The JW Marriott Hotel Riyadh’s Casa Cacao Boutique introduces a variety of new cacao flavors. What results when one of the top pastry chefs in the world decides to pursue his love for bean-to-bar chocolate production?
The solution is Casa Cacao, a boutique chocolatier owned by Jordi Roca of Girona. Spain’s renowned El Celler de Can Roca, a three-Michelin-rated restaurant.
As its name suggests, Casa Cacao is a top-notch “house of chocolates.” And now, Casa Cacao Boutique in the JW Marriott Hotel Riyadh.
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The first international store for the upscale Spanish chocolatier will allow chocolate enthusiasts in Riyadh to enjoy the highly sought-after sweet delicacies.
The sophisticated Spanish import carries on where the Girona original left off by exhibiting premium chocolate creations in organic packaging made of repurposed cocoa fibers.
Chef Roca and his staff buy carefully chosen cacao beans from farmers in nations like Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, the Dominican Republic, and India. Per the farm-to-bar movement’s sustainable tenets.
At the Girona facility, each bean is manually sorted before being roasted, cracked, winnowed, and mixed with raw cane sugar. It is conched for a minimum of 48 hours to produce an exceptionally smooth product.
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The outcome? Bars of pure chocolate that respect the origins, growing areas, and subtle flavors of the beans.
Discovering chocolate flavors
Before the official launch of Casa Cacao Boutique, Chef Jordi Roca and his mentor, Master Chocolatier Damian Allsop, cordially invite us to the JW Marriott Hotel Riyadh to experience chocolate enjoyment on an entirely new level.
We receive a little plate with two different kinds of cacao nibs, a glass of cocoa pulp, three small chocolate blocks, and three bonbons while seated in the hotel lobby.
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Then, it’s time for us to stand back and appreciate their cacao offerings. The team desires that its clients return to the fundamentals. And he explains why chocolate’s complex flavors should be released and savored with Allsop’s help.
A fruity flavor slowly permeates our tongues as we smell and eat a pinch of the beans. “I’m not putting in the fruit’s flavor. I’m going to do it, “Allsop elucidates.
“The seed’s anthocyanin is what gives the flavor its fruity character. The acid breaks it down so we can taste the blackberries and blackcurrant flavor. Raspberries, cherries, and perhaps strawberries will be available as it further opens up.”
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Allsop has gained notoriety due to his fixation with forgoing the traditional rich ganache composed of butter and cream that typically fills chocolates in favor of refining his closely-guarded recipe.
He consequently developed the ground-breaking water ganache method to produce the first.
He reveals, “All utilized cream. I got informed that the cream got made of ganache. So I use water because it feels cleaner on my tongue.” When using a water ganache, you get more of the chocolate’s inherent flavor nuances.
“Simple things are often unique. It’s unnecessary to be flashy to have a wonderful experience, “Adds Allsop.
Bring a tasty souvenir home.
You may get a variety of chocolates in the Casa Cacao Boutique, which is on the ground floor of the JW Marriott Hotel Riyadh. Some of the chocolates get exhibited in glass cases like jewelry.
The premium, handcrafted chocolate creations feature various countries of origin and cacao percentages. These range from boxes of pralines and carambines to nougats and individual chocolate bars.
Naturally, as Casa Cacao is a part of the hotel’s The Capital Lounge, visitors can also sample the hot chocolate there, which has a thick, velvety profile but isn’t harsh.
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However, the chocolatier’s creative efforts to cut waste have particularly captured our attention. The elegant packaging for each bar gets constructed from recycled cacao shells that have been pressed and turned into “cacao paper.”
But first, a piece of advice. This week, it might be best for those devouring Casa Cacao’s chocolates to take their time and enjoy them. So when you bite into it and give it a few seconds to melt, the flavor floods your mouth.
Follow on: @casacacaoriyadh