This dark milk chocolate has a habit of disappearing faster than anyone expects. While it actually has less added cane sugar than our dark bars, the added richness and naturally-occurring sugars from the milk make it supremely eatable. Acalli sprinkles some nibs on the back of every bar for a pleasing crunch, which adds unexpected bursts of pure cacao flavor.
If you taste a caramel-like sweetness in this bar, that’s by design. Acalli conches the chocolate longer and hotter, leading the milk sugars to partly caramelize and adding a fantastic depth of flavor.
The cacao in this bar is the same that Acalli uses in their Norandino Tumbes 70% dark chocolate, produced by a cooperative of 123 farmers spread across six communities in Peru’s Tumbes Province. Unlike most milk chocolates, this is dark enough (that is, has a high enough cacao percentage) that it requires no added cocoa butter. In this case, that means a slightly slower melt and more intense, up-front cacao and caramel flavors. When eating this bar, you'll taste dried apricot, caramel sweetness, rich and creamy mouthfeel, and subdued acidity.
A Note from Acalli Chocolate
We are chocolate makers, meaning we work from bean to bar. We import cacao—the seeds of a tropical fruit have been painstakingly cultivated, harvested, fermented, and dried by our partners at origin—and transform it into chocolate at our workshop in Gretna, Louisiana. The name Acalli (ah-CALL-ee) means “canoe” in Nahuatl, the same language that gave us the word “chocolate.”
We like to compare cacao/chocolate to coffee. Both owe their complex flavors to the combined effects of fermentation (which develops chemical flavor precursors) and roasting (which transforms those precursors into discernible flavors via the Maillard reaction). They come from the same countries of origin and require similar climates, and in fact many farming communities produce both—cacao at low elevations and coffee higher up.
We approach chocolate making with the philosophy that we are the final stewards of something truly valuable, and that origin isn’t just about place—it’s about people. For this reason, we strive to develop real relationships with the cacao growers and fermentation experts who make great chocolate possible. We go to origin and meet these people, and we offer a more limited range of origins so that we can focus our efforts on better knowing and better representing the producers we are lucky enough to work with.