For me chocolate reviewing is a process of discovery. From a blogging point of view it’s about putting together the jigsaw pieces of a chocolate maker to build the bigger picture of who they are and what they do. I may have loved every bar that Duffy has produced, including is 70% Panama bar, his 70% Peru, the 72% Ecuador as well as his Ecuador milk chocolate bar, but now it’s time to try something a little bit special.
It’s a huge thrill to try some chocolate from Colón Island which is off the north-western coast of Panama which has a capital of Bocas del Toro. The problem I have is that there’s not a great deal of information about the island to pass on, all I can say is that visually it looks green and lush with only slight elevations, so I’m not exactly sure how it fits the archetypal cacao growing environment.
Visually the bar continues Duffy’s new trend of the more simplistic designs with a warm vista of what I expect is a fishing scene. The aroma, however, isn’t warm and spicy. Instead I’d call it cool and soothing – almost a cold gooseberry edge. There is definitely edge of acidity, but nothing overwhelming. Certainly a green, under-ripe tone is carried through the nose which is most certainly a welcome departure from the aromatic, tobacco and woody notes that are often present in the more natural bars I review.
This is where the packaging is representative of the bar. The flavour certainly is warm and is very much reminiscent of steak au poivre with a strange crème brûlée. Yes I know that’s strange and you all think I’m mad – but I have to describe the flavours that first come to mind. The undercurrent of the flavour is definitely of a spicy character whilst up above there’s a creamy, slightly sweet edge that works so well together. There is a touch of cedar wood acidity which just lurks in the background, but I’d say it’s there to remind you that you are actually eating chocolate and not some sort of mythical, biblical creation of temptation.
The texture is sublime beyond belief. Incredibly smooth, a fast melt which just gives so much pleasure as it evaporates into your nasal cavity. Sometimes I do love a bar that is just as soft but with more caramel notes, but this has just a bit more zip that I previously thought was my ideal bar. This means that I have to have a re-think of what the ‘perfect bar of chocolate’ would be. And that’s the whole purpose of exposing yourself to remarkable chocolate.