Samantha Aquim’s Q chocolate was inspired by her visit to a Brazilian cocoa plantation. As a graduate of École Lenôtre in Paris, she established herself primarily as a chef in Rio de Janeiro and together with her family continues the gastronomic heritage in their event catering and consulting business that was founded over two decades ago by her mother. Impressed by cocoa’s natural complexity, she decided to make “cacao chocolate – chocolate that is as true to the original beans as it is possible, untouched by artificial flavours.”
The result is a range of chocolate bars made only with three ingredients: cocoa liquor, cocoa butter and sugar. They are sold at her flagship Ipanema boutique, at the upscale Village Mall in Barra, both in Rio, and now also abroad in London, Paris and Austin.
Q chocolate is a socially sustainable product. The chocolate is made from beans grown on a single farm in Bahia state in the north of Brazil. The hand-wrapped bars are illustrated with the animals and plants native to Bahia, promoting Brazil’s natural diversity.
Design is pride of Brazilians and nobody else can embody this country’s modern shapes than Oscar Niemeyer, the renowned Brazilian architect. Niemeyer designed the contemporary curvy form of Q0 chocolate exclusively for the Aquim Family. This chocolate is also produced from a single farm, but also from a single vintage and a single batch, distinct from the rest in the Q chocolate range.
There are six types of bars with different percentages of cocoa liquor content. Getting a tasting set of small chocolate rectangles is revelatory for any chocolate lover. Each of them tastes very different, while it is all made from one single cocoa plantation, the cocoa percentage changes the gustatory character of each bite.
Starting with the mild 55% Q chocolate bar, tasting smooth, almost milky creamy with sticky texture and exotic floral warmth, one eases her/himself into the pure cocoa experience. Acidity and bitterness are hidden, making it an ideal initiator for these not used to dark chocolate strength.
The 60% Q chocolate bar is more pronounced, while remaining sweet. Melting softly its delicate touch of tannins and subdued acidity are still user-friendly.
With 65% Q chocolate bar it starts to be serious. Markedly different rougher texture, the floral aromas flourish on the palate showing the beauty of cocoa.
Moving to 80% the mouthfeel gets dry, woody with deep scent of bark and cigar. The tannins show off and hide the acidity allowing the masculine strength to dominate.
The last level of 85% cocoa is only for the chico fanatics like me. The taste gets very close to eating raw cocoa nibs with bitterness, coffee aromas and sharp citrusy acidity all joining the forceful army of flavours.
Rua Garcia D’Ávila 149, Ipanema | Rio de Janeiro
Avenida das Américas, 3.900 Level 1, Barra da Tijuca | Rio de Janeiro
Mon-Sat: 11:00h-23:00h; Sunday: 13:00h-21:00h
|Fortnum & Mason|
181 Piccadilly – London
W1A 1ER – UK
|Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche|
24, Rue de Sèvres
75007 Paris, France
Austin North Lamar 4001 N. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78756 – US