Updated: Jul 18
The story behind this craft chocolate makers starts in 2007 when the co-founders, Jose Meza and Barbara Wilson, decided to retire from the auto repair shop to spend more time in the home country of Jose, Ecuador, where they opened an internet cafe`. That`s how they get also involved in bean to bar chocolate making business thanks to Barbara great-tasting brownies. Yes, you heard me! She was looking for the best Ecuadorian chocolate to improve even more her recipe and certainly, she needed to learn all about chocolate processing.
They searched for native, fine-flavor Nacional variety of cacao grown in an environmentally friendly way. On their property, they set up facilities that allowed them to ferment, dry, roast, and winnow cacao. In 2009, Mindo opened in Dexter, Michigan.
They gifted me two bars from their assortment made without cacao butter:
Macadamia 77% - Country Origin Bar - Ingredients: organic cocoa beans, organic sugar, Macadamia Nuts.
International Chocolate Award Winner Pure Rustic 70% - Stone Ground - minimally processed - hand tempered - Ingredients: Organic Nacional cacao beans (Heirloom variety), organic sugar.
About my tasting experience:
The Macadamia bar is made with Nacional Cacao beans from the Cloud Forest of Ecuador paired with lightly crunchy caramelized natural sugars of fresh organic macadamia nuts sourced in a local farm near their place in Mindo. It carries a good snap. Rich brown color. Floral, grassy, and tobacco aroma. The mouthfeel is cool and warm simultaneously. The cacao beans flavor is very mild, bright caramel-like with grassy undertones delivering a pleasant earthiness: the perfect complement for the subtle sweetness, buttery texture of the locally sourced macadamia nuts. Indeed this combination creates a Host/Vanilla Wafer taste. I am amazed by such a thing! I also want to strengthen everything up setting out, in particular, my thought about the great texture for a two ingredients bar: the hard melt start evolves into a rich-creamy experience shrinking fast with a flourish silky-clean palate. The way I love and I cannot easily found in many testing sessions.
The Pure Rustic has a dark brown color and a palatable coarse texture but it melts very easily. Carbone Dolce Italian candy mouth feels. The flavor profile is purely and simply earthy, grassy, blackstrap molasses, with a slightly floral background underpinned by a strong bitter finish. I also noted some similarities with the Fruition Camino Verde Crunch Rustic Stone Ground in terms of flavors but I must admit this Mindo bar is more balanced and exhaustive in all respects.
I much prefer the Macadamia Nuts bar. I find it uncomplicated yet delectable conjunction of resources from the same origin distinguished by a very unpredictable development of flavors.