/ Doug's Chocolate Republic /
Review: Madecasse 70% Cocoa
Madecasse 70% Cocoa
Posted: 26 July 2012
The 70% is at the entrance of heavy dark territory. And yet the chocolate is no more bitter than a 50% made by lesser operators.
Madagascan cacao is known for its fruity character and it lessens the acidity you'd typically experience with a bar this dark. If Madecasse's milk chocolate is a "dark" milk chocolate, as they describe it, their 70% dark is a light dark chocolate.
price/gram: USD 0.079
Cocoa %: 70
In sampling Madecasse's
and Cinnamon &
Sakay, I've developed a respect for the fledgling brand.
Besides doing the blends right, using delicious coffee nibs,
sea salt, cinnamon, and indigenous ingredients like sakay,
Madecasse has proven it can make both a delicious
milk-chocolate based bar and a darker bar.
Considering the company
already makes a 63% blend bar with nothing added to it, it's
surprising to also see a 70% bar on the product list.
Both 63% and 70% are in the same 'dark' range. Take
Whittaker's. They manufacture a 62% bar, the
And also a 72%, the
Dark Ghana. That's 10 points between the two,
quite normal. Plenty of brands offer both a 70% and an
80%. But a 63% and a 70% as well as a 75%?
Only masters like La
Molina attempt this. Madecasse is marching to the beat of their own Djembe drum.
The 70% is at the entrance of
territory. You don't use bittersweet as an adjective
with cacao solids over 70%. And yet the
chocolate is no more bitter than a 50% made by lesser
operators. My wife doesn't like real dark chocolate.
I force fed bits of the 70%, and she, too, agreed that this
was light on the mouth. Madagascan cacao is known for its
fruity character and it lessens the acidity you'd typically
experience with a bar this dark. If the Madecasse's milk chocolate
is a "dark" milk chocolate, as they describe it, their
is a light dark chocolate.
The downside to these
delicious bars is the price tag. Madecasse tries to
keep the prices down by offering the bars in 75 gram sizes
vs the more typical 100 grams. You're more liable to
cut the guys some slack because of their social mission to
enrich the local Madagascan population. If the
founders had a different view and were instead living in
penthouses in Antananarivo and driving Bentleys along the
Avenue of the Baobabs, I doubt the firm would be getting the
press it has. My brother recently informed me that a
homemade sorbet shop in San Francisco is already making a sorbet with Madecasse chocolate. That's some accomplishment.
It took Ferrero Rocher more than a decade before anyone
started making gelato with their delicious treats.
here's the million dollar question -- or $5.95 question, the
retail price for a bar of Madecasse. Madecasse's
chocolates are actually made by Cinagra, another bean-to-bar
operator in Madagascar that precedes Madecasse's conception.
Is Madecasse's brilliance due to innovative chocolate
recipes and methods of their own devising or Cinagra's
expertise? Someday I'd like to settle that question on
the Chocolate Republic. For now, Cinagra seems to be
notoriously difficult to find outside Madagascar.
web site as of this writing, and you'll just see a
generic page marker which reads "This is the future home page location for Chocolaterie Cinagra," with a picture of a
chocolate bar that looks exactly like a Madecasse
bar with its chocolate pod icon on each morsel.
The Chocolate Republic's
theory is that the two brands wouldn't differ much in taste,
that the reason Cinagra agreed to make chocolate for
Madecasse under a different and potentially competing brand
name is because Cinagra's brands
Tsar, Eben, and Palissandre have virtually no presence in
foreign markets or the sales resources to deepen foreign presences. Cinagra currently exports to France, Mauritius, South
Africa, and the US. I expect they do so in very tiny
quantities to small boutique shops. Meanwhile,
Madecasse, at just four years old, has already secured a
deal to have their bars distributed by Whole Foods, a major
US wholesome food chain, and has won over sorbet makers use bars to
create new desserts. Cinagra likely wanted to ride
this potential gravy train, even if it meant riding it in
Co-founder Tim McCollum has
said, "This is, believe it or not, the only fine chocolate
made in all of Africa," conveniently forgetting that Cinagra
has its own brands of fine chocolate made in Africa and that
Chocolaterie Robert has been making chocolate in Madagascar
since 1937 with organic beans grown in the Sambirano region.
Ignore the hype and marketing
rhetoric. Enjoy the flavors.