The area around Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela produces some utterly fantastic chocolate, most notably using Porcelana cocoa from the southern reaches. Towards the north, and close to the Colombian border we believe the cocoa used to make this chocolate comes from. The issue is that Guasare is not only a strain of cacao, but also a place and also a river. Knowing that Domori produce a fantastic Criollo and Ara are about to launch their own Criollo version I was, at first lead on a merry dance whilst researching the origins of this chocolate. Obviously, as labelled it’s a Trinitario which will cover a massive variety of potential flavour profiles, but this one is very firmly in the tropical fruits camp.
I recently tried their Porcelana chocolate which was utterly fantastic due to its mellow characteristics, but this one almost reaches those heights due to those vibrant flavour notes that I don’t recall having witnessed with such clarity and precision before. It’s like diving head-first into a bowl of diced oranges and then covered in hazelnut paste. The texture is wonderful too, but you really won’t notice that anywhere near as much as the citrus which just holds back from be excessive.
The one thing I love about this chocolate is that it’s so distinctive. A lot of chocolate, even of the fine flavour ‘variety’ is ‘much of a muchness’, safe and uninspiring (I hate to admit it), but if I waste tasting forty or so in an awards judging session then I know this would stand out. The others may be fantastic, as their Porcelana is, but the shear sharpness of this chocolate would most definitely break through.
With the Criollo version arriving soon my interest is certainly piqued and it will be a fascinating exercise to compare the varieties from the same rough (an unfortunate juxtaposition) area.
Also read the Good Chocolate Wanted review.