Updated: Sep 15, 2020
LIMITED RELEASE - WHITE PHILIPPINE RUM BARREL AGED - BEAN TO BAR DARK CHOCOLATE - MADE IN VANCOUVER, CANADA
INGREDIENTS: ORGANIC CACAO BEANS, ORGANIC CACAO BUTTER, ORGANIC UNREFINED CANE SUGAR, TANDUAY WHITE RUM
Kasama Chocolate is a group of friends from Vancouver who started making small-batch, bean to bar chocolate with cacao from the Philippines in 2015. The name "Kasama" means friendship, camaraderie, and collaboration. Their award-winning chocolate is handcrafted in East Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
They told me:
Our chocolate is made from scratch, directly from the bean. We source, roast, crack, winnow and stone grind the cacao beans for up to 72 hours before tempering and molding the chocolate into bars and truffles.
About this bar:
This limited release of 150 bars is made with the Philippine cacao beans that we fermented at origin during the fall 2019 harvest. The beans were then roasted, winnowed, and aged for four weeks in an oak cask with Tanduay Philippine White Rum, given to us as a gift from a friend returning from Cebu. After the aging process, turning the barrel twice a day, the nibs were dried and stone ground to create rich dark chocolate with notes of coconut, custard, and hints of oak and spice.
We are talking about Bean-to-Barong. Why?
The new look, minimal, typography-based design for the wrapper of this bar – printed on off-white, textured paper stock – is inspired by the iconic Philippine barong Tagalog. The famous, long-sleeve, embroidered, dress shirt is made of pineapple fiber and combines elements of pre-colonial native Filipino and colonial Spanish clothing styles. It is typically reserved for special occasions — like this one!
In 1854, a distillery was built on Isla De Tanduay, a small piece of land bordering the Quiapo and San Miguel districts in Manila. It produced several types of liqueurs, but none more famous than its rum characterized by aromas of raw coconut, spritz of lime, white pepper, and cumin with a satiny, soft, dry-yet-fruity light body and an even, brisk sweet cream finish.
I am speechless right now but I have to use the few words left to tell you about a tasting experience that is a journey made of thousand cacao trees, and made by exceptional chocolate entrepreneurs. Kasama family has done a "hell of a job" keeping your taste buds engaged in the spiritual accompaniment to both chocolate and liquor amateurs!
Dark brown color. Sharp snap. Slow/even melt. Creamy mouthfeel. The flavor profile is sophisticated and simple at the same time, an example of elegance, charming and chic capable of delighting the most demanding palate, which enables craft chocolate to be introduced into the diet systematically without becoming monotonous.
I agree with the flavors described by the maker and I do not intend to reinvent their tasting wheel but I need to put the final touch on it which makes me slightly perplexing that they missed this important detail: Mon Chéri. Yes, you read correctly! The praline, which is famous for its "Piedmont Cherry" and a unique composition of dark chocolate and a special liqueur.
I have a great paring suggestion too:
WOODBRIDGE BY ROBERT MONDAVI - RUM BARREL AGED CHARDONNAY - CALIFORNIA
This wine imparts aromas of peach, tropical fruit, toasted coconut, and a hint of maple. Indeed Barrel aging premium lots in used rum barrels bestow hints of coconut and molasses, adding rich character and complexity. To fully enjoy this aged California chardonnay, chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving at approximately 50 degrees.