Criollo Cacao Bean
Posted: Jan 26 2014
There is a finer species of cacao, called the Criollo, that does not have as much of this enzyme present. As a result, the cacao beans that a Criollo produces are incredibly flavorful and smooth without a strong bitterness or acidity. However, they are particularly susceptible to disease; as a result the criollo plant has stood on the brink of extinction on multiple occasions.
Criollo is a very delicate bean to grow, and the weather, the soil, and the irrigation can all greatly impact the subtle flavors that eventually make it into your very fine bar of chocolate.
Currently, there are very few sub-species of true Criollo. The three major strains of the plant used for chocolate are the Ocumare 61, Chuao, and Porcelana.
Domori is an Italian company that has specialized in chocolate making with the delicate flavors of the criollo cacao. We have a full collection of the Domori line, and their chocolates are world-class. Domori is one of the companies that has been instrumental in the preservation of criollo.
The Domori Javablond and the Puertofino use a robust strain of Criollo with decadent flavor profiles: the Chuao subspecies. The Criollo used for each has it's roots in the very specific region of Venezuela called Chuao.
The Puertofino is grown where it is native and has a fruity light taste, with hints of caramel and walnut. The soil in Venezuela is highly prized by cacao growers and has historically been home to some of the finest chocolates in the world.
The Javablond the same strain of Chuao Criollo, but it is grown in the volcanic soil of the island of Java. The different soil imparts a mild spice flavor profile with a smoky hint of tobacco. It's a very distinctive flavor you won't soon forget.
The third bar, the Porcelana, is from the subspecies of Criollo of the same name. The Porcelana is the species of Criollo with the purest ancestry, and closest to a pure Criollo bean; it has the least of that acidic enzyme even of the criollo subspecies. The Porcelana had been thought to have died out, but a single plant was rediscovered and is the source of all present day Porcelana cacao trees. The taste profile is said to resemble bread, butter, and jam. It's texture and smoothness are unmatched . It is called Porcelana because the beans themselves are so light and cream colored, early Spanish explorers thought them to be made of porcelain.
Alway enjoy the chocolate you have, but if your looking for a cacao experience deeper and more interesting than all the others, we recommend a Criollo bar. The amount of work and talent that has gone into a bar of Criollo chocolate is nothing short of astounding. Let Domori play you a symphony upon your taste buds.
Like fine wine or classic music, it can be difficult to get the most out of chocolate without a proper guide. Thankfully, at Gourmet Boutique we also offer guided chocolate tastings.