Diogo Vaz – Grand cru de Amelonado plantation 75%
By DIOGO VAZ
Tree to bar artisan chocolate maker, Diogo Vaz, took a straight forward approach to naming – its name is from the plantation of where its cocoa is farmed: Diogo Vaz Roça on the island of Sao Tome (Roca means plantation). And the inspiration from the company is similarly straightforward. Jean-Remy Martin, founder of the Kennyson Group, a company known for its work in the rural development in Africa, wanted to revitalise São Tomé’s cocoa history. So Jean-Remy set up a project to replant cacao across the island and thereby raise the social status, and incomes, of local cacao farmers’ by providing higher yielding and finer cacao (which offers higher prices). After various negotiations the project was “greenlight” by the São Tomé government in 2004. Soon after the Kennyson Group took over the management of the historic Diogo Vaz plantation. Fast forward 15 years and with the help of master chocolate maker, Olivier Casenave, Diogo Vaz are now growing, crafting and selling award winning bars from Sao Tome.
This bar is crafted using Diogo Vaz’s signature Amelonado cacao. Amelonado had been the prevailing cacao grown all over Africa, indeed it is often referred to as ‘West African Amelonado’ worldwide. However, pure Amelonado cacao is extremely rare to find in Africa today, with the original strains having been modified with the introduction of hybrids.
Back in the early 2010s, Jean Remy sent some of Diogo Vaz plantation’s Amelonado cocoa beans to Olivier Casenave, a chocolate maker with Basque roots, who is a leading pioneer of the small batch craft chocolate movement in France. With these beans, Olivier won Gold at the 2016 Salon du Chocolat in Paris for a 75% dark chocolate. And armed with this success, the Diogo Vaz project developed its own craft chocolate operation, working with Olivier Casenave, to craft bars from “tree to bar” on their plantation.
This 70% dark chocolate has a rich cocoa flavour and thick mouthfeel, making this a truly indulgent bar. During the melt, the cocoa butter releases delicate floral flavours and nearing the finish the chocolate revels in black tea notes.
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