Although Madagascar is twentieth in the list of cacao producing countries, it seems to be an origin country that I’ve reviewed regularly here. It also seems to be one that is the basis for a variety of absolutely wonderful dark chocolate bars. the Menako 72% was fantastic, the awesome Patric 67% and the Åkesson’s 75% lovely, I’m intrigued to find out how this Chapon bar that’s six months past its best before date would fair against such divine competition.
I’ve had this bar sitting in my chocolate room, at first piled under other chocolate bars and then down the back the bookcase I use to store my chocolate on for twenty-two months. In that time I’ve had some great chocolate but I’ve always hankered for more from Chapon. I loved the Cuba, Ecuador and the Colombia bars as they were all very elegant, but still very unique. This bar is also unique. But not in the best way. It tastes ‘corked’, very heavy on red fruits, and has an acidity that is still bearable, but slightly off-putting.
The bar has been out of direct sunlight and contained in an air-tight wrapper during those two years or so, thus I can’t imagine the environment in that north-facing chocolate room to affect the chocolate too much. I think it’s just a bit of a brute of a bar. Previous Chapon bars have had some pretty character, but this one is a back street brawler, a winnow, the unloved delinquent of the family. Although it still has a wonderful shine, albeit slightly marked by its imperfect home, it tastes far less sophisticated than it’s appearance would indicate.
The aroma is intense also. My nasal passage fell victim to a sharp, bitter, slap. But with most intense characters there is some beauty held within. Underlying the sharp fruitiness lurks a soft, nutty tone that is appealing. After time you almost become immune to the acidity, it becomes white noise which allows to acknowledge some depth. Alas that is all too temporary, the sharpness returns and you’ll be considering which other artisan chocolate to consume to rebalance your taste buds.
If all you had was mellow, nondescript chocolate, then something as sharp as this would be welcome. However, I was just craving a bar akin to a good Easter weekend epic movie. Alas I got Carry on Cleao.