I recently had the opportunity to taste some fabulous artisan chocolate crafted by the K’UL Company of Minneapolis. (Wish you were here to assist!)
The name K’UL (pronounced cool) comes from the Mayan word for energy. The chocolate bars are promoted as a superfood providing the energy to do more and to do it better. The K’UL chocolate makers directly import their cacao beans from farms in Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru eliminating the middle man. The farms are chosen not only because they have great tasting cacao beans, but also because they are professionally managed, have well-paid labor, and practice sustainable, environmental-conscious organic farming. All K’UL bars are 70% cacao, vegan, gluten free, soy free and dairy free.
Chocolate tasting is an art in itself, involving all five senses. First, use your nose and start by smelling the chocolate. Taste is 75% aroma and these chocolate bars were rich with the fragrance of cocoa. Next, use your eyes as you need to evaluate the appearance of the chocolate. All of the K’UL bars were deep brown in color with a polished sheen. Let’s use our sense of touch. These bars were smooth in texture except where extra ingredients were added for more complexity. What does a good chocolate bar sound like? When you bite into one or break off a piece, you should hear a distinct “snap,” indicating that they have been properly tempered. (Tempering prevents the dull grayish color and waxy texture that happens when the cocoa fat separates out.) And last, but most important, is the way the chocolate tastes. Did you know that chocolate has 400 flavor profiles? That’s more than a fine wine! Let is slowly melt in your mouth. Using your tongue, move the chocolate to the roof of your mouth. Move your tongue back and forth to warm the chocolate for full appreciation. Mmm! The K’UL bars had no bitter after taste, either. I must admit they were the finest I’ve ever tasted!
Made from the world’s rarest cacao white bean, this single origin chocolate bar has a distinct orange accent, with a slight butterscotch flavor and floral notes. I compared this bar to a Lindt Intense Orange dark chocolate bar which I had on hand, and the Lindt chocolate tasted like vegetable shortening by comparison.
This single origin bar was one of my favorites (but then, they all were.) Deep, dark and rich, it felt like velvet on my tongue. I detected malt, fruit, brown sugar and maybe a hint of coffee.
This chocolate bar was chewy and tangy with a slightly crumbly texture. The added bananas and coconut make this one truly healthy and delicious. What a great way to enjoy chocolate for breakfast!
Perfect to tuck in your gym bag, this superfood bar is packed with protein from peanuts and currants!
The Endurance bar combines premium dark chocolate with cranberries, guarana and pumpkin seeds, which add a nice toasted nut flavor.
The stamina bar was also one of my favorites. It was a luscious dark chocolate enhanced with maca root, cranberries, cherries, pomegranate and raspberries. I wonder if this could count in my diet as a serving of fruit?
The rich chocolate flavor of the Saltsation bar is enhanced with the addition of sea salt.
Hand roasted almonds added a crunchy, crispy texture to this velvety chocolate.
The blend of dark chocolate with pure vanilla added even greater depth to the deep cocoa flavor.
Rich and silky smooth, this single origin bar has the flavor of fruit, floral notes like jasmine and a hint of licorice.
The single origin bar from Ecuador has a buttery flavor that made me think of brown sugar and butterscotch.
For more information and ordering these and other K’UL chocolate bars, visit www.kul-chocolate.com