On my recent trip to Paris I dragged my wife around the city’s streets (metaphorically of course) to find the best chocolate shops. I found some real naff ones, but I also found some little gems like Chocolaterie Mussy. At the back of a non-assuming store, and far from being the focus of attention, I came accross these origin bars. I doubt Sylvan made these himself but are actually made from Domori couverture (I’m happy to be corrected), but I loved the non-professional, home-made appearance that caught my eye as I approached the counter to pay for the selection box.
Of course it looks like someone still at school created the wrapping as part of a computer course – but that’s missing the point of chocolate. It’s all about finding something unique, that you’ve not tried before and learning about the people behind the ‘brand’ and then trying to place it in your mental library of flavours.
The cacao comes from the Apurimac region of Peru which is in the southern third of the country The name Apurimac actually comes from the Quechua language and means “where the gods speak” and relates to the mountainous nature of the region which is quite apt seeing as Theobroma (the scientific name for cacao means) “food of the gods” in Greek. Unfortunately this chocolate tasted anything god-like.
When it comes to the aroma, this bar offers something very strange. It’s like sweaty leather mixed with Lumi and a slight edge of the aroma of my dogs toys after they’ve been playing with them a few months. It’s actually less acidic in the conventional fruity sense, but more of salt. It certainly not unpleasant, just unusual.
The flavour at first is very underwhelming and a complete juxtaposition to the aroma. It takes an age to become apparent, it’s certainly absent in any form until the very end of the melt where it gives a very dry mouth feel. The acidity is also slight. Whilst you rest your taste buds and you allow some focus to deliberate on what’s happening in your mouth you might just pick out the very slightest resemblance of mixed fruit with carnation condensed milk – which is fine, but I don’t appreciate having to search out flavour in chocolate, it should be there in spades. Often I feel that single origin, fine chocolate should almost overwhelm you, it should either a rock concert in your mouth or an opera. It certainly shouldn’t be vacuous as this is.
Of course if the flavour was more prominent I’d probably rave about it, but I feel the almost complete absence of acidity and character has made it come soulless. And who wants chocolate like that?