Ucayali River, Peru 65% Dark Milk
My newest origin: Ucayli River, Peru!
For years, I made two bars using cacao from San Martín, Peru–it was actually my second-ever origin! Earlier this year (2020), I ran out of it and the organization I partnered with no longer imports cacao… So, I took this opportunity to switch to Ucayali River, a cacao I’ve long wanted to work with. I received my first sample of this cacao a few years ago and was blown away.
Much like my San Martín dark milk bar, this dark milk chocolate has a lot of fruity notes (I taste figs, bananas, and cherries) with a great chocolate base and a nice creaminess from the milk rounding out the flavor.
This bar is also something of an anomaly as, at 65% cacao, it has a very high cacao content and actually less sugar than it’s 70% dark counterpart. This is because the addition of milk and cocoa butter replaces some of the sugar. What results is a great milk chocolate where you can really taste the nuances of the Ucayali cocoa bean.
I source the cacao for this bar from Meridian Cacao, who works directly with cacao producers, including farmers, co-ops, and fermentaries to find and ethically import great cacao into the US. From their page on Ucayali:
UCAYALI RIVER CACAO is a central fermentary that works with cocoa farmers along the Ucayali River outside of the Peruvian city of Pucallpa. The region has historically been aﬄicted with unrest from narco-traﬃcking and the presence of the Shining Path militant group. Ucayali River Cacao has partnered with USAID and Alianza Peru to give local farmers access to an alternate market to cocaine. Working with around 400 smallholder farmers with one to three hectares of land each, Ucayali River Cacao buys wet cacao at a premium price. They have worked with Daniel O’Doherty of Cacao Services to hone their fermenting and drying processes.
CACAO IN THE UCAYALI REGION
There are three groups of cacao that can be found in the Ucayali region: various Trinitario clones, CCN-51 and what the locals call “comun”. The comun varieties are similar to Trinitario, lower in bitterness and astringency. Ucayali River Cacao purchases only the comun and Trinitario clone varieties.
–Ben Rasmussen, Chocolate Maker, Potomac Chocolate
Ingredients: organic cacao, organic cane sugar, organic whole milk, organic cocoa butter
Weight: 2.12 oz (60g)
CONTAINS MILK. Soy, nut, and gluten free.