Whilst we are normally purists when it comes to single estate dark chocolate, we make an exception for this Menakao dark bar. This is an example of chocolate with inclusions done right.
The chocolate is full of the typical berry notes of Madagascan cacao. The added cocoa nibs (what the chocolate is made from) give a powerful crunch, bursting with fruit and tannins.
The hint of sea salt serves a double purpose. It opens the palate, helping you to get the full flavour of the berries and red fruits. At the same time, the salt cuts through some of the nibs’ intensity, revealing their roasted fruit and raisin notes while reducing the bitterness.
The Madagascan chocolate maker has crafted this bar on the island using local ingredients. This is a rare with chocolate – it’s estimated that less than 5% of the world’s chocolate is made in the same country the cocoa is grown. By making as well as growing the cacao on the island, Menakao generate about 4-5 time the benefit of Fair Trade for the local Madagascan economy.
The sea salt or ‘Fleur de Sel’ comes from the salt marshes of Morondava in South West Madagascar. It forms naturally on the surface of the clay basins as sea water evaporates. You don’t collect the Fleur de Sel, you pick it in small quantities. Naturally very pure it has a delicate taste, which makes it perfect for bringing out the cacao’s fruit without overpowering the chocolate.