First off, although not terribly exciting, I need to announce Chocolate Alchemy will be closed from June 15 - June 23. I will be heading out to China on a technical consulting trip and will mostly be not available. I may or may not be able to answer e-mails, but under no circumstances can any orders ship during that window.
But, if you want to stock up before then, there are two new beans in, both Retail and Wholesale, and of course, roasted and raw.
"La Red" from the Dominican Republic - Raw and Roasted . It has a solid, soft chocolate flavor, with tamarind and soft (as opposed to sharp) citrus (mostly lemon), with the occasional hint of banana. The roasted nib aroma particularly has a tamarind note. There is also other 'thick' flavors like caramel, toffee and caramelized sugar.
Venezuelan Sur del Lago - Raw and Roasted. It is a complex, well-rounded cocoa that can make a luscious chocolate bursting with flavor accented by subtle hints of red berry fruit, dry cashew, toffee, caramel, a touch of pepper and most important, chocolate.
And with that note of a return of a great Venezuelan cocoa, I'll move right on into more exciting Venezuelan news.
A couple years ago Chocolate Alchemy carried a few varieties of Venezuelan Cocoa that you may remember. Mantuano, Patanemo, Rio Caribe and that wonderful cedary Porcelano. Well, those came from a company that is now going by Tisano. The owner of this company is Patrick Pineda. Fantastic gentleman. He and other will be on a panel, The Myths, History and Future of Venezuelan Cacao, at the FCIA (Fine Chocolate Industry Association) 2012 Summer Event.
How and why this is relative is that Chocolate Alchemy is currently working to be the distributor of the cocoa Tisano is about to bring in. Very exciting. Patrick really says it best, so here is the latest I have direct from him:
"We are working to buy from Four Co-Ops buying direct from the farms :
1) Tricheras - Former Hacienda broken up and the land is now owned by the farmers. They have a great drying patio and fermentiation rooms. Solid Trinatario.
2) Mantuano - Former Indian Villiage turned Hacienda for Coffee and Cacao now owned by the local farmers. They are about to finish building a centralized depot / collections center with drying patios.
3) Patanemo - Former Slave villiage - the slaves ran away from the surrounding haciendas and hid in the mountains and started a little town called 'Pas Tenemos' - We have Peace, which over time turned to Patanemo. A great Criollo pale white beans with specks of pink. We work with the co-op here doing centralized collections, fermentation and drying.
4) Cumboto - Also a former slave founded villiage tucked away deep in the canyons of the Henri Pettier National Park. The Farmers @ Cumboto were the guys that were running the Ocumare Co-Op before it got taken over by the government. It is a small villiage just outside of Ocumare - they have the same genetic varietals and consistency of the Ocumare you have grown to know and love.
5) AMAZONAS - This is a rich forastero full of flavour and considered to be a wild grown cacao from what many believe the birthplace of cacao. Amazonas is grown by an indigenous community two days canoe trip from the nearest road. We have to travel two days against the current in order to reach the town and purchase the cacao.
Tisano is working hands on with these farming regions and co-ops to promote new heirloom varietals of single origin cacao and support the farming communities by paying above fair trade prices and directly purchasing from the co-ops.
We are also actively involved with development project to ensure quality and output of these regions continues to increase while always following organic and sustainable farming practices.
Our big initiative for 2012 is the creation of low cost drying beds that ensure beans do not go moldy and output can increase per farm to make the farmers earn more income per hour spent on the harvest."
If all goes right, many if not all (and maybe more) these will be in and available by the end of July. I am actively taking orders if you know or think you want large quantities. Please contact me directly for more information, pricing, etc.