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New Online Bar-Strawberries, Cranberries and Nibs - and 12 Tons of Chocolate

New Online Bar-Strawberries, Cranberries and Nibs - and 12 Tons of Chocolate

Hello and good day!

It is my great pleasure to announce another new product that we are putting online today.It is an absolute best seller in our shop and for good reason, it quite delicious.

Before I get into the details of the new product, I'd like to mention that we received a shipment of twelve tons of new chocolate yesterday.

It is truly awe inspiring to receive new shipments of chocolate.

Even after such a long time in business, going on 15 years now, every new shipment feels like a miracle.The cacao in the chocolate that just showed up was on trees in the northern Peruvian jungle less than a year ago.

It was hacked down off trees by machetes. The pods were broken open and the seeds scraped into buckets and the rest as they say is history

Of course, we always have a little drama with every shipment. In this case, the truck the freight company sent didn't have a liftgate, as we requested.

A liftgate is a mechanical platform attached to the back of a freight truck that can lower heavy items.

Each one of the pallets on the truck weighs over 1,000 pounds. If there is no liftgate, and this has happened to us before, you either have to break down the pallet and carry in the chocolate box by box, which is a back breaking nightmare, or you have to rent a forklift and drive it up to the back of the truck to lower the pallets.

Given that neither of those options was to our liking, we demanded that the logistics company work it out and not bring us any chocolate without a liftgate. Unfortunately, the only trucks available with liftgates could only carry about half the weight of our total shipment.

So the shippers had to bring our shipment in two, separate, half sized loads. The first one showed up and we unloaded it and then we had to wait around for 4 hours for the second shipment to show up.

Behind the scenes, the shipping company broke some of the wood framing on the pallets while they were unloading the original truck and loading our chocolate onto the smaller trucks.

Broken pallets made our life more difficult when it came to arranging the chocolate in our small space, but so be it.

If we can get cacao out of the jungle, over the Andes, through the Panama canal, and then back from Switzerland to Issaquah, WA, we can handle a few broken pallets.

What I love most about a new shipment of chocolate is opening up the boxes and smelling the aroma for the first time. The rich, caramel, notes of the milk chocolates.The stone fruit and floral of the dark chocolate.

So beautiful.

So magical.

Again, it was all on trees earlier this year. Now it is with us. This makes us feel so blessed. A worthy reward for so much hard work.

Anyhow, on to the new product.

Next week, we'll be introducing a dark chocolate product, but given that we wanted to make sure we received this shipment, we are putting another milk chocolate product online today.  

By the way, I am a milk chocolate person. I love dark chocolate as well, but milk chocolate, especially creamy, luscious, Swiss made milk chocolate, is right up my alley.

As with all creations made by our wonderful chocolatier Javier Valencia, you are going to get layers of flavor and balance, and we are going to be looking for ways to both soak up excessive sweetness and accentuate the wonderful textures and flavors of our Fortunato No. 4 milk chocolate.

In this case, we decided to go with the 36% milk chocolate.

We knew that we wanted to do something with strawberries and the only shelf stable way to use strawberries in a product are to go with either dried or dehydrated strawberries.

We didn't like the moist, gooey texture of dried strawberries, so we decided to go with dehydrated strawberries, which have a nice flaky chew.

But dehydrated strawberries are very acidic. They taste like strawberries, but the don't have much natural sweetness.Hence, our use of the 36% milk chocolate here. It is a nice foil for the acidity of the dehydrated strawberries.

As Javier worked on this, we came to believe that just strawberries and milk chocolate were too straight forward. We wanted more nuance.

Javier decided to cacao nibs to the bar and that added some bitterness, crunch, and deep chocolate flavor to go with the creamy sweetness of the chocolate and the acidity of the strawberries.

However, now we were going too far towards acidity and bitter and we wanted to bring the sweetness levels back up a bit, without losing the berry essence of the bar.

That is how Javier made the decision to bring in dried cranberries.With the dried cranberries, we feel we have enough sweetness, the right kind of acidity, chew, crunch, a bit of bitter.

It is a complex and satisfying bar and it is frankly a beautiful and aesthetically pleasing work of art as well.

As always, we aren't guessing willy nilly about the products we are putting online. We're putting winners from our shops up for your consideration.

This particular bar has a following. We see the same folks over and over again coming in to buy this bar and this bar only. It is what they want and what they must have and of course, we are more than happy to oblige.

Our price point for this bar is $8.99 for 5 ounces. Most comparable bars in the grocery store are 2  ounces for $3 - $4.

But I believe the quality of this bar is better than most you will find in a store. Ours will certainly be more fresh as we just made a batch of these by hand yesterday.

And of course, because we buy and process the cacao direct, and cut out all middle men, there are no distributers, brokers, or retailers eating up our profit margins.This allows us to pay huge premiums to our cacao farm partners, which in turn is helping about 500 farm families in Peru thrive.

You get something delicious, done the right way.

I'll be honest with you and you may consider me a rank sentimentalist for sharing this with you, but I tear up a bit just thinking about what a bar like this means. It means that our family business gets to share something with you that we've poured our heart and soul into.

That is the case with all of our products, but the shipment of chocolate that just arrived has me in a particularly reflective mood.

From the trees and the farms of our wonderful farm partners, through our processing facility, across oceans, back to Issaquah, for our wonderful friend and chocolatier Javier to work with, and then produced by our excellent production team.

We just couldn't be more proud and if you decide to pick up one of these bars, I know you will love it.

Anyhow, thank you for letting me gush a bit and for a moment of your time. We're generally more on the stoic side, not the celebrating type really.

But today, I just feel good, like a moment of celebration and extreme gratitude is in order.

If you'd like to pick up a bar, click the link below.

And if you don't want to pick up a bar, I still want to thank you for giving me a small bit of your time today. I wish you a great one.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day!


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Fortunato No. 4 Chocolate