Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Zotter Labooko Belize Special 72%

This chocolate consisted of Belize cocoa mass, raw cane sugar, cocoa butter and salt. It was conched for 18 hours, and the Belize cocoa mass was the most expensive cocoa Zotter sources

The aroma was oak, whisky, raisin, floral, and had an acidity that I often call 'urine' which suggests the cocoa's fermentation
Belize Special's taste opened with whisky and olive oil, with an almond perking up occasionally. When I've had whisky (most recently was last Saturday night), I've always loved the sensation but despised its oaky taste. And this chocolate tasted like a watered down whisky. I could taste a toasty roast. When chewing, it tasted like Italian amaretti biscuits (in particular those cakey ones wrapped in the white paper: Amaretti Autentici). The aroma at times also reminded me of Italian seasoning mix (parsley, truffle, porcini mushroom, garlic etc.). I think the flavour of this chocolate was very sophisticated

It had a reasonably smooth texture, and I once had a feel of ground coffee. I think this chocolate is for those with a maturer palate. I didn't love it, but it grew on me

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Askinosie 72% Tenende, Tanzania

This chocolate was handcrafted with 69% cocoa liquor and 3% cocoa butter (pressed in the Askinosie factory) from Trinitario beans directly sourced from farmers in Tenende, plus 28% organic cane sugar

This Tenende bar had won 2011 Academy of Chocolate silver award 'Best Bean to Bar' and gold 'Best Packaging'

The 'Choc-o-Lot #' was 060315, which lead me to find the beans' log. For example, these beans were roasted on the 6th of March; the liquor, sugar, and butter were mixed on 7th of April; and this chocolate was packaged by hand on the 3rd of June!
The aroma as I opened the plastic bag holding the chocolate was luscious. The chocolate had a fruitiness (strawberry, raspberry) over a leathery body. There was a marshmallow (that suggested African Forestaro), earth, acidity ('raw' nibs), rubber, and it was lightly floral. The raspberry made me dig out my Original Beans Porcelana to compare and I came to the conclusion that overall they smelt exceedingly similar, but the Porcelana more chocolatey

The taste was very tannic. Then came blueberry, and then raspberry! The raspberry, like with the Porcelana, came in very soft hits. It was quite sour and acidic, somewhat bitter, and the finish lingered a tobacco. The texture was reasonably smooth, more dusty than expected 
It was acidic with the desirable fruitiness but the metallic taste suggested maybe overly acidic cacao. Apart from the metal, I really liked this chocolate. The sudden touches of raspberry, strawberry and blueberry were so "BEAUTIFUL" (as I wrote in my chocolate journal)

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The Chocolate Tree Ecuador Milk 55% Arriba

This small batch, craft chocolate, like The Chocolate Tree's purer 84%, was made with cacao beans from the El Ensueño farm in Ecuador. The rich aroma was dairy: cheese and creamy, and honey

The taste, concisely, was bitter, honey and cocoa. It was very tannic, particularly the finish, with dairy, wood (sawdust) and almond. The texture was fairly smooth, more so than the 84% due to the added cocoa butter

Bergamot & Raspberry
The aroma was intensely bergamot with just a whisper of raspberry. The flavour was potent bergamot with the former tannin. Concentration was needed to experience the raspberry, I initially didn't get it at all. There was the bitterness of the Arriba cacao and an astringent feel on the tongue

I'm undecided whether I like bergamot. Its bitter, floral and aromatic flavour is an acquired taste. And in this case it, almost violently, dominated the chocolate. Though when it was delicate it was heavenly. The raspberry would surface and the chocolate tasted so poised

There is something so exquisite about craft chocolate. It's like fine literature. Often too coarse to be a poem, but no less delightful than a beautifully written, irresistible novel. The Chocolate Tree's Bergamot bar (only when delicate) was like Nabokov's prose style: rich, beautiful *and* poetic 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Domori Arriba Ecuador 70%

^Photograph from Domori^
The Arriba Nacional cocoa was grown in the area of Salinas de Guaranda, Ecuador. Domori say it's extremely fresh, delicate and mellow with notes of hazelnuts, bananas and citrus fruits

The cocoa nib/metallic aroma was so heavy, I did not like it. There was earth, vanilla, and coconut too, and an unusual sweet and sour sauce. Deep in the aroma I did find nice chocolate hints and blackberry though. Whilst experiencing the aroma I thought: how could this chocolate possibly be "delicate", "mellow" and "fresh"?

The chocolate touched the tongue and it turned to silk. It was so remarkably smooth that it made me question the absence of extra cocoa butter. The ingredients were simply: cocoa nibs and cane sugar

The taste did so happen to be mellow. There was hazelnut, followed by a subtle citrus, and I most definitely tasted banana, which was ever so creamy. The chocolate wasn't bitter considering the rich cocoa flavour. There were mild vanilla, metallic and coffee notes

I know that Arriba cacao isn't my preferred chocolate. But I do have more Domori chocolate to taste and, like always, I'm hopeful it'll be chocolate to lust after

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé Madagascar 72%

Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé are chocolatiers and bean-to-bar makers based in Budapest. Their Madagascar 72% chocolate tablet was of organic Trinitario cocoa beans (from the Sambirano Valley (Åkesson's planation)), organic cane sugar and cocoa butter

Unwrapping the chocolate was unlike any other. The process was like a ritual, performed with delicacy, admiration and not to be rushed. Pull up the sticker, unfold and open up the thickish wrapping-paper, pull up the next sticker, unfold and open up the tissue paper wrapping to finally unveil the beautiful tile of chocolate (the moulding inspired to look like traditional fireplace tiles)

The aroma was grass, wood, malt, roast (smokey) and a slight fruitness. The taste burst a sourness, acidity and oak wood. It was sweet and malty with little-to-no bitterness. There was a floral wave, a peachy note and a touch of spice. The finish was predominantly malt. This chocolate had a soft flavour and with the buttery smooth texture it was scrumptious

I liked this chocolate. It's nice to know I have another ornate tile (I received one from Chocablog and one from my Cocoa Runners box)