Friday, August 10, 2018

Black Butterfly Selection & Cacao Juice

Kind of a mixed review today. Basically I'm just giving an overview of the things that I discovered last time I was at Black Butterfly in Prescott. The fact is, it's too hot right now to be carting chocolate around (unless you genuinely have a cooler in your car), so I would have needed to photograph and review these chocolates right away in order to do things properly. And, well, that isn't usually convenient.

They were just such a wonderful bundle of chocolates, though, that I hate to give no note of them. While I have no pictures, I will say that while Black Butterfly always has such an exquisite, artistic style, everything in the store that day was even more gorgeous than usual. There were so many new things, too, which is why I couldn't resist getting maybe more than I should have. All of the colors and the paint work was all happy and classy at the same time. Gorgeous, gorgeous.

From the case, I chose a Mint Meltaway and a Turtle. The mint was nice and creamy and light and not very strong on mint flavor, which was probably what made it more pleasing to me. The Turtle was one of those beautiful pieces that would make for a great gift--for someone of any age. Content-wise, it was a little closer to standard than I'd been expecting. The caramel, for instance, while certainly of much better flavor, is more of that standard sticky style. Pecans and chocolate are pecans and chocolate. The trio make for a good mix.

One of the exciting new things in the shop are the Snack Bars. Basically they're upscale, candy bars. Clear boxes with long bars of chocolate painted (again) exquisitely. The concept makes them perfect for either eating right away (by yourself or with your group) or giving as a gift. The whole snack bar/candy bar thing also makes them more approachable for those who might be intimidated by a case of truffles. It took me a while to choose two flavors, but I went with the PB& J and Caramel Macchiato. I was trying to go for one more casual and one less casual.

Possibly, though, I didn't choose the best flavors for me. I always bring this up when I talk about peanut butter chocolates, but I'm a bit of a hippie and I only like peanut butter that is made with just peanut and salt--no oil or anything like that. So that peanut butter taste that most people love . . . is a little too much for me. This chocolate leans more to that style and while the strawberry element is good, it's also a tad on the sweet side. I'm going to go, then, with that awkward statement that I think most people (to whom a PB&J bar sounds good) will enjoy this bar but it's a little too sweet and all for my weird tastes (it isn't as though I don't like sweetness--just not all sweetness).

The Caramel Macchiato had little circles of caramel in it, of the same type that the Turtle had. It also had that coffee flavor that was in itself strong but made up a smaller percentage of the overall taste--like with a flavored coffee beverage like a caramel macchiato. It's dark chocolate, but only of 61% cocoa content, so still a sweeter sort of bar here, as would be expected from a line like this.

So, fun new things to try out.

The other fun thing is a new product Black Butterfly is carrying. Cacao Juice made by Repurposed Pod. Can I stress to you how amazing this product is? I'll try.

First of all, I don't think I've really talked much about how great Tracy Taylor of Black Butterfly is. Not only does she make such beautiful chocolate, but she also is welcoming when you come in to the shop. She offers samples and tells you all about the products and how they're made, etc. Though I'd already had my chocolate sample when I came in, when I mentioned how excited I was about the cacao juice (because of course I was going to buy some no matter what), she got me a sample of that, too. So I had my first sip of cacao juice there in her shop.

It's distinctive, certainly. As you can see, it has an off-white color, with a bit of yellow to it, like cream soda or something like that. It smells fruity, almost lemony. The taste, too, I want to describe as lemony, even though that obviously isn't exactly the flavor. Tracy mentioned that it's similar to lychee--and I thought, oh, yes, that's it. That . . . different yet approachable sort of flavor that has some tang to it but also sweetness. And that's what makes it maybe similar to drinking lemonade, after all: it has both a hint of a zing while also being sweet. And yet this is 100% cacao juice with nothing added to it, no sugar, no water, no nothing. So it's kind of amazing how complex the flavor is--but would we expect anything less from a cacao product?

It feels similar, too, to drinking something like coconut water or aloe vera juice. Something that has a super distinctive flavor that is clear and crisp and clean and also strong yet not strong at the same time.

What is cacao juice exactly, though, you ask? Well, you see, the folks at Repurposed Pod thought hey, cacao pulp is a by-product of the chocolate-making process. How would it be if chocolate farmers could get paid for that, too? With the growing efforts to give farmers a livable wage for their work, it's great to think that we can also be using more of their product. So the cacao juice is made from the pulp of the cacao pods after the beans/seeds are removed to make chocolate. They flash-pasteurize it right there and then high-pressure pasteurize it once it gets to the U.S. Each 8.75 ounce bottle takes six pods to make.

And if you're paying attention to things of that sort, this juice is high in magnesium and B vitamins and antioxidants. Cacao is a fruit so why wouldn't it be healthy?

You can add it to smoothies or make cocktails out of it (Repurposed Pod has a great list of cocktail recipes on their website) or whatever creative things you'd like. Myself, though? I think it tastes amazing as is. Granted, I do drink things like aloe vera juice (the 100% kind, not the weird diluted ones) on a daily basis, so you might want to try it yourself first before you order a case of it. I imagine, though, that even if it's the type of thing some people might find odd-tasting at first, it's also the type that your palate will quickly adjust to.

So I could completely see this product taking off as the next big thing. It tastes amazing and it has great potential for health marketing and sustainable marketing and fair trade marketing and coolness marketing. It's pretty much the best thing ever.

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