Kiskadee La Red 85%

This bar has been in my collection for just two months, but it seems a lifetime as I’ve spending more time managing my chocolate retail business than actually reviewing chocolate. Righting that wrong now I explore this lovely chocolate from a new chocolate maker out of Texas, USA: Kiskadee Chocolates. Laura Atlas is the lady behind it and we had a good emailwag (an electronic version of a chinwag) and my interest was piqued before they had even left the Lone Star state and made their way over here. The thing is, there is some fantastic chocolate coming out of new US chocolate makers, such as Finca that it seems a marvel.

La Red

I’ve tried chocolate with a similar profile before. It has a very earthy, almond like quality and I’m hoping I’m not falling into some mental trap and taking the easy route and declaring it similar to the Fruition 70% from the same strain, but from recollection it does seem similar, just more pronounced. I’ve not tried the Woodblock, Middlebury, Raaka nor the Mast Brothers versions so I don’t have that to compare. The main point is that I absolutely love it because it works on so many levels. At first you’ve got that mangled acidity that seems as if it should be the product of some yet commercialised rare, tropical fruit that is the staple food of some untainted tribe cut off from civilisation a millennia or two ago.

The appearance

From this there’s a hit of full fat powder, a rich, malt-like natural tone with strawberries to follow. There are no expansive notes – they’re more direct, controlled and consistent – as if flavour is forced through a fairly blunt laser rather than some psychedelic kaleidoscope. This isn’t to the detriment of the chocolate, it’s just a different breed. The fairly high roast has been a nice distraction from the more meek chocolate I’ve been munching on. It’s just that I suspect there would be a noticeable audience that would want something more ‘sophisticated’. But that would be missing the point. It would be like comparing some of the fantastic art by Kelvin Okafor with a Banksy – the objective and inspirations behind each artist are different – some more celebrated by different types of people than others. The pleasure gained by each chocolate is as unique to the individual.

For me this is a good, solid, ‘hit’ of ‘chocolate’. Laura has used a bean from an ethical source that the much larger chocolate makers haven’t tackled yet. But would we want them to? I’m more than happy for smaller, more nimble chocolate makers to keep adapting to the bean and giving us something new and interesting each season.

Overall, I love this chocolate. I love it’s purity, its naïveté and the innocence of discovery.

I’ve got it, it reminds me of the Dick Taylor DR!

Lee McCoy

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  • Kevin

    I think I get your art analogy. If I am understanding it correctly, one panders while the other subverts. Which one does this chocolate do?