Chocolatiers Get Single-Minded

Chocolatiers Get Single-Minded

Single-source cacao yields the bitter, the sweet, the winey, the citrusy.

“Historically, people didn’t like single-origin chocolates,” says Mary Leonard, owner of Chocolat Celeste in St. Paul. “They can sometimes seem harsher on the palate because they don’t have that balance of flavors.” But as with specialty coffees (see the story on page 36), cheeses, honeys, and all manner of artisanal foods now, so too with chocolate: “Single source” is the trend.

A story in the September 2010 issue of Outside magazine brought chocolate hounds to Leonard’s door, aching to get their hands on Swiss chocolatier Felchlin’s Grand Cru Sauvage, made with cocoa beans that grow wild in the jungles of Bolivia. Leonard tracked down 39 bars (3.5 ounces apiece, $20) and sold them all immediately. Felchlin is the only producer in the world making chocolate with the beans. Leonard makes a line of bonbons with Grand Cru Sauvage and Felchlin’s other single-origin chocolates.

Unbalanced flavors? Maybe, but here’s Leonard’s advice: Take a bite of chocolate, split it open with your teeth, and let it sit in the middle of your tongue. Then wait as the flavors—berries, wine, citrus, caramel, nuts—appear one by one.


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