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The Finest Flavours: Why Choose Criollo Cacao Chocolate

Criollo – The Rarest and Most Prized Cacao Variety

Criollo cacao (pronounced Cree-yo-yo Ka-Kow) is a rare and highly prized variety known for its delicate flavour profile and complex secondary notes.

Native to Central America, the Caribbean, and northern South America, Criollo represents only 5% of the world’s cacao production as of 2008.The history of Criollo cacao dates back thousands of years, when it was first cultivated and consumed by pre-Hispanic cultures such as the Maya and Olmec in spiritual ceremonies. Spanish colonizers initially encountered Criollo in Mexico and Central America, labeling it as “native” or “indigenous”.

Criollo Cacao pods on the rainforest floor, with some cacao beans and chunks of chocolate

Despite its superior flavour, Criollo is challenging to grow due to its vulnerability to environmental threats and low yields. It is particularly susceptible to diseases, which has led to a decline in pure Criollo cultivation.

Prized for its delicate, complex flavour profile with notes of raisins and plums, Criollo is considered the “prince of cacaos” among chocolate connoisseurs.

At Mr Popple’s Chocolate, we showcase the exquisite nuances of Criollo cacao in our carefully crafted bars.

How Criollo’s Flavour Develops

The extraordinary flavour of Criollo cacao is created by a complex interplay of nature and nurture:

  • Terroir, or environmental factors such as soil composition and climate, play a crucial role in shaping the cacao’s unique taste profile.
  • Criollo thrives in its native habitat of Peru, where the perfect combination of altitude, rainfall, and temperature allows the cacao to reach its full flavour potential.
  • At Mr Popple’s Chocolate, we source our Criollo beans ethically from Peruvian farmers who employ meticulous post-harvest processing techniques.
  • By carefully fermenting and drying the beans, these skilled artisans preserve the delicate flavour notes that make Criollo so exceptional.
  • This dedication to quality ensures that every bar of Mr Popple’s Chocolate showcases the true essence of this rare and prized cacao variety.

Crafting Chocolate to Showcase Criollo’s Flavours

We believe that Criollo cacao is a treasure that deserves to be celebrated. By sourcing the finest beans, employing artisanal techniques, and using only the purest ingredients, we create chocolate bars that showcase the unparalleled flavour and complexity of this rare and prized cacao variety.

What Sets Mr Popple’s Chocolate Apart

  • Our chocolate is a testament to the art of minimal processing, preserving the cacao’s delicate nuances that are often lost in mass-produced confections.
  • By keeping the cacao raw instead of roasting it, we maintain unparalleled control over every step, ensuring that our bars consistently deliver the finest flavours and textures.
  • By sourcing the finest beans, employing artisanal techniques, and using only the purest ingredients, we create chocolate bars that showcase the unparalleled flavour and complexity of this rare and prized cacao variety.
  • The art of crafting chocolate from Criollo beans requires a deft touch and an unwavering commitment to quality.
  • We meticulously grind and conche the cacao to develop its flavour profile, creating a smooth and luxurious texture that melts effortlessly on the tongue.
  • To further enhance the cacao’s natural complexity, we use only the finest natural ingredients, such as unrefined coconut sugaryacon syrup, and lucuma fruit.
  • These carefully selected additions highlight the cacao’s subtle nuances without overpowering its inherent brilliance.

Signature Criollo Cacao Bar Flavour Profiles

Our 70% Criollo chocolate bar is a symphony of flavours, with notes of raisin, plum, and mellow nuttiness that dance on your palate, complemented by the creamy sweetness of lucuma fruit and the subtle caramel undertones of yacon syrup.

For those seeking a more intense experience, our 88% Criollo chocolate bar delivers a bold, rich taste that will captivate even the most discerning dark chocolate bar connoisseurs.

For the ultimate Criollo purists, our 100% Criollo cacao bar is the epitome of unadulterated indulgence. Unlike commercial 100% chocolate bars that can be one-dimensionally bitter, our 100% bar reveals intense notes of dried fruits and subtle floral hints, showcasing the true complexity of this rare cacao.

  • Pure Peruvian Chocolate bar

    PURE PERUVIAN – Ceremonial Cacao, 100% Raw Criollo Chocolate Bar- 35g

    £2.49
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  • Atey Ate Chocolate bar

    ATEY ATE% – 88% Raw Cacao – Yacon Sweetened Dark & Rich Chocolate Bar – 35g

    £2.49
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  • Dark Mylk Vegan Chocolate bar

    DARK MYLK – Plant-Based, Dairy Free Vegan Dark Milk Chocolate Bar – 35g

    £2.39
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  • Signature Seventy Chocolate bar

    SIGNATURE SEVENTY – 70% Raw Cacao – Yacon Sweetened Dark & Creamy Chocolate Bar – 35g

    £2.49
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  • Signature Seventy 70g Bar

    75g – SIGNATURE SEVENTY – 70% Raw Cacao – Yacon Sweetened Dark & Creamy Chocolate Bar

    £4.49
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  • Dark Orange Vegan Organic Chocolate Bar

    75g – EUPHORIC ORANGE – Organic Orange Chocolate Bar – Sweetened with Yacon Syrup

    £4.49
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  • 88% Strong Organic Vegan Chocolate

    75g ATEY ATE% – 88% Raw Cacao – Yacon Sweetened Dark & Rich Chocolate Bar

    £4.49
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We also offer inclusion bars that spotlight Criollo’s affinity for complementary ingredients. Our Amarillo Chilli chocolate bar is a delightful fusion of rich cacao and zesty Peruvian chilli, while our Euphoric Orange dark chocolate bar combines the bright citrus notes with the deep, complex undertones of Criollo.

