The Castronovo Honduras 60% Dark Milk with Fleur de Sel Chocolate Bar made from fine flavor Trinitario beans is rich, creamy, luxurious and simply spectacular. The sprinkling of fleur de sel from Guatemala is the perfect added touch to an already outstanding bar. Oh, delicious two-part harmony of dark milk chocolate and fancy salt, you are sweet poetry in my mouth!
- Silver Winner of the Academy of Chocolate Awards 2018, London
The bar is a tribute to the Lost City of an ancient civilization that once flourished within Honduras' virgin tropical rainforest. The indigenous dwellers protect the forest and harvest its wild cacao to earn their livelihood. Post-harvest, the cacao is fermented and dried before it is loaded onto hollowed-out tree log canoes, called pipantes, for a two-day voyage upstream to the nearest road.
I've had the pleasure of meeting Denise Castronovo, the maker of this fine chocolate bar. Denise leads the pack of solo female chocolate makers, a rare breed and a group I love to support. She is the only one among them whose U.S. bean-to-bar company has amassed dozens of awards from the International Chocolate Awards (as well as Academy of Chocolate Awards and Good Food Awards). You might expect that a maker as accomplished as Denise has spent a lifetime working in the world of craft chocolate, or at least in the food and pastry industry. Actually, in her former career Denise was an ecologist and preservationist after having studied environmental science and economics in undergrad and graduate school.
Denise had always been a foodie and fine chocolate lover thanks to an aunt who lived in Switzerland and kept her supplied with spectacular chocolate bars that were unavailable in the United States. Those bars, far superior to any chocolate she had ever tasted, made an impact that imprinted on her soul. After a long and successful career dedicated to protecting the environment through mapping technology and spatial analysis, Denise and her husband moved from Massachusetts to Florida, where she decided to approach protection of the environment from a far tastier perspective.
In 2008, Denise bought some cacao nibs from Whole Foods with which to experiment, and began doing research on cacao. She was fascinated by all the different flavor notes and profiles based on genetics and origin. Eventually, in 2013, Denise began to work with fine, heirloom, single origin cacao in earnest, and knew she had found her calling.
Extremely talented and perhaps just a little bit lucky, her first batch of chocolate turned out absolutely delicious, and that kept her motivated to make more. Most craft makers talk about the many mistake batches of “bad” chocolate they had to endure before they honed their skills and turned out something truly special. Denise magically skipped that phase.
Denise is an inspired artisan as well as a steward of the land and protector of indigenous communities. Her chocolate is exceptional, and I know you will appreciate the fine flavor of her bars as well as her commitment to nurturing the natural world and its inhabitants.
- Ingredients: Organic Cocoa Beans, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Whole Milk, Salt
- Net Weight: 62 g. / 2.2 oz.
- Country of Origin: USA