNATIONAL CHOCOLATE AWARDS EUROPEAN BRONZE 2020
Organic ingredients: cocoa butter (min . 39%)*, de-oiled almond flour (26%), raw cane sugar, Freeze-dried raspberries (11%)
*Arriba Nacional cocoa butter from Ecuador (50/50 natural and deodorized) Maker`s tasting notes: fruity raspberries, almonds, creamy, nice acidity
The packaging is 100% ecologic, free from plastic and chemicals
About the maker, Karuna Chocolate is a craft chocolate maker based in South Tyrol, Italy. It was founded by Katya and Armin who in 2014 while living in South India, were introduced to locals growing and producing cocoa. They immediately became interested and learned about the bean-to-bar chocolate movement already started in the USA. Excited about this new discovery, they soon started to make chocolate using basic tools. When they returned to South Tyrol, they realized that no one was producing chocolate directly from the raw material and there were only a few artisan manufacturers in Europe. Of course, the next logical step was to create "Karuna Chocolate". It soon became a family project: Armin’s brother, Lorenz, created the design of the boards and packaging, whilst his father, Roman, generated the graphics. In October of 2018, their first products were available for sale in South Tyrol. Their aim is to transform ultra-premium cocoa beans and fine flavor cocoa butter into flavorful tasting experiences. They pay double to triple the fair-trade commodity price for their cocoa beans. Their entire process is plant-based, ethically sourced, and traceable to the cocoa farm. Their packaging is 100% ecological, using certified natural paper and a compostable cellulose foil. The artistic screenprint is made with vegetal oil colors by replopress. They personally told me "We are just now figuring how to communicate the uniqueness of our packaging better. When we researched we found that there are almost no chemical and heavy metal free printing options. Crazy, no? Even natural colors usually need chemical fixing agents. Our print is done via the Risograf printing technique. It is natural colors free from heavy metals, chemical substances and it is a cold-press print. Sort of screen print, artisan work. I didn't see anything like that. Now the mother company of the Risograf printers in Japan is so excited about it and they want some customized chocolate packaging. Food packaging has never been done before with this technique".
In addition, they only use ethically and organically grown fine cocoa beans from Latin America, Asia, and Africa. As a sweetener, they use fair trade organic raw cane sugar from Itajá, Brasil. Meanwhile, the organic cocoa butter is pressed from Arriba Nacional cocoa from the area of Los Rios and Esmeraldas in Ecuador and Nacional from Peru. For their white chocolate selection containing fruit, they use de-oiled almond flour from organically grown almonds and the fruits are organically grown and freeze-dried.
About the Vegan White Raspberry bar under consideration, the raspberries are picked fresh when the fruit is fully ripened and then freeze-dried to capture the robust flavors while maintaining color and nutritional value.
Very shiny and extremely homogeneous on the surface
Bright Raspeberry color ********
Aroma: hand-made natural candle with delicate sweet scents as vanilla, white almonds, coconut, neroli
Texture: marzipan rich palate with some crunchy bites (raspberry seeds)
Structure: ***** (hardness)
Aromatic finesse: *******
Lenght: ****** (aftertaste)
I am amazed by a few aspects: snap, hardness, vivid fruit taste, the artisan quality.
The flavor profile is not very intricate yet intense. The first impressions are sweet soft notes like "Toritto" white almonds, raw coconut energy bar (made with dates, almonds, cashews, coconut, and cocoa butter), rice "Pan Crujient" with coconut, vanilla, and pink sugar (pink cotton candy). Then it releases a striking flavor of "Sorbetto all'acqua ai lamponi" with high fruit content (artisanal vegan raspberry fruit sorbet made with water) that "as a flame shoots up and expires, so was the ecstasy of that ineffable last moment, for each knew and thought of the reverse which was to follow on the snapping of that pleasure". In the finish, it preserves the original sensation but this time revived with the glamorous sweet raspberry flavor distinguished by a sharp tanginess with interesting bitter edges. Hell of a job!
In the end, I would like to thank Karuna Chocolate for sending me amazing samples to try. It really means the world to me!
Values expressed in stars from 1 to 8. If the bar is extraordinarily close to perfection, I can go up to 10.