To say I’m bored of chocolate that’s commonly available in the UK maybe erring on the side of hyperbole. The point is, despite the rapid growth in the fine chocolate market in this country, there still isn’t enough variety. Chocolate lovers need to experience chocolate made in all corners of this eclectic planet. So when I stumbled across Hoy Cacao and saw that they take time, not only to educate people as to how they make chocolate, but that they actually age their bars properly (as Bryan does) then I just had to part with some cash and import a few bars – having no idea what they would taste like.
For some reason I’ve always had a strange fascination with Judaism. The reason is inexplicable, but led me to nag a good Jewish friend of mine to source some Kosher chocolate for me. And to be fair, this dalliance was disastrous – I thought I’d be put of Jewish-compliant chocolate for life. But of course, curiosity got the better of me when on one of my cocoa-inspired internet surfing I saw that Holy Cacao was the first artisan bean to bar chocolate makers in Israel.
Along with this Peruvian 72% I also ordered an 80%, 90% and a couple of 100%’s for comparison and a Mexican 64% (Mexican-themed spices than cocoa of that origin). But starting with this lower plain bar my first taste I was left very unsure. My initial reactions weren’t positive. I felt, even at that relatively low cocoa level, that it was too harsh with a strange, unnatural acidity. In general if I get that sensation and have time to take a break, I will. On return my opinion had changed significantly. Still the aroma was intensely floral and almost soap like. and most unusual. But there was more going on here that is transcends the obvious.
Letting the chocolate linger on the palette is softens greatly. There is a very noticeable high-roast quality reminiscent certainly of the Pralus Chuao. But here there is a great deal more soft summer fruits – most noticeably of strawberry and home-made (read over-cooked) chocolate brownie. As it continues then heavy dose of cream comes through, much like the Friis Holm Medagla 70%. It doesn’t even descend into any form of acidity that you would expect from the aroma. It just doesn’t happen.
Part of me wanted more variety of flavour from the chocolate. But I’ll jump straight to the 100% and see how I get on there and then visit the in-between cocoa levels over the next couple of months.
In terms of the visual appearance, you could see damage where the chocolate was prized from the mould; there were also swirls and bubbles. But to be honest, this isn’t created in a £1m factory with no human involvement – it was handmade with the variation of the ‘norm’ that are to be expected when mortals are involved.
Another point to note is that you might need some superhuman powers to actually break the chocolate as it is incredibly thick and well-formed. You’re best not trying to break of small pieces but just go as small as you can and then bite off the rest.