Spanish chocolatier Casa Cacao has arrived in Hong Kong, just in time for the year’s biggest chocolate binge day.
Many of us have a sweet tooth, and for most, that indulgence strays towards the nectar of the cacao tree – chocolate. The global chocolate market is on the rise, surprisingly because of the perceived health benefits – we’re talking anti-aging, antioxidant effects, stress relief, and blood pressure regulation. However, there’s no denying that many of us are also becoming a little more discerning when it comes to the chocolate we indulge in, mindful of all the additives thrown into the mix and also of the social impact some of the big brands have on the little guy at the other end of the supply chain. That’s where a sound bean-to-bar philosophy comes in.
Fortunately, Casa Cacao’s arrival in Hong Kong heralds in a new alternative to Big Chocolate. Owned by famed three-Michelin-star restaurant El Celler de Can Roca and operated by pastry chef Jordi Roca (below) – a recipient of the World’s Best Pastry Chef award – Casa Cacao is launching a pop-up at the recently opened Cupping Room Harbour City on January 31, showcasing the brand’s bean-to-bar products.
Adopting a bean-to-bar philosophy that echoes the farm-to-table movement, chef Roca and his team source carefully selected cacao beans from Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, the Dominican Republic, and India. After the beans arrive at the workshop in Girona, they are sorted by hand, roasted, cracked, and winnowed, then combined with organic cane sugar and cocoa butter before going through the conching process, which ensures a perfectly smooth product, for a minimum of 48 hours.
Unlike mass-produced chocolate, this sustainable approach gives Casa Cacao total control over the finished product while honouring cacao growers and allowing the chocolatier to highlight the different flavours and aromas of cacao grown in different regions – much like wines express the terroir of where they were produced.
The bean-to-bar method also reduces waste: once the beans have been roasted and cracked, the discarded shells are inventively transformed into a cacao paper that’s used to wrap Casa Cacao’s chocolate bars.
At the pop-up, look out for signature bombones (bonbons), available in boxes of 32 assorted pieces, some of which have been crafted to resemble miniature cacao pods; chocolate bar collections, available in boxes of six and made from milk or dark chocolate; and an exciting array of individual bars using different percentages of cacao from different countries – there are even some made with sheep’s and goat’s milk and two made with 70% Venezuelan cacao, one with a touch of rich Ethiopian coffee, and the other with liquorice and tangerine.
You’ll also be able to stay toasty with Casa Cacao’s signature hot chocolate, made with 72 percent single-origin cacao cultivated and fermented in the Kaithpara Forest in Kerala, India.
Remember, no judgements.
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