Don’t you just hate it when people can just change focus and do something completely amazing with what they do next? Duffy from Red Star Chocolate has a background in motor racing and then became the second bean-to-bar chocolate producer in the country – by himself and making chocolate comparable with some of the best chocolate in France or Italy. Now many of you will think that’s a glib statement. But, to my mind, it’s true.
Duffy doesn’t faff around with weird flavours and I doubt has shareholders putting pressure on him to experiment to increase market share which allows him, I would say, to focus on doing a limited number of bars very well. In fact we’re only about two weeks off the first birthday of Red Star (10th July – the date the company was set up) and with the previous two bars I’ve reviewed (Corazon Del Ecuador and the 72% Ecuador) I can say for someone so new to chocolate production, he’s managed to make a third wonderful dark chocolate bar with this Peruvian one.
With this bar he’s gone for a more sleek design and moved away from a mountainscape as a design to a plain yellow wrapper. It’s a bit of a shame, but the quality of the chocolate is a damn site more important.
The bar had a wonderful shine to it and was formed in a regular block shape that allowed you to break off just the right amount for each bite. Whilst the texture might be a touch more course than one would expect from say from Chapon, Pierre Hermé and Bonnat, that texture only appears at the very end of the experience. In fact the first 90% of the melt is excellent. It does take a bit of time to get going but holds together very well and lets the wonderful caramel and cherry notes escape very slowly.
There may be a touch of acidity at the very end, but it is far less pronounced than any Pralus I’ve tried. For a bar to taste so good without the massive scientific support of the well-established companies, to balance the inherent slight farmyard notes of organic chocolate and to cope without lecithin to smoothen the liquor; this is a bloody brilliant bar of dark chocolate.
It’s strange that this bar is slightly more bitter at 70% than the 75% Chapon from Cuba but I actually prefer the bitterness of this Red Star creation even though the melt seemed more complete.