Today I would like to expand our "chocolate dialogue" demonstrating the incredible Shattell ability to craft the highest quality dark chocolates with select Peruvian cacao beans.
The story of this artisan chocolate maker started in 2009 in Lima (Peru) thanks to the expert chocolatier and creative force of Lisi Montoya who also is the first Latin-American female chocolatier to win Gold Overall Winner at the renowned International Chocolate Awards competition. She launched Shattell with "the vision to make the highest quality chocolates with the finest native cocoa beans from the Peruvian Amazon". Indeed, Peru has the highest worldwide genetic biodiversity of cacao. It is also home to the Chuncho cacao variety, considered among the best in the world. That`s exactly why this women`s business decided just to pick and choose the highest quality organic Chuncho cacao beans from Cusco.
They source their beans directly from local farmers supporting them by providing fair compensation to assure a brighter future on both sides. The beans become award-winning chocolate bars in the artisanal chocolate factory in Lima thanks to an amazing team of women chocolatiers:
In our factory we only have one man working with us, we believe that it is very important to empower women in countries like ours. We work with women in the cacao fields, teaching them how to make their own chocolates, especially for drinking. The ladies that work in our factory used to be an household employees, with low salaries and no social benefits, now they have a salary more than the average and all the social benefits according to our law, which allows them to improve their lifestyle, giving their kids a better education.
This happens with the cacao farmers as well, we pay them 3 times more for the cacao beans, because they make a separate harvest, fermentation and drying process for us, with a careful selection of the cacao pods, choosing only the finest beans, considering that in all plantations they have a combination of different varieties of cacao, and not all of them are of great quality.
About the name "Shattell", Lisa told me it has no special meaning.
Instead, more attention needs to be paid to the chocolate-making process:
The most interesting and differentiating fact about it is that we don’t go through a conching process. The reason is that our organic Chuncho cacao beans from Cusco are of the highest quality having direct access to the crops in Peru. We work directly with the growers who select the beans to our specifications. Therefore, there is no need to use conching to remove imperfections and reduce acidity which is the case with other bars. Our process is really very straightforward: the cacao beans are roasted, shelled, milled to make the cacao liquor that is later mixed with the organic cane sugar (called panela in Spanish). Then it’s ready for tempering and molding. That’s it! This process allows our chocolates to keep more of its true natural flavors and notes.
Their motto is:
GREAT CHOCOLATE IS BORN IN THE FIELD.
We discovered the wonderful fragrances and flavors of cocoa by working with the farmers, and by doing a post-harvest process which included separating the fine beans from the rest. The results were amazing, and we recognize the farmers’ effort in each bean, that is why every award we earn is a tribute to them.
Now, let`s focus on the awesome bars they gifted me and what it may become a newsworthy and inspiring tasting journey.
I want to begin with the 70% sacha inchi bar (ingredients: cocoa nibs, cane sugar, cocoa butter, sacha inchi) by expressing my gratitude to my exceptional friend Marie and her positive feedback about it:
The 70% Cacao With Sacha Inchi bar is a single origin Chuncho viand that's simultaneously luxe and ascetic -- just the way I like it. Sacha inchi seeds are the 'truffle of nuts.' They introduce a light savory and nutty brickle. The dark chocolate itself makes you feel as though you're on an extemporary night drive on an unnamed eastern England causeway. Elusive, abstract, but soothing all the same. It has no trace of licorice or tart fruits. That's where it stands out from many of its Peruvian peers. It's full-bodied, robust and free of astringency -- like a crisscross of torta caprese (the way they do it on Capri), chocolate marquise, trianon (Chocolate Royal Cake), sun-dried cloves and grass jelly. This dense chocolate has luminance and sophistication in droves. I'm not at all surprised that Shattell's 70% Chuncho swept the International Chocolate Awards in London a few years back.
I agree with her but I would like to emphasize that the "mouth-filling, powerful, chocolaty aspect" is not the core element of this tasting experience. Everything revolves around the NUTTY respect enriched by the crunchy/buttery sacha inchi finish.
The 70% Chuncho (International Chocolate Award Gold 2017 - Ingredients: cocoa nibs, cane sugar, cocoa butter) is in the spirit of the previous review while remaining different for a cheerful presence of macadamia sweetness.
The 85% Chuncho (ingredients: cocoa nibs, cane sugar, cocoa butter) has a pungent-spicy aroma distinguished by dried floral and grassy palate maintaining a not sophisticated yet well-balanced profile. No astringency or bitterness. Slightly licorice finish.
The 70% Chuncho with Maras salt (ingredients: cocoa nibs, cane sugar, cocoa butter, and maras salt) is very savory but pleasant enhancing intermittently the delicate flavor profile of the specific cacao variety.
I think it is also important, to sum up, a few words about the nice snap and the kind of cool-grainy texture. Not only, but I also notice the same brown gradient per each bar.
I definitely recommend Shattell to the new member of the chocolate movement for its easy-to-taste character starting from the 70% Chuncho and the 70% Sacha Inchi options.
Thank you to all the Shattell Team for relying on me and my project with the hope of providing a constructive contribution to these encouragings stories.