Coconut and its various derivatives have long been touted for their contributions to the flavors and health benefits of food prepared with them.
My foray into Kultura Filipino’s “Crafts for a Cause” exhibit where I chanced upon the Coco Dolce stall, however, was the first time I heard about using coconut products in chocolate production.
This unusual feature is in line with the tenets that Coco Dolce producer, The Freefood Co., operate by. Its guiding principles include: better health, helping rural areas develop into sustainable communities, and respect for the planet and its resouces.
Its chocolate bars, therefore, are made from a rich blend of fine cacao beans, low-glycemic coconut sap sugar, virgin coconut oil and vanilla. These ingredients were sourced from Mindanao’s organic coconut farming communities and from local growers of indigenous cacao and nuts across the country. The resulting chocolate products are free from GMOs, harmful processing agents and preservatives and other chemicals that may adversely affect one’s health.
Organic coconut sap sugar, in particular, has a low glycemic index level of 35, making Coco Dolce bars suitable for people who need to manage their sugar intake.
The bars are manufactured by chocolate artisans using the traditional conching method. This involves the heating and mixing of the chocolate’s ingredients over long periods of time. The process helps in developing the chocolate’s flavor through frictional heat, release of volatiles and acids, and oxydation.
I bought two of Coco Dolce’s 45g chocolate bar variants: the Milk Chocolate (whole milk powder added to the other ingredients) and the 65% Dark Chocolate.
The bars hold well without refrigeration yet has a smooth texture upon biting. The chocolate flavor is rich, helped by the non-cloying and milder sweetness of the coco sugar.
Over the holidays, I plan to gift some bars to my titos and titas who are trying to control their sugar intake. Because the holiday season is a time to enjoy good food, right?
Check out my review of another artisanal chocolate –Malagos single origin premium chocolate.