Castronovo Chocolate Review—Tasting A Poker Of Bars From The Only Small-Batch Chocolate Maker In Florida

One of the reasons to try new chocolate brands lately was my interest in the bean-to-bar manufacturers of white chocolate. However, the pretext to find new white chocolates often leads to tasting even the dark and dark-milk chocolate versions of the same brand. Among my latest names of bean-to-bar chocolate bars shipped from the US, Castronovo Chocolate could not be missed on my must-try tasting list. The American chocolate maker from Stuart (FL) is renowned for being a winner of multiple international chocolate awards.

Castronovo Chocolate Factory is the only small-batch artisanal chocolate maker based in Florida. The business is run by husband and wife Jim & Denise Castronovo, the latter of which is the passionate creator behind all of the Castronovo theobroma specialties. As a former ecological consultant, Denise studied how cacao trees played a significant role in protecting the rainforest. Therefore, the bearing of supporting the efforts of the farmers in growing and harvesting cacao of the finest quality soon became part of the Castronovo’s mission. In fact, Castronovo Chocolate is Direct Trade; that means being committed to pay the cacao farmers 3-4 times more than the commodity price for the cacao beans.

 

Product evaluation

(Bars purchased at French Broad Chocolates Boutique in Asheville, NC).

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Duarte, Dominican Republic 70%

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Ingredients: organic cocoa beans, organic evaporated cane juice, organic cocoa butter.

Made from Criollo and Trinitario cacao grown on the “Hacienda Elvesia”, a plantation founded by Swiss emigrants 200 years ago. The farm was established upon principles of sustainable agriculture, which hold true today.

Tasting notes: a brightness of grapefruit and a long, rich cocoa finish.

 

The Lost City, Honduras 72%

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Ingredients: organic cocoa beans, organic evaporated cane juice, organic cocoa butter.

A tribute to the Lost City of a vanished ancient civilization discovered within Honduras’ virgin tropical rainforest. The indigenous people living nearby in the Gracias a Dios region protect the forest and make a sustainable living as harvesters of wild cacao. Castronovo is the first American craft chocolate maker to make a single-origin chocolate from these remote beans.

Tasting notes: nutty flavor notes of roasted almonds.

 

White Chocolate infused with Lemon Oil & Lemon Salt

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Ingredients: organic cocoa butter, organic evaporated cane juice, whole milk powder, lemon oil, lemon infused sea salt.

A chocolate inspired by the typical taste of the Sicilian lemons.

As a lover and relentless researcher of high-quality white chocolate, this white chocolate is one of the best ever tasted.

Tasting notes: the lemon infused sea salt confers a pleasant sparkling to the palate.

 

Rare Cacao Collection – Sierra Nevada, Colombia – Dark Milk 63%

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Ingredients: organic cocoa beans, organic evaporated cane juice, organic cocoa butter, whole milk powder.

Made from rare cacao discovered growing along the slopes of Colombia’s Sierra Nevada coastal mountain range. The cacao is a mix of cultivated and wild-grown, harvested by the Arhuaco indigenous people.

Tasting notes: a rich caramel hint, mixed with fruity and nutty flavors.

 

Overall, my experience with this chocolate brand has been positive and I would recommend it to anybody liking chocolate with a silky finish. The only aspect I would—generally speaking—criticize is the absence of a specification about the origin of the cocoa butter used in the chocolate creations. Unlike cocoa mass, cocoa butter, in fact, is not usually made bean to bar. Even if there’s nothing negative about this choice, since limited percentages of cocoa butter are added to dark and dark milk chocolate, and also for the fact that making cocoa butter from scratch requires specific and expensive equipment, chocolate aficionados are getting more and more demanding regarding all possible information about their favorite treat. The main reason for disclosing the origin and information about the cocoa butter has the most justification from a maker who also produces white chocolate, since this version is the only chocolate made with high percentages of cocoa butter.

Note

Castronovo kindly replied to my information request about cocoa butter on Instagram:

@foodensity Thanks! Our cocoa butter comes from two different regions and is blended – Dominican Republic and Ecuador using organic cocoa beans.

 

Where to find Castronovo Chocolate
Online Shop
(Free shipping in the United States for a minimum of 4 bars. For international orders, you can contact the company by:
– email: castronovo@outlook.com; phone: (+1) 561 512 7236)

Local American stockists → Ask directly to Castronovo at the contacts specified above.

Visit the factory