Bakers Journal

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Stratus and Soma concoct aged chocolate bar


November 21, 2013
By Bakers Journal

Nov. 21, 2013, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON – Stratus Vineyards and Soma Chocolatemaker released their collaborative concoction called Stratus Bar, which is 70 per cent chocolate and made from Venezuelan Ocumare cocoa with vinous nuances from ageing in a lees-filled oak barrel.

Pioneers in micro-batch chocolate making, Soma's partners, Cynthia Leung and David Castellan, brainstormed with Stratus about using a wine barrel in an experimental chocolate-making technique.

It was winemaker J-L Groux who suggested that lees – the residual yeast cells from the winemaking process – might impart a more profound flavour to the roasted cocoa nibs. After three months of lees contact, Leung and Castellan were pleased to discover that the rest of their chocolate-making method also further concentrated the desirable flavours.

"It's not that it tastes like wine," says Leung, "but there is no mistaking the added fruitiness and top notes." The 80 g bars retail for $12.

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"We are delighted to partner with Stratus," says Castellan. "Our sense is that they occupy the same place in the wine world as we do in the chocolate world."

Soma Chocolatemaker is Toronto's first "bean-to-bar" chocolatier, with all phases of the process taking place on site. Stratus Vineyards is located in Niagara, Ont., and opened in 2000. Stratus is dedicated to growing and producing premium wine on their 55-acre vineyard.