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Home / Doug's Chocolate Republic  /   Review:  Madecasse Cinnamon & Sakay

     
Madecasse Cinnamon & Sakay 
Posted: 26 July 2012    9.0 
Madecasse Cinnamon & Sakay from Madagascar  Madagascan flavors figure heavily into Madecasse's Cinnamon & Sakay. Madagascar is famous for its cinnamon, but that's irrelevant because it's Sri Lankan cinnamon getting added to this one. The country is not famous outside Madagascar for its chili condiment recipe called sakay, which is a mixture of chilis, garlic, ginger, salt, oil, and vinegar.   You can taste the cinnamon and only a faint taste of chili -- and I mean chili. I did not taste anything that might resemble a sakay sauce, and that's probably a good thing. Would you really want vinegar and vegetable oil tastes in your chocolate?   
Avg price/gram: USD 0.079   Cocoa %: 63  Size: 75g   
       


Madecasse is a chocolate operation set up in 2008 by two former Peace Corps volunteers, Brett Beach and Tim McCollum.  Their mission is to create more of a social impact in Madagascar.  By growing and then producing the chocolate in Madagascar, more of the money stays in the country, jobs are created, and, according to Madecasse, four times the impact is generated.  This should be the entire Peace Corps' mission.           

I classify a chocolate bar's 'nationality' based on the location of its headquarters.  Nestle is a Swiss company.  Its head offices are in Switzerland, but as it's a multinational, it has manufacturing facilities and regional headquarters around the world.  Nestle bars made in Australia particularly for the Australian market, such as the Nestle Club range, are considered Australian.  Okay, that's an easy one.  Nestle has executive offices and manufacturing operations in Australia.  But what about Bloomberry?  This is a New Zealand company not shy about telling everyone its chocolate is Swiss made.  We classiify this as New Zealand because the Swiss manufacturer is not identified and the Swiss angle is clearly a marketing ploy. Swiss-made is not essential to Bloomberry's brand.  They could start making the chocolate in Timbuktu tomorrow and leave the packaging the same.        

So what about Madecasse?  Madecasse LLC is an entity registered in Brooklyn, New York, USA.  The two founders spend most of their time in the USA.  In a 2010 alumni profile on co-founder Brett Beach by Loyola Marymount University, it was mentioned that Brett only spends several weeks a year in Madagascar, but he explains why. "The real value is talking to the people who buy the chocolate in the Western world."  He's right.  Only tiny amounts of the chocolate Madecasse produces are consumed by the local economy.  Africans can't afford it.  Madecasse chocolate is actually produced by another bean-to-bar manufacturer known as Cinagra.  Cinagra is undeniably a Madagascan operation.  Isn't Madecasse just a repeat of the Bloomsberry example, the chocolate being made in one country for another market?

The Chocolate Republic doesn't think so.  Madecasse's mission, its name, is tied to Madagascar.  If the two American founders instead registered the company as an entity in Madagascar, they would still have to set up sales offices of some kind in Western countries.  The bars, as far as I can tell, is made in Madagascar (by Cinagra) for the benefit of Madagascar.      

Madagascan flavors figure heavily into Madecasse's Cinnamon & Sakay.  Madagascar is famous for its cinnamon, but that's irrelevant because it's Sri Lankan cinnamon getting added to this one.  The country is not famous outside Madagascar for its chili condiment recipe called sakay, which is a mixture of chilis, garlic, ginger, salt, oil, and vinegar.  Within Madagascar though, sakay is famous.  It's like kimchi in Korea or fish sauce in Thailand. 

This bar is billed as having a "fire-y finish."  It doesn't.   You can taste the cinnamon and only a faint taste of chili -- and I mean chili.  I did not taste anything that might resemble a sakay sauce, and that's probably a good thing.  Would you really want vinegar and vegetable oil tastes in your chocolate?  And would you really want a spicy bar?  Trust me, it's overrated.  I ate the Frey chili bar and all I could taste as the spice.  Frey's bar would be better renamed Chili with Chocolate.   Madecasse's 63% cocoa solid bar base is is perfect  Not bitter in the least, a phenomenon I've noticed in all the bars I've sampled made with Madagascan cacao. 

Madecasse is on to something delicious.   Move over Godiva,  There's a new player in town.       

If you liked reading this, consider savoring these reviews:
 Redstone Margarita from USA -- 34% cocoa solids
 Whittakers Hazelnut from New Zealand -- 33% cocoa solids
 The Complete Chocolate Republic Index


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The Harry Dandruff Universe

  Madecasse has cinnamon and sakay in a dark chocolate made in Madagascar by Cinagra. Do you like dark Madagascan chocolate? The chocolate republic does.