There’s one thing that you’re guaranteed with Artisan du Chocolat and that’s something radically different with every bar you try. Their Vietnam bar was radically different to their God Save The Queen bar and I expect the other single origin bars I’ve got ready to review will all taste markedly different – although the packaging will obviously continue the lovely simple, box theme that serves them so well.
Many people may automatically think this bar was like the Cadbury “Old Jamaica” bars from the name, but they couldn’t be further from the truth. These bars are anything but sweet and sickly. This bar is one heck of a robust bar. The fantastic thing about the Artisan du Chocolat bars is that you get a good idea of the provenance. With this bar we learn that the cocoa comes from a variety of bars from the St Mary’s parish of Jamaica and then fermented in Richmond which is in the neighbouring parish of St. Ann’s and then conched, refined, tempered, molded and packaged in the garden of England – Kent.
The wonderful thing is that with many chocolatiers you don’t actually know what the chocolate will taste like if you’re exploring other origins of cocoa. Even the conch time can greatly affect the flavours and aromas of the chocolate, so I had absolutely no idea what this would be like. But after reading the back and seeing it was made from Trinitario cocoa I was leaning towards it being a fairly powerful bar. I didn’t expect it to be as punchy and unusual as it was.
The aroma reminded me of Pralus bars I’ve tasted in the past. But character-wise it had a very strong marmite flavour and aroma. The edges may have been dampened with a fruity tone – much like the plums that the packaging describes, but there’s a great deal of warmth to it too. There’s a great deal of acidity to it, but not so much in the Pralus form, but more rounded than that. Just at the back of the nose their appears to be a hint of whisky which I think comes from the flavours imparted by the cane sugar.
If you bite a small piece at a time then you do notice that sweetness at the front of your mouth, whilst the alcoholic tone actually turns into Sambuca at the back of your mouth as it melts. This one true amazing bar of chocolate. It seems to transform with every piece. Sometimes, fruity, sometimes acidic, sometimes alcoholic, but always interesting. A true marvel. I know some people don’t like this bar. But perhaps they just ate it too fast? This bar is best enjoyed with very small nibbles and to let it melt slowly on the front of your mouth and let the natural processes take elements of it to the back -where you’ll get that intoxicating sensation.
A delight. The first taste wasn’t what I expected, but when I learned how to respect and enjoy it, then it responded in kind by being fascinating and sensational.