Fun with inclusions

chocolate bar inclusions

What, exactly, is an “inclusion?”

The term “inclusion” is one we hadn’t heard until we started making chocolate.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines inclusion as “a relation between two classes that exists when all members of the first are also members of the second.”

Hmm.  That one doesn’t quite work, so we’ll go with the OTHER M.W. definition, “something that is included.”

In the case of chocolate that means something added to the bar to give it a different flavor, such as nuts, sea salt, ginger and the ever-popular (though somewhat counterintuitive) bacon.

We’ve spent a lot of time testing out different flavors for our inclusion bars, and after much (mostly very tasty) testing we’re excited to announce the winning inclusions for our signature bars:

El Carmen:  coffee

Almendra Blanca:  almonds

Asochivite:  maple sugar

Coffee seemed like a natural fit for the El Carmen bar and we were lucky enough to find a great source for coffee in West Roxbury at Recreo Coffee.  Husband and wife team Hector and Miriam Morales import coffee beans from their family farm in Jinotega, Nicaragua and roast them right in their shop.  As it happens, the beans are grown in a region that’s a very short drive from where we source our El Carmen beans so this is about as single origin an inclusion bar as possible!

chocolate bar inclusions
Monica and Tom at Recreo Coffee in West Roxbury with owner Miriam Morales. The light roast, whole bean coffee Monica is holding is the actual coffee we’re using in our bars.

One of the most surprising tastes happened when we married our Asochivite bean with maple sugar – a bar that was already fruit forward became incredibly so.  This is the bar that always gets an immediate strong “wow” reaction from people, as the combination of maple and the natural fruitiness and slight astringency of the bar makes for a very unique combination.

As with all our other ingredients we spent a long time sourcing our maple.  One of our goals was to source as locally as possible and after much searching (we hadn’t realized most sugaring houses can’t supply sixty pounds of maple sugar) we were rewarded by finding Severance’s Sugarhouse in Northfield, MA.  Milt Severance and his family have been in the maple business for over 30 years and make all their syrup and sugar from local trees.

Finally, the almonds for our Almendra bar are from Burroughs Family Farms in Denair, CA.  Burroughs is a family owned and operated farm that’s a leader in sustainability and conservation.  For more information on how they’re minimizing the impact of their farming practices, including recycling water, utilizing solar power and preserving open space, check out their website at burroughsfamilyfarms.com.

We’re still in the process of finalizing the recipes for our inclusion bars and hope to have them ready sometime this spring.  As we get closer we’ll post more information about each bar, and give updates as to when, exactly, they’ll be available.

And, of course, we’re constantly looking for fun, interesting and new inclusions for our bars –  testing out the many possibilities is just one benefit of being a chocolate maker… along with knowing the definition of “inclusion!”

 

 

bags of coffee
Comparing the taste of different roasting levels.

 

locally roasted coffee
A test grind for our inclusion bars.

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