I’m proud to be able to introduce a new chocolate maker on my site today. At the end of 2020, I was contacted by the Italian wholesaler promoting Fabrica de Chocolate Momotombo in Europe. I was asked if I was interested in discovering the products made by this Nicaragua based chocolate maker. It goes without saying that I was more than interested.
Fabrica de Chocolate Momotombo was founded in 2004 by Carlos José Mann. He started out making chocolate is his home, helped by his friend Sonia Moraga. Using simple tools, they experimented a lot to find the receipt for their very own chocolate. Momotomo only uses Nicaraguan cocoa and products in their chocolate creations. Soon their operation expanded. Momotombo creates classic chocolates and filled chocolate. After several moves to bigger production units and attracting new people to get on board, today Momotombo also offers drinking chocolate, origin chocolate and couverture chocolate.
Beatrice Rosa from the Italian partner and distributer Cacao Motum, did send me several bars of the origin range for review and today we discover two of these bars.
Nicaragua is a renowned origin when it comes to chocolate. Several high profile bean to bar chocolate makers source the countries cocoa to create splendid chocolate bars. It is also the working ground of a cocoa producing company focusing on fine flavor cocoa beans for the chocolate production sector. But there aren’t many chocolate makers actually situated at the origin of the cocoa itself. Today, most of the cocoa is exported to foreign chocolate makers, but it is great to see an evolution to more and more locally produced chocolate.
I’m pairing two bars, just to show you how even different regions of the same origin can affect the taste of the final chocolate bar. It is more than exciting to be able to discover the flavor profiles of two bars, both from the same origin and at the same percentage but made with different cocoas.
The first bar is made with cocoa grown in Waslala, a northern town in Nicaragua.
The second bar uses cocoa from Santos Palma Siuna. Siuna is situated even more northern at about 100 km apart from Wasala.
Let’s find out if this relatively small distance does change the flavor profile of the chocolate bars.
The package of the bar consists of an envelope like cardboard box with a nice textured feel. On the front, the name of the company and the weight of the bar – 80grs.
Every origin has a circle shaped decoration, but the design is different, as is the color scheme of the box. The Waslala bar comes in a reddish brown sleeve with cream white decoration. The Santos Palma Siuna bar has a black box with silver decoration.
Interestingly, the origin is not mentioned on the box, but on a paper band, wrapped around the box. This band also contains brief tasting notes in Italian and English. On the back, we find the ingredients and nutritional information. All in all an elegant design and especially the cardboard box with an embossed texture ads to a luxury feel – it reminds me of touching leather. A nice touch!
Inside a generous 80 grams chocolate bar in a cellophane blister. The bars are simply rectangular pieces, but they are executed beautifully without any air bubbles and very sharp lines. The chocolate is very shiny and bright. Impressive.
I did notice a color difference between the Waslala bar, which is far darker than the more reddish Siuna bar. If it were up to me, I would change the colors of the sleeves to match the colors of the chocolate bar. Now the darkest brown bar is put in the reddish brown sleeve, while the reddish chocolate sits in the black box. While this isn’t terribly important, it would show even more eye for detail.
Anyhow, let’s dig in!
Bean: Not mentioned
Origin: Waslala and Santos Palma Siuna – Nicaragua
Maker: Fabrica de Chocolate Momotombo – Managua – Nicaragua
Ingredients: cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter
Price: € 7 – 85g – webshop Cocoa Motum – Italy
Batch: 200218-20-01 – best before 14/08/2022
Harvest: Not mentioned
Color: Deep dark brown with a red hint
Aroma: roasted cocoa, tobacco, roasted bread with honey
Taste: quick chocolaty start, wood notes, a short floral hint (Jasmin comes to mind). Backdrop of ripe, sweet yellow fruit – ripe gooseberry. Lush chocolate notes come back with a vengeance and bring along toasted nuts and a hint of caramel. The floral note pops up again at times, but faint and hard to catch. Slight tannins roll in the back and support the somewhat sweeter flavor profile. Harmoniously, it keeps rolling, focusing on chocolaty notes and nuts. Very satisfying. The after flavor is nice and dense, again chocolaty and nutty. It almost feels like the main flavor is prolonged.
The texture is super smooth and the melt is very enjoyable, without ever being clingy. After the melt, there is slight mouth drying effect, like sipping a nice red wine. One the chocolate is gone from your mouth, the flavor keeps rolling on and reveals in essence a flavor of roasted cocoa nibs, the longer you let it linger in your mouth.
This bar isn’t about wild meandering flavor notes. It is harmonious and soothing, lush and rich. Very enjoyable.
Color impression: gold and milk chocolate brown
The Waslala has an earthy heart, but is also very chocolaty and inviting. It has a balanced sweetness to it, making for a warm tasting experience with plenty of flavor notes to discover.
Final evaluation Waslala:
Visual appeal: 5/5
Melt and mouth feel: 4/5
Flavor profile : 4/5
Overall: 21/25 (****1/2)
Santos Palma Siuna
Batch: 200423-18-01 – best before 14/08/2022
Harvest: Not mentioned
Color: Dark brown with a reddish/golden hint
Aroma: stronger woody notes, tobacco, mint
Taste: Creamy start, darker chocolaty notes build,the mint hint is present in the back and gives the flavor an uplift. Dark roasted nuts in the back. Chocolate fudge, dark coffee without bitters. Suddenly an oak cask hint appears, touching vanilla as found in oak matured wines of whisky. Once gone, the afterflavor remains touching cocoa and slight medicinal wood note. Thick and long flowing. This chocolate also creates a mouth drying tannin effect and if your really search for it, the oak wood note can be detected as well.
Color impression: black and purple
This chocolate bar has a totally different character. It requires more time to develop its flavors – so take your time. It’s also a lot darker in nature. It feels less sweet and more earthy than the Waslala bar. This will appeal more to people who like black coffee and high percentage chocolates.
Visual appeal: 5/5
Melt and mouth feel: 4/5
Flavor profile : 3,5/5
Overall: 19,5/25 (****)
Both chocolates are very enjoyable, but might appeal to a specific audience. Both hold the rich, chocolaty notes I have come to expect from Nicaraguan cocoa, but are very different in character. Personally, I tend to like the Waslala bar better than the Siuna bar, but I’m sure plently people out there might favor the Siuna chocolate. In any case, Momotombo offers a product well worth the discovery. Take your time an explore the lush flavors of these nice chocolates, made at the terroir of the cocoa itself.