Behold one of my personal favorites among favorite bars. In this Letterpress Tanzania Kokoa Kamili 70% Dark Chocolate Bar is a gorgeous sensory experience In the nose there is molasses, dried fruit and barely ripe banana. Upon tasting, a complex range of flavors reveal themselves…green banana, raspberry, subtle spice and a delicate mocha finish. This bar is silky and complex. It’s the kind of irresistible bar where one piece leads to a second and a third.
- Gold Winner 2022 Academy of Chocolate Awards
The beans for this bar come from a village called Mbingu (Kiswahili for “heaven”) in Kilombero Valley, Tanzania. It is near Udzungwa Mountain National Park. Kokoa Kamili is a well-renowned fermentation facility in Mbingu Village that purchases wet cacao beans at a premium price (actually, the highest price paid for cacao in all of Tanzania) from more than 4,000 smallholder farmers in the region. Kokoa Kamili does great work, not only with the art and science of fermentation, but with training farmers how to increase the quantity of cacao beans without sacrificing quality. They also distribute cacao seedlings to farmers as an investment in their future and the future of fine flavor cacao.
Inspired chocolate makers and owners of Letterpress, David and Corey Menkes were once close friends in high school. They fell in love and got married in 2010. On a trip to St. Lucia shortly after their wedding they tasted the sweet pulp from cacao pods, saw cacao fermenting for the first time, and got bitten by the chocolate-making bug.
By 2013, the couple was running a bean-to-bar chocolate blog called Little Brown Squares where they exclusively reviewed craft bars. In 2014, David took a cacao bootcamp class hosted by Madre Chocolate in Oahu, Hawaii. There, David learned not only how to grow and cultivate cacao trees, but also how to ferment and dry cacao, taking the chocolate-making process all the way through to the finished bar.
Upon returning home to LA, he began purchasing small quantities of cacao beans to start making his own chocolate in the kitchen. After some practice, his chocolate was so delicious that his coworkers at DreamWorks Animation started placing orders. By 2016, David and Corey's tiny apartment was overrun with chocolate making equipment and they needed to find a larger home for it. A shared kitchen conveniently located just down the road fit the bill, and after renting space there, they eventually purchased it in 2017. In 2018 they expanded beyond the kitchen, taking over the entire location and renovating the retail area. They hosted a grand opening in 2018 and started offering factory tours in 2019 to an overwhelming response. Keep your eyes on this amazing company. They are young and brilliant chocolate makers.
Letterpress is among the 13 favorite USA craft chocolate producers recognized in Melissa Clark's February 2020 New York Times article for the extra attention their team devotes to sourcing beans, forging positive relationships with growers and treating the planet with extra loving care.
- Ingredients: Organic Cocoa Beans, Organic Unrefined Cane Sugar
- Net Weight: 60 g. / 2.1 oz.
- Country of Origin: USA
- Kosher Information: Pareve