I love every bar in my collection, but if I had to pick the top three, this would be one of them. Taste this intoxicating, luscious bar and you’ll feel like you’ve met your chocolate soulmate. That’s how I felt after my first taste, and it keeps drawing me back like a magnet. With notes of fudge, honey, nuts, a hint of pineapple, and a mouthfeel that allows all the layered beauty to unfold on your palate perfectly, this Castronovo Signature Collection Maya Mountain, Belize 70% Dark Chocolate Bar made with heirloom cacao is not just a winner of many awards, but will make you feel like a winner for scoring one!
The foothills of the Maya Mountains in southern Belize is home to indigenous Mayans who operate a successful cacao cooperative producing heirloom beans. The Mayans have a rich history of harvesting, enjoying and trading cacao, and their tradition continues within diversified agroforestry farms.
The cooperative enables farmers to earn a living wage and send their children to school. When you purchase this chocolate, you are supporting farmers and their families, honoring Mother Earth and giving your body the gift of the purest and highest quality organic ingredients. Please enjoy!
- Academy of Chocolate Gold Winner 2020 and 2016 at the Academy of Chocolate, London
- Silver Winner of the International Chocolate Awards World Finals 2016
- Bronze Winner of the 2018 Academy of Chocolate Awards (London)
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