The downside of recent changes in the world is that in our busy days it’s often difficult to find the time to locate fantastic chocolate outside out of the major brands which our local supermarket seem to stock in abundance. Some people may be lucky enough to live in a major town or city with a funky chocolate shop that may just offer something unusual, but until recently we’ve been forced by circumstance to have a narrow view of chocolate. The upside of the current times is that we’re more than capable of getting online and buying chocolate from far-off lands. I’ve had chocolate made in countries from all around the world. I am, however, becoming a massive fan of chocolate made in the United States of America by individuals who are turning their passion into a business.
This is where Bryan Graham and his Fruition Chocolate company based in Shokan, New York come into things. Bryan has taken his learnings about making chocolate and has been making hand-crafted chocolate for just three years. And it’s this micro-batch approach to chocolate making that I feel brings out the best in the bean. At the very least it brings out something different that larger-scale producers seem to miss.
From a range of four bars that Bryan sent over I chose this 66% bar. That was a difficult choice as they all look absolutely delightful in the artistic and perhaps slight 60’s-looking wrapping. I might be miss-judging the design, but it seems to represent the different colours of cocoa pod that you can find – white (Porcelana), orange, yellow, red and green. They do look absolutely delightful.
On the reverse you’ll see that the bars are made from cocoa beans that have been slow roasted and stone ground. I don’t know if Bryan employs anybody else in the chocolate making process, but I’d wager that this is a very small-scale chocolate making workshop.
The mould of the bar mimicked that of the packaging with cocoa pod-shaped ridges. But I suspect you’ll be more focused on the aroma rather than the appearance as that aroma is very strong. It’s almost as if fleur de sel has been used as it is very much that style of acidity. Along with that there is an underlying hint of tobacco along with a lactic aroma much like the Rabot Estate bars.
All of Fruition Chocolate’s beans are of the Trinitario variety and come from Costa Rica which has a very lengthy history of growing cocoa, so it’s nice to see a chocolate maker using beans from the country which doesn’t get a lot of attention outside of those who wish to produce Rainforest Alliance chocolate.
The snap of the bar is incredibly crisp and echoey. And is a foretaste (excuse the pun) for a magical flavour. There’s a great deal of Bakewell Tart about it and a fair degree of sweetness. I could pick out the slightest vanilla, which perhaps Bryan could try a bar without (just personal choice)? The acidity is mild and is a strange affair it bubbles up and then rolls back on the tongue.
Part of me is thinking it’s a touch too sweet, but seeing as half of the bar has disappeared in no time at all then I’m pretty sure I love it. I have the slightly darker 70% bar to review next so it’ll be good to compare the too.
I loved the balance of the milkiness along with the sweet cherry and the slight acidity. It works incredibly well as a bitter-sweet chocolate and I can safely say I love it.