A first-ever release from Chocolate Naive, exclusively for Cocoa Runners, is their ‘rough-ground’ chocolate.
Chocolate Naive was founded by Domantas Užpalis in 2011. Domantas is a man that saw chocolate representing his own life – both bitter and sweet. He graduated with an Urban Development master’s degree in London and had spent his whole life involved in the big corporate world. In 2008, Domantas returned back home to Lithuania; confident, driven, ready to face his career at full-speed, but was instead met by an international crisis that played against him.
The solution to Domantas’ negative state of mind and situation was chocolate.
Naive is known for its experimental flavours in chocolate making, but had yet to play around with textures. This style – rough ground – is very much based on Mesoamerican chocolate-making, or rather on Mesoamerican drinking chocolate. Chocolate’s etymology dates back to the Mayans’ usage of cacao, where they would make ‘xocolatl’ (meaning bitter water). Xocolatl was a frothy, bitter drink made from roughly ground cacao seeds. The Aztecs adopted cacao into their own culture, and for their own personal consumption would add various flavours, like petals, chilli, cinnamon, vanilla and honey. This experimental approach taken by the Aztecs has definitely influenced the chocolate makers of today, from sweetening up the natural ‘bitter’ flavours of cacao, to finding flavours that really work with and complement the cacao.
Inspired by the Mesoamericans, Naive have taken Ecuadorian cacao beans, ground them ‘roughly’ with sugar crystals to produce this Rough Ground 75% dark chocolate. The style is rustic, unrefined, it has a gritty texture, yet the flavour is delicate: floral and slightly nutty.