Marañón chocolate, the rarest chocolate in the world, is available at Thierry Chocolaterie and Patisserie at 1059 Alberni. Chef Thierry is serving Marañón in hot chocolate as a part of the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival, January 30 – February 10. He pairs the dense drink with a Marañón-dipped madeleine.
The intense liquid experience is akin to swallowing sunshine – chocolate made from high quality cacao has a mysterious ability to glow – combined with serotonin surges and the sweet simplicity of true love.
What makes this chocolate so darn special? Marañón chocolate, made from Pure Nacional cocoa beans, was thought to be extinct. Once up on a time in Ecuador around 1916 the perfect variety of cacao plant got sick and was wiped out by disease. Fast forward to 2010 and two dudes accidentally rediscovered the prized Nacional plant in the forests in Peru.
“I love the story behind it, says Chef Thierry. “They thought they lost it 100 years ago because of diseases. Two business men in the jungle in Peru find these cocoa beans and send the plant samples to a lab in the U.S. to be tested.”
Why do Pure Nacional beans produce better chocolate? According to a NYTimes article on the discovery, Nacional cacao has a rare and precious characteristic: 40 percent of the beans are white, not the usual bitter purple, producing a more mellow, less acidic chocolate. It took cultivators some time to learn how to preserve and process the delicate flesh.
“Usually the pulp inside the cocoa bean is purple. Here the bean’s flesh is white,” explains Chef Thierry. “When you eat one, you say ‘chocolate.’ The more you try it, the more you find it fruity and very creamy. It’s mellow. ”
Thierry’s Marañón hot chocolate is $9.75. The price reflects the ingredients which are predominantly melted Marañón, although he adds a tiny bit of cream and sugar. In Chef Thierry’s words “as little additions as possible.” My hot chocolate came with a glass of water because it’s just that strong.
“I am addicted to it,” says Chef Thierry. “I will eat one bar every day. For the moment it is may favourite chocolate.” His wife agrees.
Try Marañón hot chocolate, Marañón-dipped madeleines, mini bars, and ganache squares at Thierry, January 30 – February 10. It may also prove hard to resist Thierry’s macarons, which come in salted caramel, maple pecan, cranberry, etc.