On the Steve Wright Sunday Love Songs radio show you often hear of people that were ‘courting’ in their youth but split up, went their separate ways and then got back together in the twilight of their years and become the personification of true love. And that’s the same with Duffy’s chocolate. I went through a faze of reviewing his bars and loved every minute of them. They gave me a similar warm glow as I had in my first flush of youth and started “seeing” girls. After this dalliance Duffy’s chocolate I then got distracted by the more glamorous chocolate companies that courted my attention. For that I feel guilty. But to my great delight Duffy’s chocolate and my paths have crossed once more. This Panama bar has seen better days as it’s had a hard life being stuck at the bottom of my chocolate collection, not seeing light for months on end. But even though she does look tired, under that exterior she still provides great joy.
This “Heart of Panama” bar offered a ray of sunshine into this dull and dreary day. I’ve reviewed some boring, bland and down-right tragic bars recently so it was great to have some dark chocolate that had a slightly bitter flavour and gave me something to write positively about. From memory this bar was very much like the Pralus Tanzanie that also offered a cider vinegar edge and caramel undertone, but also an orange zest characteristic which I just adore. This is a perfect antidote to all that milk chocolate I’ve consumed lately.
Another beautiful aspect of this bar is that it’s all handmade by Duffy himself. And Duffy is a warm, light-hearted guy that works damn hard on his chocolate in a more relaxed than scientific manner. He makes chocolate with more of a ‘stick a finger in the air’ method and is more unrefined than the artisan-cum-corporate chocolatiers which also occupy this space. Knowing he journey the cacao took to form this bar is half the pleasure for me. It’s more of an art than a business – and that comes over in buckets.
Also there’s no ‘crap’ in this bar. There’s no artificial flavourings, nor even natural ones in the form of vanilla which is often used to mask poor quality cacao, in this bar. There’s no soya lecithin to improve the texture of the chocolate either – this is real chocolate.
It looks like this Heart of Panama is “off the market”, so I’ll have to find another to idolise.