Have you ever thought why Christmas is a bad period for chocolate makers, real ones, I mean? At this time of year you’ll get journalists and bloggers feeling obliged to trot out yet another “Christmas Chocolate Buying Guide”. They’ll take last year’s, change the date, tart up the words, change the order and then publish it as something insightful. Most wouldn’t have stepped in a chocolate shop let alone scoured the world for the finest chocolate. Of course, who’d want to write about chocolate you’ve got to import or visit obscure, non-PR savvy chocolate shops?
I know there are great chocolate produced in this country. But why do supermarkets have aisle upon aisle of wine from an inordinate number of countries whilst they push upon us the most mundane, uninteresting rubbish when it comes to chocolate? Sophisticated people do buy chocolate too, and only if they knew a whole world of chocolate exists. If it wasn’t an obsession for finding what they fine chocolate world has to offer then I wouldn’t have found chocolate of the Idilio Origins ilk. They may be premium Swiss chocolate makers much divorced from the traditional British perception of uninspiring chocolate but they are well worth searching out.
I’ve already tried and fell in love with their 74% Porcelana bar and this was just as awe-inspiring. I do have to admit to some sort of OCD compulsion for tracing the origins of the cacao used in a particular bar of chocolate, and by using the wonderful document: Cacao Haciendas In Choroní , Venezuela: Understanding And Conserving: Historic Cultural Landscapes (pdf) By Ernestina R. Fuenmayor I believe this cacao originated in Venezuela, to the east of the Chroni River and within the Henry Pittier National Park – which is due east of Ocumare from where Amano have sourced cacao to make a couple of wonderful bars.
The aroma is very much of strawberries and cream rolling around in bales of hay with perhaps the resemblance of Mount Gay rum – it’s fun and frolics in chocolate form – there’s certainly no harshness akin to a scolding from a lover, it’s just the fun part of a relationship.
The snap is deafening as it echoes around the room – it even manages to drown Bono wailing from the near-by speakers. So far I’ve concluded that it’s made by wonderful people (given my email exchange as they offered to send me some bars to sample), the cacao has heritage as it originates from quite possibly the finest cacao-growing country in the world, the aroma is subtle but seductive and the snap indicates to me that it’s well made. But what of the flavour?
Turning the music down, and just letting a square melt in my mouth there’s a steady offering of delightful woody acidity – followed up by a rounded fig note and even some vanilla ice cream sweetness. There’s nothing brusk about this bar. It’s incredibly sophisticated with gorgeous acdity hovering over the more traditional caramel flavours underneath. It’s strange how the roof and sides of my mouth focus on the acidity whilst my tongue is tantalised by the creaminess. It truly is wonderful.
But don’t let the chocolate just sit on your tongue, move it around and you’ll be rewarded by wafts of Bakewell tart flavours in one part of your mouth whilst the other side is treated to a sharp shock of acidity – it most certainly is a delight. It’s by no means as not complicated as the Ocumare 70% but its simplicity doesn’t detract from its beauty. This is an indulgent bar to relax with. Leave pomposity at the door and just enjoy it for what it is – an utterly delightful bar of chocolate.