Friday, September 9, 2022

Monsoon Chocolate: Kokoa Kamili Tanzania 55% Dark Milk

As we continue with the Monsoon Chocolate bars, the next is the second milk chocolate: the Kokoa Kamili Tanzania 55% Dark Milk Chocolate. This is a curious thing. Their standard milk chocolates seem to range from 38% to 42%, which is already usually considered to be dark milk. Yet I did find the Sonoran Sea Salt Milk Chocolate to feel lighter than its cocoa content. So perhaps then Monsoon's 55% would be like another's 42%? Note, of course, that 55% is considered dark chocolate--but the addition of milk powder makes this dark chocolate into a milk chocolate. It is properly a fusion between the two, a dance between two categories.

The same brown monsoon cloud as last time once more denotes milk chocolate. Its contrast with the grass green marks the combination of two of my favorite colors. The black triangles and the blue swirl make it into a map of mountains and water. Must always be able to find water in the desert. The back of the packaging gives info on the cocoa origin. The Kilombero Valley, it seems, has over 1500 smallholder farms. Small batch cocoa companies are perfect for partnerships with small farms--and for highlighting less common origins, as well.

As will be the case with all this set of chocolate bars, remember that the slight disturbance of its surface is because I didn't bring these straight home from my visit to Tucson. The bar itself seems to have had a perfect original surface, smooth and clear. Its medium brown tone does look more like milk chocolate than dark. Cocoa butter is the aroma.

Instantly, there is a soft, soft mouthfeel. I'm guessing that this is due to the higher cocoa content (the higher the content, the slower a chocolate is to melt) paired with the creamy addition of milk. It's still a quicker melting than is standard with dark chocolate, but there is perhaps a greater steadiness to the texture that increases the softness when paired with the milk element. The milk adds such a creamy richness that I'm also left wondering if Monsoon uses a better milk than what most companies use--while this seems entirely plausible, it may also simply be the taste of the chocolate that gives this effect.

After the initial creamy richness, there is a slight tang, and then a curious depth. The mellow richness of milk chocolate follows, then a bit of brownie flavor. Then it's gone, leaving a whisper of fudge in its wake. If you try chewing a piece quickly instead of letting it melt, you'll get the subtle tang a tad later, almost towards the end; it takes a second for that flavor to build in your mouth. Either way, even with chewing quickly, you get more of the feeling of a rich chocolate dessert than a plain, standard milk chocolate. This chocolate, in a way, can feel richer than many dark chocolates--and yet it remains distinctively milk chocolate.

Usually, I try and categorize the chocolates I review. This one defies categorization. That is, the nature of Monsoon Chocolate puts this bar decidedly into the artisan chocolate category. But after that, do I say it's for milk chocolate people? For people who like sweet chocolate, or rich chocolate? Its rich creaminess has appeal to the desire for chocolate confections. But its depth touches also on the delight we get from a nuanced dark chocolate. You can sit quietly with this chocolate to ponder it--or you can eat it quickly in your desire for sweetness. You can keep it hidden away in your chocolate stash, or serve it with dessert. Or maybe as dessert. If I had to choose one, I'd say that: if a restaurant gave me a square of this chocolate on a petite plate for dessert, I'd be remarkably happy. 

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