From the culi­nary mind of the French Laundry chef Thomas Keller and a Tuscan olive oil pro­ducer Armando Manni, a new type of choco­late bar has emerged on the mar­ket.

K + M Extravirgin Chocolate boasts an approach to pre­serv­ing the potency of the cocoa bean and improv­ing health ben­e­fits by using EVOO as a main ingre­di­ent. With the ben­e­fit of potent antiox­i­dants, the treat is both tasty and nutri­tious.

By opt­ing to use EVOO instead of cocoa but­ter to cre­ate the sump­tu­ous dessert, less sat­u­rated fat is used and the advan­tages of EVOO are included as an extra bonus.

Most choco­late man­u­fac­tur­ers develop their prod­uct using cocoa but­ter mixed in with cocoa pow­der — both ingre­di­ents derived from the orig­i­nal cocoa bean. At a high pres­sure, “cocoa liquor” made from cocoa beans is sep­a­rated, leav­ing the dusty cocoa pow­der respon­si­ble for chocolate’s infa­mous fla­vor and the fatty part, cocoa but­ter, as its tex­tual coun­ter­part.

The idea to develop a new tech­nique came to the men five years ago as they began dis­cussing the heal­ing prop­er­ties of dark choco­late and olive oil. The choco­late is made in a ware­house in Napa Valley, where the cocoa bean under­goes a del­i­cate process of refine­ment to pre­serve the antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties which can be lost in tra­di­tional choco­late-mak­ing prac­tices, the com­pany claims.

Ingredients include organic cocoa beans, organic sugar, organic Manni EVOO and organic soy lecithin.

The bars come in three dif­fer­ent vari­eties: The Peruvian bar shares a deli­ciously deep cof­fee fla­vor; the Ecuador bar sug­gests earthy tones with hints of chest­nut; the Madagascar bar has an extra kick with spicy fruit high­lights of pineap­ple and pas­sion fruit.

The olive oil made to pro­duce the choco­late blend is not detected in taste, though it can be felt in the expe­ri­ence, as the thought of a guilt-free del­i­cacy set­tles into your taste buds.

“Our unique method of turn­ing cocoa beans into chocolate…results in most lux­u­ri­ous antiox­i­dant-rich choco­late,” the two inno­va­tors are quoted on their web­site say­ing.

Pictured along­side them is Chi Bui, a choco­latier for K + M who is respon­si­ble for pro­duc­tion in Napa. Bui is rec­og­nized as a pio­neer in the “bean to bar” effort on the choco­late fron­tier, accord­ing to the com­pany. As a choco­latier, she is inter­ested in the amal­ga­ma­tion of health, sci­ence, art and gas­tron­omy.

K + M Chocolates are avail­able through their web­site and Williams Sonoma.



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