Saturday, May 14, 2011

Review: Askinosie Tenende Tanzania

Lindy's Rating: 7.5 (previously ***)
Richard's Rating: 7.5 (previously ***)

chocolate makerAskinosie
barTenende Tanzania
cacao treesTrinitario
size85g ~ 3.0oz
cocoa solids72%
added fatcocoa butter
sweetenercane juice
other ingredients(none)
list price$8.00

colormedium-dark brown
PANTONE 19-1317 Bitter Chocolate
texturesmooth with character imprints and scoring
aromaearth, fruit (fig), roast (tobacco), floral
snapmedium hard
tasteinitial slight bitterness, roast, fruit (berry, citrus), tannin
finishsomewhat acidic, somewhat tannin

Askinosie is the passionate creation of Shawn Askinosie. He established a chocolate making business based on personal relationships, beginning with the farmers who grow the cacao. Although not certified due to the added costs, Askinosie makes single origin organic chocolate using fair trade practices (including profit-sharing). Their dark chocolate bars include San Jose Del Tambo, Ecuador, Cortés, Honduras, Soconusco, Mexico, Davao, Phillipines, and this bar: Tenende, Tanzania.

Tenende Tanzania came packaged environmentally, wrapped in biodegradable and compostable NatureFlex™ inside a waxed paper bag tied with string from the biodegradable sack in which the beans were shipped to their factory.

This chocolate was a single origin bar made of Trinitario cacao beans from farms of the woman-led UWATE farmer group in Tenende, Tanzania. It was developed as a project of Chocolate University, a partnership of Askinosie and Drury University to benefit the homeless children of Springfield, Missouri. Students learned about entrepreneurship and making chocolate from bean to bar, and 13 traveled to Tanzania and met the cacao farmers. The project also funded a new village well.

Rather than a best before date, Askinosie provides the date the bar was finally packaged as a "Choc-o-lot #", and using this number you can read the history of making the chocolate from beans to bar of this production run of chocolate bars. On their homepage, you enter the Choc-o-lot number (in the case of the bar we reviewed: 030911) and on the next page select the type and origin of the bar to see its history.

Tenende chocolate was made from 72% cocoa solids, with 28% organic cane juice and 3% (of the 72%) added cocoa butter made from the same cacao beans. The 85 gram bar was scored into 18 pieces, each with a single letter of "Askinosie chocolate". The color of the chocolate was a medium-dark brown Bitter Chocolate (PANTONE 19-1317). The bar had a medium hard snap.

The aroma of Tenende was predominantly earthy, with additional scents of dried fig and something floral. We also noticed a roast that we were able to identify as tobacco after smelling a fresh break.

Lindy tasted a slight initial bitterness as the chocolate began to melt. We then experienced roast and a gradually building fruit flavor that included berry (perhaps cherry) and citrus. The flavor of tannin was present as well.

The melt was at the far end of smooth, nearly more smooth, but not quite. The flavor lasted about 15 to 20 seconds after the chocolate was gone, giving it a short length. To Lindy, the final aftertaste was somewhat tannin; to me, it was somewhat acidic.

Overall, Lindy and I both rated Tenende a low ***. This chocolate won a Silver at the Academy of Chocolate's 2011 Awards.

You can purchase Askinosie Tenende Tanzania online in the U.S. directly from Askinosie for $8.00, or if you'd like to combine it with the purchase of other chocolate, you can buy it from Chocolopolis for $7.99.

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