Elevate Your Chocolate Experience

Mr Popple’s Chocolate invites you to embark on a tantalising journey of chocolate discovery. Our bars, crafted with the finest heirloom Criollo cacao, offer a symphony of nuanced flavours that will redefine your perception of chocolate. Share this experience with your loved ones and deepen your appreciation for the art of bean-to-bar chocolate making.

About Mr Popple’s Chocolate

Since our humble beginnings in 2007, Mr Popple’s Chocolate has been dedicated to crafting the finest quality chocolate using only the most exceptional ingredients. We understand that the key to creating truly remarkable chocolate lies in the cacao varieties we use, which is why we’ve chosen to showcase the unparalleled flavour profile of Criollo cacao in our bars.

Prized for its rarity and complexity, Criollo cacao is the star of our chocolate. We meticulously source our beans from the finest cacao farms in Peru, ensuring that every bar we create is a testament to the extraordinary potential of this heirloom variety.

Conclusion

Mr Popple’s Chocolate bars celebrate the exquisite flavours and unrivalled quality achieved through the use of single-origin Criollo cacao and artisanal craftsmanship.

Explore our range of Criollo chocolate bars and inclusion varieties, and elevate your chocolate experience with Mr Popple’s – a journey of indulgence, discovery, and unparalleled quality awaits.

FAQs

What are the unique flavour characteristics of chocolate made from Criollo cacao?
Criollo chocolate can have flavour notes of berries, nuts (like hazelnut), flowers, tea, and spices. Some specific Criollo varieties have been described as having notes of melon, pineapple, and star fruit.

How does the flavour of Criollo chocolate compare to other varieties?
Compared to Forastero, which has a strong, classic chocolate flavour, Criollo chocolate is more subtle and complex. Trinitario, a hybrid of Criollo and Forastero, falls somewhere in between in terms of flavour profile.

How does the fermentation process affect the flavor of Criollo chocolate?
Criollo cacao beans are typically fermented for a shorter period (2-3 days) compared to other cacao varieties to preserve their delicate flavour. Proper fermentation is crucial for developing the desired flavour profile in Criollo chocolate.

What is the best way to taste and appreciate the unique flavours of Criollo chocolate?
To fully appreciate the complex flavours of Criollo chocolate, it is recommended to taste it slowly, allowing it to melt in your mouth. Pairing Criollo chocolate with complementary flavors, such as fruits or nuts, can also enhance the tasting experience.

How does the conching process influence the taste of Criollo chocolate?
Conching, the process of grinding and mixing the chocolate, helps to develop and refine the flavour of Criollo chocolate. A longer conching time can result in a smoother, more mellow flavour. We conche our chocolate for over 50 hours.

What is the typical cocoa percentage in Criollo chocolate bars?
Due to the delicate flavor of Criollo cacao, chocolate bars made from this variety often have a higher cocoa percentage (70% or more) to showcase the unique flavor notes.

How does the mouthfeel of Criollo chocolate differ from other varieties?
Criollo chocolate is often described as having a smooth, creamy mouthfeel due to the higher fat content of the cacao beans.

What is the color of Criollo cacao pods?
Criollo cacao pods are typically red or yellow when ripe.

How many seeds are usually found in a Criollo cacao pod?
A Criollo cacao pod usually contains 20 to 50 seeds, depending on the size of the pod.

What is the average size of a Criollo cacao pod?
Criollo cacao pods are typically 15 to 20 cm long and 7 to 10 cm wide.

What is the texture of Criollo cacao beans?
Criollo cacao beans have a soft, tender texture compared to other cacao varieties.

What is the fat content of Criollo cacao beans?
Criollo cacao beans have a fat content of approximately 50-55%.

What is the main polyphenol found in Criollo cacao?
The main polyphenol found in Criollo cacao is epicatechin, which has potential health benefits.

What is the optimal temperature range for growing Criollo cacao?
The optimal temperature range for growing Criollo cacao is between 18°C and 32°C (64°F to 90°F).

What is the ideal humidity level for Criollo cacao cultivation?
The ideal humidity level for Criollo cacao cultivation is between 70% and 80%.

How long does it take for a Criollo cacao tree to mature and produce pods?
A Criollo cacao tree typically takes 3 to 5 years to mature and produce pods.

What is the average yield of a Criollo cacao tree per year?
The average yield of a Criollo cacao tree is approximately 0.5 to 2 kg of dry beans per year.

How often are Criollo cacao trees harvested?
Criollo cacao trees are usually harvested twice a year, with the main harvest occurring in the dry season.

What is the fermentation process for Criollo cacao beans?
Criollo cacao beans are fermented for a shorter period (2-3 days) compared to other cacao varieties to preserve their delicate flavour.

How are Criollo cacao beans dried after fermentation?
Criollo cacao beans are typically sun-dried on raised platforms or mats for several days until they reach the desired moisture content.

What is the price difference between Criollo and other cacao varieties?
Criollo cacao beans are generally more expensive than other varieties due to their rarity and superior flavour profile.

Are there any organizations dedicated to preserving Criollo cacao?
Yes, organizations like the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund work to protect and promote rare cacao varieties, including Criollo.

What is the future outlook for Criollo cacao production?
The future outlook for Criollo cacao production is uncertain due to its vulnerability to diseases and environmental factors, but efforts are being made to preserve and promote this unique cacao variety.