Three months is too long to go between bars of Fruition chocolate. It’s been three months since I last had Bryan Graham’s 66% dark bar which was exceptional, in that time, and with my focus on Easter, I had little opportunity to review the chocolate made by truly small batch, artisan chocolatiers. The rebirth of Christ, just like his birth, is undeniably obfuscated by commercial chocolate. My belief is that the most magical of chocolate is actually created by small groups of men and women dotted around the world with passion in abundance but lacking in the attention they deserve. Redressing that balance, I once again shed some light on the wonderful work that is going on within the Catskill Mountains of New York.
You can save your Lindt bunnies and Creme Eggs, the real chocolate miracle takes place with few ingredients, rudimentary equipment and with a greater focus on quality than profits. Purists might still decry the use of vanilla beans in this chocolate. I contend, however, that Bryan only uses them in his milk chocolate and not in those wonderful dark bars of his. The vanilla in this is most definitely evident, but it’s perfectly balanced by the Fleur de Sel which gives it some piquancy above the obvious whole milk powder flavour.
There’s no mention on either the packaging or his website as to actually what level of cocoa solids we have here, but it’s very much pushing on 50%. It’s somewhat milder than the Rabot Estate ‘Dash of Milk’ but obviously that can be due to so many factors other than the percentage of cocoa solids. Part of me wishes it did have an earthier, rustic, base flavour. I know, however, that Bryan has to make chocolate to appeal for all sorts and that his Rustic Crunch Bar (which I believe I also have) would be more suited to me.
On recollection I prefer the level of Fleur de Sel in this bar than perhaps the Mast Brothers Fleur de Sel bar, which was one heck of a brute. This chocolate is far less intrusive than that. The flavour is a soft melody playing in the background whilst you read a book, rather than the sole focus of your attention given by the all-consuming Champagne Supernova.
The aroma is somewhat ‘middle of the road’. There is a slight lift from the salt but there’s no great acidity, but this is never meant to be a ‘knock your socks off’ bar of chocolate. The aroma, like the texture, is most elegant, soothing and relaxing. The melt is fantastic though. It’s almost mousse-like as it disappears in seconds, wafting off aromas as it sinks further into your mouth. If you do let it melt slowly enough, which I didn’t for half the bar, you’ll get flashes of light pepper which do add some welcome variation.
Despite being inherently muted by a lower level of cocoa and vanilla, it’s still a very interesting bar of chocolate that will grow on you with every bite. I still do prefer his 66% bar, but with so little resource I still think Bryan has done a grand job.