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Castronovo Sierra Nevada Colombia 72% Dark Chocolate Bar
Castronovo Sierra Nevada Colombia 72% Dark Chocolate Bar

Castronovo Rare Cacao Collection Colombia Sierra Nevada Dark Chocolate Bar

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This 72% dark chocolate bar from the Castronovo Rare Cacao Collection is sumptuous and brand new to the Barometer Chocolate collection. Before savoring this intoxicating bar, notice its beautiful auburn color. Upon tasting, hints of fresh, tart apricot, or perhaps tangy plum, embedded in a chocolatey base greet you in the top notes, evolving into a creamy, indulgent nuttiness in the finish. The flavor starts off with a light, pleasant acidity that culminates in a soft and luscious finish. Comprised of highly coveted heirloom Criollo and Trinitario fine flavor beans, these bars are in high demand. Always exquisitely balanced, Castronovo bars are also full-bodied and luscious. This dark chocolate bar is a true treasure among treasures. If you are looking to pair, this would be beautiful with the creamed raw local honey that is featured in the Barometer Chocolate collection. 

  • Gold Winner 2020 at the Academy of Chocolate Awards, London
  • Three-time Silver Winner of the 2019, 2016 & 2015 Academy of Chocolate Awards
  • Bronze Winner of the 2018 Academy of Chocolate Awards (London)

At high altitudes, this rare and precious cacao grows in the wild along the remote slopes of Colombia’s Sierra Nevada coastal mountains. The Arhuacos people who inhabit this region refer to their land as “the heart of the world” because all five biomes of the earth can be found here, from coral reefs to glacial peaks.

Since there are no roads on the rugged, mountainous terrain, the indigenous Arhuacos people harvest the cacao beans, package them in jute sacks, and rely on their mules to transport them to the bottom of the steep slopes.


The Arhuacos measure their journey not by distance but by how long it takes to smoke their homemade cigars.

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.

For Denise, making bean-to-bar craft chocolate is a way to improve lives and livelihoods of indigenous people. She insists on protecting the rainforests by supporting natural utilization of the land. None of Denise Castronovo’s beans come from manicured cacao plantations that had once been lush rainforests, cut down in the name of profit. All of the cacao beans she uses to make her luscious bars and treats either grow naturally in the wild or come from small, family-owned farms where cacao just happens to be one of their crops.

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 Cane Sugar, Organic Cocoa Butter
  • Net Weight: 62 g. / 2.2 oz.
  • Country of Origin: USA