Thank you Suruwa Chocolate for reaching out to me! It is always an absolute pleasure to meet a new chocolate maker, to learn about their story and their quality value. Culture is a word of many meanings, and bean-to-bar chocolate is not less important than art or music.
Now, let`s explore in their own words their identity as a prelude to my tasting experience.
Jennifer Galeon Daza told me:
My name is Jennifer Galeón, I am the second of three sisters. My parents Elda Daza (the image of our chocolate brand) and Mauricio Galeón who have been growing cocoa for more than two decades in a region of Colombia called Saravena, Arauca. Over time, my mom has become a symbol, of improvement and a model of imitation for us and all our community in Saravena. Today, our farm “Villa Esneda” is recognized throughout the region for our clean process and fine aroma/flavor cocoa. This region for many years has been hit relentlessly by the violence that plagues the country since the 50s. Cocoa came as an alternative to the illicit crops that dominated the region because the Guerrillas and other groups outside the law. Cacao has been the livelihood of our family and thanks to it we have been able to improve our quality of life. In our beginnings, we lived in a rustic house made of wood, but thanks to the income from the crop in the late 90's we have been able to build a house of more stable materials (brick and cement). Cocoa gave my parents the necessary means for us (my sisters and I) to study, 2 of 3 sisters were able to attend university, and today we have a professional career. However, as we have matured and understood the global economy we have realized that the prices paid to the primary producers do not fully compensate for the hard work and dedication that the crops require. It is for this reason that after learning about this wonderful world of cocoa and developing our product, we decided to launch "Suruwa Chocolates".
Suruwa is a ritual initiation ceremony for U'wa girls. The U'wa are aboriginal people accented in the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy in the northeastern Andes of Colombia (by the Araucanian foothills). Suruwa begins with an ancestral dance of three days and three nights where attendees play music with maracas and seashells and the culmination of this ceremony is the imposition of the Kókora (a kind of handmade hat made with native palm leaves). This symbolizes the passage from girl to woman.
For us, Suruwa means evolution and it is this evolution that we want to reflect in our chocolate. These samples that we send are the first units of our first bump, and we truly hope you will enjoy each one!
About my role here, it is very simple and also the easiest part of the chocolate journey! First of all, each bar is made without cocoa butter and lecithin. Regarding the taste, always remember enjoying the taste is not the criteria for judging what goes into your mouth.
70% DARK: smooth and fragrant chocolate with a sweet aroma (floral, nectarine, honey) and a well-balanced flavor profile with harmonious bitter undertones and a measured acidity in the finish/aftertaste. Predominant notes of nectarine, mandarin, honeysuckle, light treacle.
70% GINGER: after the first hint of bitterness, it showcases again honey notes with a glimpse of mild fruitness. Then the palate is filled with Ginger Syrup mouthfeel: sweet, lightly spicy, and very aromatic that helps to retain the same mandarin-like acidic finish of the plain dark.
70% VANILLA: it presents the best aroma between the four samples, and it is surprisingly different from the rest. Just because of the vanilla inclusion, this bar develops a striking coffee taste with vanilla and caramelized sweet notes, and a chocolate-brownie finish maintaining a citrusy aftertaste.
70% CARDAMOM: unmistakable cardamom scents, the spice enhances the juicy citrusy (clementine) mouthfeel and honeysuckle notes providing warming flavors of ginger and nutmeg. The light treacle impression is always there as a very pleasant undertone.
I truly enjoyed the flavor profile of each bar and my favorite is the “HABA TONKA/AMAZON VANILLA” for the unexpected palate transformation.
To be improved: appearance, tempering, texture.